Davies responds with dignity – and accuracy – regarding post-match incident..

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Billy: Actually bothered to review the facts before commenting on Tysongate

If you didn’t hear it live (as I didn’t) then I strongly recommend listening to an interview with Billy Davies on 5 Live this evening regarding the incidents after the match with Derby County (Start listening from about 5:20 seconds – unfortunately there’s a cut to speak to the Newcastle United manager and then another one shortly after).

Unlike his peers from the Rams who opted to vent inaccurate stories immediately – Billy has clearly carefully reviewed what actually happened and responded with great dignity and professionalism.

Whilst I like many fans have been taken up in the banter, and I certainly don’t claim to be a remotely professional representative!  I am very glad, though, to see the powers-that-be conducting themselves so well in a media who have jumped on a Savage and Clough inspired bandwagon in a spurious attempt to compromise the investigation the FA will be conducting.

The way in which comments from Clough, Savage, Teale and Glick (their CEO) is rather insulting to the Derby County fans.  In scenes that were certainly comparable with those featuring Robbie Savage back in February, there was no significant problem with the Forest fans – and I don’t think there would have been with the Derby fans either had their squad not intervened.

Well done Billy – unfortunately the majority of people will still be spoon-fed the inaccurate events disappointingly repeated parrot-fashion in the media – but I hope that with the raft of pretty clear evidence available the FA investigation will disregard any consideration of disciplinary action against Tyson – or indeed Forest.

The vast majority of the incident is wrist-slapping territory for both clubs – the only serious investigations in my opinion should pertain to which of the Derby County players and staff were inflicting punches on Forest players.  And frankly, I think it would have been pretty pointless for Forest to have raised complaints regarding it – how delicious it would be if the FA came to the correct conclusion in a review that Derby have pushed for so strongly.

Congratulations again Billy, despite being wronged by divisive and spiteful rivals and by completely ignorant journalists, you’ve come out with great credit both for yourself and the club.  Whilst Derby are left looking like the sad embittered folks they are – and boy did they do a good job on distracting attention away from the fact they lost!

Don’t worry, we’ve remembered!  And we are loving it!

Some helpful evidence for the FA investigation..

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Forest vs Derby goals..

Thanks to Matt!  In the interests of good taste he’s only included our goals (not the ones we scored for Derby), with the added bonus of Colin Fray commentary overlaid!

There’s footage of the ‘handbags’ too.  Sore losers, Derby.  Poor show.  What a goal by Majewski.

Tysongate: Savage should STFU.

Apparently Robbie Savage (of all people!) has continued his on the pitch nonsense with some off-the-pitch insults towards Nathan Tyson in the aftermath of yesterday’s game.  Let’s take a view of what actually happened from eyewitness accounts.

  • Full time – celebrations from Forest fans and players alike.
  • Nathan Tyson takes a corner flag from a ball boy.
  • He waves it at the A Block.
  • He makes his way across the pitch (ON the playing surface) to the Forest fans in the Brian Clough stand.
  • He is intercepted and assaulted by Derby players (Dean Leacock)
  • A melee ensues which drags the incident towards the Derby fans

And that’s pretty much it.  Any decent-minded Derby supporter, and that is what most of them are, would have taken no umbrage at all had he been left unmolested to make his way to the Forest fans.  He was inciting nothing, he was celebrating – and he had every right to.  He never left the playing surface, until attacked by Derby players, and he never directed anything towards the Derby fans.

Roll back to last year, Robbie Savage danced infront of our fans waving a Derby scarf in the air at full time.  It wasn’t palatable, it wasn’t nice, but that was DIRECT incitement.  So how he can have the audacity to claim anything against Tyson when he was HE and HIS TEAMMATES who attacked him is completely beyond me.  If the authorities are to take this investigation seriously then they should find charges against the Derby County players who kicked off (or rather punched off) the whole episode.

The incidents in East London in the week have no relevance to this incident at all, and shame on the national media for being a bunch of ill-informed lazy bastards to even suggest such a thing.  May I suggest dropping a line to The FA if you feel as strongly about this as I do?  Their contact details are here.  Because if Forest are given any kind of punishment for this it would be ridiculous and unfair.

