Friendly round up..

Rotherham United – 0
Nottingham Forest – 1

This was the game I opted for, and to be honest, it wasn’t great!  Having seen most of the high profile new signings featuring down in Rushden I was kicking myself a bit, but the Don Valley Stadium represented a new ground for me, so I took my place to see a mixture of first teamers and youngster lining up something like this:

Darlow
Fairclough Morgan Wilson (c) Diagne
Anderson Moussi Darnet Tyson
Earnshaw Adebola

The Don Valley Stadium is an odd arena, Paralympic history means there’s space for a flame and relatively low stands and running track puts the crowd far from the action – so when you’re watching unfamiliar players it’s not helpful.  The atmosphere suffers for the sparsely populated arena and the away end is tucked slightly round a corner from the home support.

Rotherham started brighter, a decent cross bringing an early save from Darlow, but then it was Forest on the attack – Earnie had an initial chance which he ambitiously tried to curl into the top corner, but was comfortably over, however, we didn’t have to wait much longer for a nice flick from Dele Adebola, a dropped shoulder from Earnie to free up enough space to slot the ball into the net off the far post – a nice goal.

It’s fair to say though, aside from occasional forays, the rest of the game largely belonged to the home side.  Darlow was well beaten by a header looping over him (not for the last time in the game!), but Paul Anderson was on hand to deal with it on the line, only for the rebound to be thunderously struck against him again making two goalline clearances in as many nanoseconds.

Moments later Taylor struck a delicious strike that had Darlow well beaten, but not the woodwork.  Pope showed great composure to strike the rebound into the net first time, however he was in an offside position so the goal was disallowed.  Shortly after Earnie charged down a clearance which ricocheted kindly for him to stroke a gentle lob over Warrington, but the referees whistle chalked this off too we think for a handball against Earnie.

Darlow – erratic in the Forest goal – was in trouble again when Sharp headed over him, he backpedalled and caught it but I’m sure it was over the line, a shove from the Rotherham striker made it an easier decision for the referee and linesman to not heed the home sides’ protests – but I’m pretty sure it was over the line before any foul play regardless.  Tys sliced a shot wide from the left after good work from Adebola and Earnie, and that was pretty much it for the half.

The half time break seemed to last an eternity, presumably with Billy not in attendance they were stodging up on pies, chips, gravy and a couple of pints – hence the delayed start to the second half, and the singular lack of real pace or urgency that was to unfold.  We had been looking forward to Forest attacking the end we were sitting, but well, there wasn’t to be much attacking in the second half!

Darlow was going walkabout again and was almost lobbed by Ellison prompting a great save from the young ‘keeper – notwithstanding him being hideously out of position in the first place.  From the resulting corner Darnet was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area giving Rotherham a penalty as a means of getting back into the game.

Tyson spent a while in the box stretching for cramp, which might’ve contributed to putting off Stephen Brogan who – just on as a substitute – spannered the penalty into the crossbar and over, much to the mock-relief of the travelling fans.  Another header beat Darlow only for Wes to literally appear from nowhere to make the clearance.  Darlow finished well with a save after a good run and shot from Brogan.

Basically, this was the jammiest clean sheet I’ve ever seen – I wasn’t at all impressed with Darlow.  The established players all played okay, particularly Tyson, Anderson, Adebola, Wes and Earnie.  The player that stood out amongst the youngsters was Jordan Fairclough – son of Chris – playing at right back, I thought he had a fine game both defensively and going forward, so he’s my man of the match.

Rushden and Diamonds 1
Nottingham Forest 1

Arguably the pick of the fixtures, with more of the new signings down here finished in a draw, the Forest goal coming from new loanee Radoslaw Majewski with his first touch of the ball!  I’m kind of guess at the team formation having not been there and not being massively familiar with all the players, but:

Camp
Gunter Chambers Mitchell Lynch
Majewski McKenna (C) McGugan Davies
McGoldrick Blackstock

So yes, one minute and thirty three seconds were on the clock when debutant Radoslaw Majewski picked up the ball on the edge of the box, turned and shot past Dale Roberts in the Rushden goal.  Dexter broke through minutes later but Roberts was alive to the danger and blocked.

The equaliser, just before half time,  saw Forest loanee James Reid make a good run down the left and put a cross in for Aaron O’Connor to bundle over the line.

In the second half Rushden came out very positively, Gunter was required to make a goal-line clearance towards the end of the game to keep it level.  Rushden made a total of eight substitutions whilst Forest only withdrew Lewis (for Rodney) and Mitchell (for Benjamin), so much like in the Rotherham game, Forest keen to get 90 minutes into players compared to our opponents.

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7 Responses

  1. […] the original post on Through the seasons before […]

  2. Anyone know what’s happened to Cohen? No sign of him in action since the Sporting game…

  3. “…only for Wes to literally appear from nowhere…”. Methinks you have been listening to John McGovern a bit too much!

    The team at Rushden also seemed like an attempt to shoehorn as many players whose name begins with “Mc” into the team – but where was McCleary?

  4. @LondonRed – Cohen’s picked up a slight knock (as has McCleary and Smith).

    @Rish I even thought of the phrase in his accent! Spooky! Yet to hear the dulcet tones of Mr McGovern this season either!

  5. http://www.soccerx.co.uk/DiamondsTVforest.htm

    Just found this on the interweb. A bit Diamonds biased as you’d expect, but OK though. It doesn’t show how we had much the better of the first half, but I don’t think many would disagree that they outplayed us in the second half the majority of the time. Only to be expected as we had not a team, but a collection of new signings playing together (many for the first time). I was impressed with Camp (as usual) & McKenna was very strong & played the ball around intelligently. The new lad from Poland looked class – great touch. McGoldrick worked hard with some good touches, but I was a bit disappointed with Blackstock I have to say. On a final note – Gunter looked a class act!

    This is why I’m not a sports journalist…..

  6. Well, after yesterdays hat-trick of signings I was a little dissapointed no-one ckd in 2day(yesterday as it is 4 me now 🙂 ) Anyway, I think the 1-1 shows that the team was brand new(ish) but what caught my I the most was a) the Polish midfielder scoring in 1m 33secs b) The abscence of Smith as you pointed out in your comments has a slight knock.

    Has Garner played in any friendlies? I just ran through them all but didn’t see his name. Also, as u seem to know things, Moussi subed @ HT – precortionary?

  7. Garner is injured too, apparently – he was at the Burton friendly in the stand.

    Moussi was fouled just before half time and was limping a bit – so yes, I imagine it was precautionary. He was on his feet warming down at the start of the second half, so I think he’s okay.

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