Lewis header earns draw against disappointing Jacks..

Nottingham Forest – 1
Swansea City – 1

I was half looking forward to and half dreading Swansea coming to the City Ground, because they’re a side I really rate and admire.  Roberto Martinez is a progressive manager who has patiently assembled an attractive side who – unsurprisingly for me – are challenging for a play off place in the Championship.  So today was a bit of an anti-climax on that front, because our visitors were either seriously below par, or I was wrong.  Or, gratifyingly, Forest nullified their threat with a battling performance.  I suspect all three elements were a factor today which saw Forest earn a point that was the very least they deserved this afternoon.

The Reds roared out the blocks and immediately forced a corner from a McSheffrey cross, the corner didn’t come to anything however Chambers was soon taking the ball forward and finding Earnie, who will be kicking himself he didn’t net from close range – striking over instead.  Anderson made it three chances in the opening exchanges by running at the defenders, cutting inside two defenders before hitting a cracking looking strike which was just wide with De Vries beaten.

Our visitors knocked the ball around well and always looked to break quickly though, and it was the youngster Allen who had the first meaningful chance – a shot from around 30 yards which was close but wide, with Paul Smith watching it all the way.  Scotland is of course always a threat for the Welsh side, but he was being well marshalled by Kelvin Wilson and he did well to get in the way of a chance that fell to the striker and clear the ball.

Moussi and Osbourne – who do look alike from a glance, and with close squad numbers too could lead to confusion ongoing – combined well with a one-two before Osbourne struck a lovely shot from 25 yards which was headed toward the top corner – but just didn’t quite dip enough, clipping the crossbar.  A Forest freekick due to a cynical hack by Leon Britton on Anderson was struck well by Cohen, bringing a save from De Vries at the expense of a corner.

The chance of the half though fell to debutant McSheffrey – Lynch ran well down the left and fired in a perfect cross, over De Vries and dropping invitingly for the loanee to convert, but unfortunately his shot went right across goal and wide.  It wasn’t an ‘easy’ chance as such – and given his lack of match practice it’s forgivable – but it was a glorious chance that Lynch had provided him.  This was pretty much the last act of the first half – one that Forest were easily the better side, but Swansea showed signs of danger on the break.

The second half saw McCleary – in disgustingly lurid green boots – enter the fray at the expense of Anderson, post-match Billy suggested this was purely to rest the youngster rather than through injury.  Forest started the half as they had finished the first, by keeping De Vries on his toes in the Swansea goal.  Chambers found Cohen who hit the ball viciously from a difficult position – it was heading at pace for the top corner and the ‘keeper did excellently well to keep it, tipping it over for a corner.

But that combination of De Vries’ heroics and our own wastefulness looked to have bitten us on the arse, Swansea found Bauza in the box unmarked, Smith came haring off his line (I wonder how much that has to do with the amount of people saying he never does?  Either way, he shouldn’t have this time), only for the ball to be casually chipped over him to the similarly unmarked Jason Scotland who probably netted his easiest goal of the season to date.  Very disappointing, and we actualy got to hear the travelling Swansea fans who’d been pretty quiet (and not particularly numerous) up until taking the lead.

A real kick in the teeth given the balance of play, but Forest remained positive as did most of the fans – Lewis was introduced with a little over twenty minutes on the clock for the increasingly tired looking McSheffrey.  A promising debut from the loan man, but he does lack match sharpness – but nonetheless, I’m still excited by the prospect of having him on board once he gets up to full fitness.

McCleary did well to get the ball to Lewis who went for goal rather than finding Earnie who was well placed – De Vries having a relatively easy job clearing.  Just as we were kicking ourselves though, we did get the goal we easily deserved.  Joel Lynch picked up the ball on the left, my neighbour was screaming for someone to make the run down the left for him to play it to, which they didn’t, so said “You’re gonna have to do it yourself, Joel!”, and do it himself he most certainly did!

He advanced forward, taking on his man before firing in an absolutely sublime cross which was met by the equally sublime run by Lewis, who kept his composure to head emphatically past De Vries from 6 yards to gain the Reds a much deserved equaliser.  Shortly after Osbourne was withdrawn for Perchy to a standing ovation – another good game for the Aston Villa youngster, and another withdrawal to try to keep him fresh having played two games in quick succession after not a lot of first team football.

The visitors weren’t out of it though, and Gomez seemed to have all the time and space in the world to pick out his shot which Smithy did very well to dive and save at the expense of a corner.  But Forest too were looking for opportunties to break – Moussi found Lewis down the right, he played in a lovely ball to give Earnie a rare half chance – and De Vries was somewhat lucky to just get a leg to it to prevent the goal.