I am very disappointed that Nigel Clough, a man famed for fair play as a player, has allowed his club captain on the lose in the media like this.  Very disappointed indeed.  And indeed that he’s happy for his players and staff to start brawls on the middle of an opponents pitch after losing.  Just accept it Rams, you lost – and that means we celebrate.  If you don’t like that, you could have just gone back to the dressing room and sulked there.

Unfortunately, Robbie Savage is well-connected in the media so I fully expect his frankly obnoxious behaviour to go unchecked whilst a scapegoat is made of Nathan Tyson, which would be ridiculous.  You only have to look at the fawning of Garth Crooks, Manish Bhasin and Steve Claridge in his favour on The Football League show to see that.

As for the investigations – hopefully the FA have a look at whose players were throwing the punches.  Because it wasn’t ours.  Who would have thought that a team under our Nige would be such a bunch of graceless cheating bastards who can’t take their own medicine?  I am actually saddened, I had hoped for so much more from him.  Judge for yourselves, incitement or assault by the Derby players?

Never felt more like singing the blues, when Forest win, and Derby lose whoa-oh-oh!

Tys: Making headlines for the wrong reasons, despite not being at fault

Nottingham Forest – 3
Derby County – 2

I’m going to deal with Tysongate seperately, I think.  Having just about risen from the fug of a monumental hangover I’m still rather surprised that the finger seems to be pointing to him rather than the Derby players who laid into him.  Still, at least it is being investigated by an organisation renowned for their common sense approach and aren’t in the least bit likely to sucumb to a knee-jerk reaction.  Oh dear!

Right, so yes, the game.  A sublime first half, a three-nil cushion at half time but still – in this author’s mind at least – a nervousness that we might do something stupid.  And we nearly did, well, we did – but not quite badly enough to undo the first half!  We lined up with:

Camp
Gunter    Morgan    Chambers    Cohen
Garner    McKenna    Majewski    Tyson
McGoldrick    Blackstock

And well, it all started rather well.  Savage did his usual gurning at the Forest fans in both the Main Stand and Brian Clough Stand before the warm up (of course, this isn’t incitement at all, is it?).  The atmosphere started to build during the build-up to the kick-off and erupted almost immediate effect after Chris Gunter had a speculative shot that was blocked, the ball falling the Radoslaw Majewski who rifled an absolute belted beyond Bywater to give us a lead we’d never relinquish.

One of Derby’s very few shots on goal that we didn’t kick in for them came shortly after, Garner had fouled Moxey but Savage’s freekick was easy for Camp to deal with.  As was what used to be the menace of Rob Hulse – who looked half the player that scared us shitless last season.  At the other end we were putting on good pressure and looking dangerous, a cross/shot by Cohen was inches away from finding a striker to prod it in, and went wide.

It wasn’t long to wait for a second though, it was almost assisted by Kris Commons too!  He fouled Joe Garner, giving us a freekick on the right.  Cohen curled a lovely ball into the six yard box finding Blackstock who has been credited with the goal, but I think it was likely it took a hefty and possibly decisive deflection off a Derby player – I couldn’t be sure at the time and obviously was taken up with far too much celebrating afterwards!

Hearts were in mouths though when Cohen conceded a freekick (I’m still not sure what for) which was pumped into the box near Hulse, unsurprisingly.  Camp saved well from the initial effort but could only divert the ball back into play – where Hulse was lurking to nod the ball in.  The linesman already had his flag up, so the celebrating Derby fans had that sinking moment we all know and hate – unless, of course, it’s happening to your bitter rivals!  It was chalked off for pushing and shoving – I was too far away to see if that was fair or not.

Just as we were saying “We need to not concede before half time, like last time!” to one another, Commons went and did us another favour.  He pretty much gave up the ball to McKenna who found Blackstock.  Dex looked up and saw Tys on the run – Tys pointed where he wanted it, Dex obliged – it looked nervous for a moment when he rounded Bywater, but the lad done good and managed to slip the ball into the waiting goal to give us a rather splendid 3-0 lead.

It was all grins at half time for the home fans, but I am a nervous Forest fan by nature – so a glance through my text messages at around half time are full of messages I received saying “Get in! We’ve nailed this..” etc and my replies forewarning doom and not to be counting any chickens etc.  And gosh darn it, Forest only went and almost proved me right with what was to be a second half collapse really.

Clough Jnr made the wise decision of taking off the ineffective Commons – although I think the problem was the former Reds man never made it into the away dressing room because he was still safely tucked away in Paul McKennas pocket.  The Rams really had two options open to them in this fixture – damage limtation or just going for it – and, to their credit, they took the second option.  Ably assisted by Forest’s strange desire to sit back that frustrates us all – and a little bit probably by our lads being tired after midweek games take their toll.

It only took five minutes to give the away fans something to cheer about.  Miles Addison tried the clumsiest overhead kick in the world, there was no power in it at all, and after a deflection off Wes Morgan it bobbled horribly into the corner.  I’ve yet to see the goals on telly, at the time I was convinced Camp had plenty of time to get there and had assumed he thought it was going wide – but that can be deceptive on the day, I concede.  Either way, a poor goal to concede (if there’s such a thing as a good goal to concede, but y’know what I mean!).

Derby continued to probe and scrap, with Forest content mostly to ride the punches given that generally they posed little bite.  A dangerous tactic, but one that seemed to be working.  Until another unfortunate moment for Camp.  Lee Croft’s header took a deflection off Livermore taking the ball into the goal – much like before, it looked like the ‘keeper could’ve done more (or maybe look like he wanted to!) rather than just stand there looking confused!

At this point Forest realised they needed to contribute somewhat more to the game, and a break by Tys set up Dele for a header which was straight at Bywater.  At this point Garner and Dex had been substituted for McCleary and Adebola.  Billy made his final move and took off McGoldrick for Earnshaw.  The Reds started to take back control of the match which had been inexonorably Derby for most of the half.

The Reds fans actually backed the team in their moment of need – cajoling from both Billy Davies and Camp certainly helped matters in this regard.  The only real remaining incidents of note were McCleary booked for a foul on Savage – it was a foul, his ridiculous dive wasn’t really necessary though, and finally McKenna went down under a foul by Derby substitute Paul Dickov.  He was eventually helped off the pitch limping rather badly – which is a concern.

The only remaining bit of danger from the Rams was from a late long throw-in, which Camp claimed comfortably.  Despite only 5 minutes of stoppage time being called, the referee deigned to play eight – but fortunately the Derby players were looking jaded and defeated leaving Forest to simply weather a not particularly emphatic storm and await the final whistle and collect the Brian Clough Trophy for the first time.  I still think it’s a stupid idea, but since it exists, I would rather we had it than them, for obvious reasons!

A deserved win, a cracking win – one I celebrated with far too much alcohol leaving me feeling decidedly ropey even now!  And one where the FA apparently question a player in his own ground celebrating with his own fans by waving a Forest flag.  If their findings are anything other than Nathan Tyson doing nothing wrong, and they charge the Derby players who started punching him, then the FA is a farce.

Unfortunately I already know the FA is a farce, so it won’t be beyond them.  I wonder if they will look back to Robbie Savage twirling that scarf infront of A-Block, which was actually inciteful, but our players didn’t pile in, and our fans took it.  Sure, it was a bitter pill to swallow – but they won, and he was celebrating – that’s what happens, you deal with it and hope for your chance to reciprocate – unfortunately, Derby seem to be able to dish it out but not take it.

Finally, apologies for the lack of Twitter updates.  Apparently O2 were having problems which prevented me getting on the internet via my mobile – increasingly the City Ground is becoming a tricky area to get data coverage as I suspect it gets a bit overloaded with the concentration of people using mobile devices in the area.  I shall see if there’s anything I can do about it.

Oh yes, almost forgot, Blackburn at home in the next round of the Carling Cup.  Good draw, that.