Another half-chance for Earnie came in the shape of an overhead kick which was just over – Earnie had a frustrating afternoon, he worked his arse off but chances were limited for him, which is a pity.  The game played out with more end-to-end stuff – Forest finished strong, but couldn’t break down the visitors, who as I aluded to above, on the whole disappointed me in lots of ways.

I’ve heard their style described as ‘Continental’ – and that would fit the last few clashes I’ve seen between us and them, but this time around the only thing continental about their performance was their players diving all over the place.  And the referee falling for it nearly every time.  Very disappointing.

But still, the Reds did well for the third time in three games – we should’ve and could’ve won this, however, before the Reading game I said to whoever would listen that I’d be happy with four points from the next three games – so to have gotten seven is excellent.  We’ve proven we can mix it with the better teams in this league – now we need to sort out our performances against the rubbish ones.  Starting with Watford on tuesday.  I’ve got faith in these boys again.

24 Responses

  1. Forest look a lot better side than when I last saw them against the Sheep and QPR. Full of battle and a lot more confident. Play like that we’ll not be a popular team to play against whoever we’re playing.

    What we could do with a Jason Scotland alongside Earnshaw. Lots of longish balls to him on his todd.

    Where I sat, someone behind screemed at Lynch “where are you going?”, 2 secs later he whipped in the Excocet like cross for Mcgugans top class header … Mc also nearly scored 2 mins later, great appearance from the subs bench.

    Mcsheffrey could/should have had a hatrick. We can’t play our arses off like that and miss too many sitters like that in the next 9 matches.

    Also I thought Smith had all of their long range shots covered at 6-9 he should. Keep off his back please until the close season?

    MOM for me was the team.

  2. For me MOM was Joel Lynch… Give him some credit as he has vastly improved over the last couple of home games.

  3. I think there are many positives from today. The team is growing in both size and confidence. The Osbourne and McSheffrey additions were very good ones (indeed Villa, please loan us more of your “shit” players). Even after conceding with 30 mins left, we never gave up and that’s how all of us want to see Forest play. Good job from Billy for resting tired players. He was right in his post-game comments, we’re making progress. If someone has not realised yet, we have more and more shots on goal by the game. It is mathematically certain that goals will come.

    We may be 20th now, but our distance from the relegation zone increased to 4 points following the Saints defeat. Norwich lost too, so we have good reasons to be optimistic.

    Watford had to sweat before beating struggling Charlton, so I hope that on Tuesday they are as tired as we are, if not more. You are right nffc, we are going to London to win; we believe, we have faith, because we have a team full of talent, ready to bite anyone’s throat if they don’t watch out.

    U REDS!

  4. Too complacent for me about going down South & beating Watford … Also they’ll be up for it against one of their “relegation rivals”. We’ve still got a lot more to give and our passing today let us down a bit too much at times.We are getting better, but is it going to be enough ??

  5. Good strong positive performance today against a cynical cheating welsh team. And that ref, well, shite.

    We played some nice football again today. Got stuck in too.

    I wouldn’t blame Smith for their goal though, nffc. Swansea had realisd that McSheffrey wasn’t into tracking back so were doubling up against Chambers. It was defensive error, I’m afraid.
    Having said that, Wilson seems to have picked up his game no end, thank goodness.

    Funniest moment for me was walking out at the end through the Taffs and a youth (clearly pissed) was telling us to enjoy division 1 next season.
    A young lad about 12 shouts out “f**k off you ginger w**ker, you lot were sh*t”. Shut the gobby knob right up!

  6. I wasn’t blaming Smith solely; admittedly my view wasn’t the best – and replays always help.

    There’s lots of mentions of no marking in my description of the goal – clearly the defence was at fault as much as, if not more so, than the keeper – although I’ll wait ’til I’ve seen a replay to judge firmly.

    Aside from that moment Smith had a cracking game, despite what the special folk who call Radio Nottingham’s matchline might think!

  7. Yes, they do seem to have all gone to the same school, don’t they!
    Mind you, the ‘Irish’ chap did make us chuckle…!

  8. You think they went to school?!

    The Oirish impersonations were a bit surreal! I’m surprised they broadcast them to be honest, but it did give me a chuckle too before I tired of it and switched off!

  9. Ref was a total joke !!!! Swansea great passing side with quality in all areas but they were there for the taking – if earnie’s overhead had gone in – roof off !! was it only me or did nobody pick up on the fact swansea keeper does’nt kick but pass to full back to do job for him ? great support lads 10/10

  10. to be sure !

  11. Well played!!. Squad improving,attitude good, Keep going lads….No complacency tuesday !!!!
    Revenge time for wolves coming soon !!!!That will be a cracker !!

  12. This was a genuinely great game to watch and despite their disappointing diving, I actually thought Swansea looked a very good side but we were able to match and better them with our own attacking drive and made them look second best throughout.

    Our first half performance was the best I have seen for a long time and I’m feeling realy positive about what the manager is doing with these players (although deep down I fully expect something to happen to ruin everything as is typical with following Forest!)

  13. Someone pretending to be Irish? Is Joe Kinnear back in town?

  14. Good report as usual nffc cheers for all your articles on the reds.The boys are getting it together and confidence has returned.I agree we should have won this one watched billy and ned both explain that they are teaching the lads to forget about the opposition.Concentrate on what were doing just as cloughie did spot on.As fans we stress about the opposition too much lets do our job and get to 50 poins and then see.

    Well done to the reds again i agree faith is certinly returning to all true reds.

    Billy Davies red Army

  15. As a word the matchline phone in comes direct from a LOCATION IN SHEEP LAND explaining the quality of peeps phoning in.

  16. I don’t think we were the better side. Swansea, whilst dissappointing showed better passing, more awareness and picked up virtually every “second ball”.

    Our lads clearly came out on top in terms of committment, attitude and goalscoring attempts but in terms of the football displayed, I thought we were some distance away.

    Luckily for us, their defence was totally sh!t whilst ours was halfway decent. Apart from Breckin who had a dreadful, dreadful game and who I hold responsible for the Swansea goal.

    But nobody could have argued had we taken all three points. The (good) chances we created were numerous but the finishing pretty poor.

    Top marks for battling back, top marks for team selection and tactics, top marks for continuing the run.

    Regarding the tactics, looks like Billy “I’m a 4-4-2 man” Davies has all but closed the door on Garner’s Forest career.

    We got out of jail against Watford earlier in the season when stupid defensive mistakes cost us. We’re still making those same mistakes although less of them so a Tyson inspired victory is a distinct possibility.

    U REDS!!

  17. I was in the Trent End lower, directly behind the net, about 6 rows back, and had a great view of Smith 2nd half.

    For the goal he had no chance, was given a choice between a rock and a hard place. Should he stay, and risk a clear snap shot from 7m out without closing down the angle, or should he narrow down the angle and risk being lobbed? He chose the latter, and the goal doesn’t prove him wrong. Once Swansea had got in behind us we were always going to concede if their execution was perfect. They scored because the free run was fed by the lob, and though Wilson came across to cover the damage had been done.

    I also had a great view of Smith’s save down low to his left, and it showed once again his world class reflexes. I was just waiting for the net to bulge, and somehow he got there.

    I realise some Forest fans wish he could do everything to the same ability, but I’ll repeat – if he could he’d be playing for ManYoo, not us.

  18. All in all a really positive weeks work – navigating safely through Reading , Preston and Swansea is a real credit to Billy and all the staff/players . We need to keep it up and with players coming back / getting fitter and the new ones getting used to the team – we should be good enough to get Billy that
    4th bottom slot or better .

  19. Very postive week for the reds & the impetus that these two quality loan signings provide, along with the Moose’s return, give us a real squad for the first time in ages.
    Also feel as Billy is beginning to stamp his print on the team & I’m feeling more positive about our future than I have for a very long time. I really feel as though Billy is just the figure-head we need to bring the club’s management/supporters/players out of their slumber/malaise. His abrasive personality may rub some of you up the wrong way but like his famous predecessor he says far more in one interview than CC used to say in a season.
    Although some were very precious about Billy raising an issue about our home support, I think he was spot on & note that the support provided in the last two matches has far exceeded the negativity that has at times preceeded it. Being old enough to remember the Clough years I note he was often very critical of our more fickle supporters time & again.
    Four points from our next two tricky fixtures would be a good return & I’m actually travelling to both as we are producing a level of performance that’s worth watching again.
    Your Reds!!!

  20. I have to agree with radgie on this one, Swansea are a very good side even when having a slight off day!
    I was happy with a point at the end and thought it was a great game.

  21. Radgie – I didn’t think Brecks was that bad. What did you think were his weak points on Saturday?

  22. Very disappointed with watford game which we had to win. Why didn´t we play our strongest team and give Earnie a rest against burnley?????

  23. I suppose if our ‘strongest’ side gets a win at Burnley the net effect is the same.

    Watford are on good form at the moment and whilst this was undoubtedly a six-pointer I don’t really think we can call it a complete disaster thanks to a few late twists in other games.

    I wasn’t expecting 7 points from Reading, Preston and Swansea – so I can just about stomach the idea of no points against Watford. Bad news on Breckin and Lynch though.

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