That boy Kris Commons, went off ‘cos he’s shite!

Apologies for the singular lack of updates, o2 have been down and I have been imbibing rather liberally! First half we were great, second half less so. Net result? We win!

You Reds!

Can’t sleep…

The usual cures for insomnia are strangely ineffective..

The usual cures for insomnia are strangely ineffective..

And so we’re almost there.  I won’t kid you, this game means a lot.  I have lots of friends who follow the church of the lesser Clough, so to turn our recent form against them around would be most welcome.  Most welcome indeed.  Every one who I’ve spoken too has played down their chances, much like I have to them – much like we all did last season too.

The signing of Paul Dickov on loan hasn’t exactly filled many of them with confidence – although given the resurrection Clough Jnr has managed to bring about in another ageing niggly bastard former Leicester City player (one who apparently has some new teeth) I’m resisting the urge to take the piss too much just yet.  However, hardly an ambitious signing, particularly when they are splashing the cash in other areas.

Clough Jnr has been busy playing down the fixture, and backhandedly talking up Forest, whilst Billy skirts around falling into the Kinnear trap of calling it just another game, but almost doing just that.  He is right though, we have been playing well, and we need to be professional in approaching this game.

Whilst of course we fixate on our own lack of league success this season so far – with a particularly poor home record – let’s not forget that Derby’s away record is pretty poor too, they have lost at Rotherham and Scunthorpe, and only drawn at Blackpool.  Their home wins have come against Peterborough and Plymouth.  How many of those teams will be challenging at the end of the season?

For our part we’ve been mostly good.  On our travels we have picked up very credible draws at Reading and QPR, and at home we had a good run out against Bradford, were desperately unlucky to lose to a strong West Brom side, were admittedly horseshit against Watford and deservedly succumbed to a defeat – but have bounced back with a solid performance against another strong contender this season in Middlesbrough (albeit in the League Cup).

Of course, all that stuff is meaningless anyway.  Whilst form and overall quality is a factor in any game, the truth of the matter is I can’t see much to choose between two sides that finished a point apart last season – I am confident that we have strengthened well over the summer – albeit with a continued need for defenders, I’m not so sure that Derby have to the same degree, although the installation and settling of Clough Jnr will see them more stable than last season.

But bejesus do we owe them one.  Our all time league record between one another is still in our favour, but the recent trend is inexonerably in Derby’s favour – so that’s a tide that could do with stemming.  It’s going to be a nerve-racking afternoon for all concerned, but there can be no better way of getting our first league win of the season.  Of course, on the flip side, the Rams will feel the same way about their first away win of the season.

Ho hum!  Be safe out there, whilst it’s a complete nonsense there’s bound to be some silliness occurring as people take the rivalry a little too seriously.  I will be on Twitter tomorrow, the match report will be late as I’m out and about after the game and it will involve drinking, so you’ll probably have to wait ’til Sunday!  Please dear God let me have something good to write about!

YOOOOOOOOOOU REDS!

Forest vs. Middlesbrough highlights..

Get ’em while they’re still on YouTube!

Luke Chambers’ goal is a moment of genius!

In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a football match this weekend..

Let’s face it, we were all looking forward to this a lot more when we were signing players left-right and centre whilst Derby were picking up non-leaguers to boost their squad!  Since then we’ve had a poor start whilst the Rams have picked up a couple of wins already.  With our defensive frailties showing no real signs of abating (although there’s a chance Lynch may be available again), it becomes a daunting fixture.

Of course, after our dramatic reacquaintances last season the Rams very much have the upper hand on very recent results – and with our torturers of last season, Rob Hulse and Kris Commons, available and fit it could be another uncomfortable afternoon.  The Reds need to work hard in the fullback positions to try to stem the flow of crosses from Teale and Croft, Chambers and Wes need to get the measure of Hulse and well – woe betide the player that gives Commons too much room.

That said, we started to show a degree of confidence and attacking penetration we’ve not seen yet from Forest against Middlesbrough – so at the other end of the field it will be potentially just as precarious for Derby’s defenders.  Given Billy’s recent selection, Clough Jnr won’t have much idea which strike pairing we’ll start with, but will need to prepare for all eventualities as those who don’t make the first eleven will undoubtedly be on the bench.

I’m expecting Billy to start slow and cautious, aiming to frustrate before perhaps coming out of our shell later.  Although I’ve struggled second-guessing the wily bugger before – so I could be totally wrong.  The key battle in this game will be in midfield, Savage has flourished since Clough’s arrival at Pride Park, and it will be down to Paul McKenna to keep him in check and to ‘boss’ the midfield.  I’d go as far to say that the result of the game could hinge over which of the two midfielders manages to be most influential.

Certainly it’s the game we look forward to more than any other – and dread with equal measure, with the number of inter-club connections it promises to be just as heated as ever, with Billy Davies, Lee Camp, Robert Earnshaw and Dexter Blackstock (to a lesser extent) eager to put one over their former club – and Nigel Clough and Kris Commons equally keen to stick it to the Reds.  It could be an intriguing encounter, for the neutral.

I think on our day we could get the result – however I’m cautious because we’ve not had many ‘our days’ – good performances have been thwarted by bad luck and refereeing incompetence, whilst toothlessness infront of goal have blighted a number of games.  If we’re firing , we could do well – although even if we’re 2-0 up let’s face it, the final whistle couldn’t come soon enough given recent history.

As ever with these games, I’m both hopeful and fearful.  It will probably be a dull 0-0 draw now I’ve predicted some kind of blood-and-thunder kind of encounter.  It could go either way, will the more-rested Rams be more complacent or will the sharpened Reds still have their cutting edge from Tuesday night?  The only thing I can think is that we certainly owe them one after our last few encounters, come on lads, let’s pay off that debt with interest!

Reds stay the course to see off Boro and go into the third round..

Majewski was tonight's matchwinner with a well-taken goal

Nottingham Forest – 2
Middlesbrough – 1
(After extra time – 1-1 in normal time)

Well that’s cheered me up no end.  First things first, those of you using Twitter should point your client of choice at @bradyo2 and thank him for being our lucky omen tonight.  You see, poor Oli finally arrived home to start to listen to the game for Middlesbrough to score against us – upon my suggestion via a sneaky Tweet he duly switched off, and well, things went rather more our way from that moment onwards! So thank you, Oli!

Right, on to business – as readers will know I was decidedly down about our chances in this game – and I’m happy to say Billy and the boys duly shoved my doubt and gloom in my face and delivered a cracking and thoroughly deserved win.  Of course, ideal preparation for a certain match on saturday would not have involved playing into extra time – but dishing out a first defeat for a side as good as Middlesbrough won’t do the lads’ confidence any harm at all.

Not too many surprises in the team, the only really unpredictable element generally in our selections these days is who will be on the wings and up front, Billy went with:

Smith
Gunter    Morgan    Chambers    Cohen
Anderson    McKenna    Majewski    Davies
Blackstock    Earnshaw
Subs: Camp, Garner, Mitchell, Fairclough, Adebola, Tyson, McGoldrick

Quite a pleasing line-up for me, because I am convinced that on their day Dex and Earnie will prove to be our most effective strike pairing (that’s not to say I don’t really like our other options too – it’s a nice dilemma to have!).  Sitting in D Block just behind the Director’s box I must admit I did get distracted a bit by stalking the people in there, namely the chairman – of course – a certain Stuart Pearce, Ian Storey-Moore, John Robertson – Billy Davies with his little control centre of screens and a phone.. it was interesting!

So, the match.  The first half was fairly even – and both sides struggled to fashion clear chances – although Smith had to be on his toes to make a smart double-save after a mere five minutes first from Aliadiere and then Arca who was following up.  He also saved from on-form Johnson, saw Aliadiere shoot wide and Williams blast over from long range – but that’s not to say the Reds weren’t creating chances either.

Robert Huth almost lay a great chance on a plate for Paul Anderson with a short backpass, with Coyne on hand to prevent the winger nipping in to score.  Earnie – who wasn’t having the best of evenings – fired wide after half an hour when Dexter set it up for him, and shortly after had another shot from the edge of the box which really never looked likely to trouble the Middlesbrough ‘keeper.

Boro’s goal came just before half time – a Forest attack broke down in what should have been a corner to the Reds, the latest in a line of hapless officials awarded a goalkick, from which – to their credit – Boro broke very quickly and effectively.  A long ball forward was helped on by Emnes finding Johnson in acres of space to calmly pick his spot and give his side the lead – at the time I thought they were fortunate to be ahead, it had been an even first half – although the visitors had created the better chances.

The second half was fast-paced from Forest, with them looking much more purposeful – Earnie again with a chance, this time from six yards out after good work from McKenna and Dex, but he just couldn’t seem to get the ball out from under his feet to fashion a shooting chance allowing the Middlesbrough back line to regroup and clear.  At the other end Davies misplaced a pass which put Gunter under pressure from Aliadiere, Gunter slipped and the striker burst through, fortunately missing the target.

Next up, the equaliser.  Brace yourself, this was from a corner.  That’s right, a corner.  Davies was the man to take it, and it was Luke Chambers of all people who powered through the penalty area to meet it with what looked to me like an audacious back-heeled volley from about ten yards out.  Coyne got a strong touch on it, but it still crossed the line – and that’s the goal that will go down as the first that Middlesbrough have conceded this season!  Well done Luke, a cracking goal!

The game was stopped for a while whilst the referee made a great drama about some minor injury he’d picked up – only to find him be replaced by somebody even more incompetent than he was.  Replacement referee was miles behind play when McGoldrick and then Adebola were bundled to the ground by Boro defenders in the area – Billy Davies and fans alike went crazy, but it was never likely he’d give the foul and penalty when he was so far behind play.

There were time for a couple more scares from Boro, a freekick was whipped in dangerously requiring Smith to save at his far post, and he needed to be alert to palm a corner over the bar to safety too.  The second half drew to a close with us reflecting positively on a good Forest showing in since half time, and slightly regretting the extra running the boys were going to have to put in given the proximity of a certain game.  But overall, the mood was good.

Extra time nearly got off to a great start – Cohen crossed from the left to Adebola whose header wasn’t powerful, but deflected wide for a corner.  The corner found Chambers who headed quite horribly wide.  From a Boro perspective Arca should probably hit the target rather than hitting it wide of the near post when it looked as though he had more time to pick his spot.

However, it was to be Forest’s night – I think it was Cohen who played the ball in from the left to Adebola, whose layoff was perfect for Radoslaw Majewski to strike cleanly with his left foot into the net much to our delight.  An excellently worked goal.  This rather knocked the stuffing out of Boro, and despite more than fifteen minutes left to play they didn’t seem able to fashion any chances – and the Reds were able to wind the game down and even create a few more chances.

Some great performances all round the team – my man of the match goes to Dexter Blackstock, very closely followed by Wes Morgan – although Luke Chambers, Paul McKenna, Radoslaw Majewski, Paul Smith, Nathan Tyson, David McGoldrick – all deserve a special mention.  Indeed, nobody had a bad game at all, Gunts and Earnie look a bit out of sorts, maybe it’s a Welsh thing?  I thought Cohen looked much more like his usual self today.  And Arron Davies finally showed us how a corner should be taken!

A very pleasing victory indeed – well done to the lads, I hang my head in shame for ever doubting you!  And so a third round place awaits us, of course, whilst this was happening utter carnage was unleashed on the streets of East London in some sort of turgid re-enactment of ‘Football Factory’ or ‘Green Street’ – sad to see, and certainly predictable from the moment the draw was made.  Let’s hope none of that nonsense occurs on Saturday when Derby come to town.

And to finish on a lighter and self-indulgent note, today the blog ticked past three quarters of a million visitors.  Three quarters of a million!  That’s a bloody lot of visitors – thank you all very much for your contributions to that count.  I’m very chuffed.