Oh what fun it is to see the Forest draw away!

Earnie: Making a strong case for a place in the side

Earnie: Making a strong case for a place in the side

Ipswich Town – 1
Nottingham Forest – 1

Our seventh straight away draw in the league (if we go back into last season) officially qualifies Forest as a tough side to beat away, unfortunately we aren’t quite converting that meanness of conceding into ruthlessness of finishing.

Unusually Billy opted for the same starting eleven from the weekend’s trip to Sheffield Wednesday.  I half joked via Twitter at the time that we should have a sweepstake for when Garner would get booked – sure enough, he did indeed pick up a fifth booking of the season meaning he’ll miss the visit of Blackburn next week.

So the starting line up and bench were a familiar looking:

Gunter   Morgan    Chambers    Lynch
Garner   McKenna   Cohen    Anderson
Blackstock    McGoldrick

Subs: Smith, Wilson, McGugan, Moussi, McCleary, Earnshaw, Adebola

The Reds kicked off in grim weather conditions and suffered an immediate role-reversal from recent games – we conceded a ludicrously early goal rather than scoring one.  Unsurprisingly this involved a fairly hefty deflection!  A long ball was flicked on by Stead to Leadbitter whose shot deflected in to give the home side the lead after just 48 seconds.

Forest responded positively – Garner tried to catch out Town’s goalkeeper Wright with a cheeky lob that was marginally over.  Shortly after Blackstock headed just over from 12 yards.  The Reds showed good intentions but sloppy play and poor playing conditions made it heavy going for both sides.

Similarly to saturday, we seem to attract referees who like the sound of their whistle rather too much – once again this one wasn’t content unless he was stopping the game every couple of minutes for minor infractions by both sides.  It was during this spell that Garner picked up his yellow card for a poor challenge.

There were signs of good play by the Reds though.  McKenna played a ball to McGoldrick who was hacked down after turning and beating his man – the resulting freekick just outside the area was predictably spannered off target by Chris Cohen.  As a side we really really do not capitalise on setpieces nearly enough.

Danger in the Forest area was soon to follow too, Liam Rosenior did well to get forward and send a good ball across the face of the Forest goal – fortunately for us it was just beyond the stretches of Jonathans Stead and Walters so our goal remained unscathed.  Shortly after a cross/shot from Edwards nearly caught out Camp who ended up putting it out for a corner.

Half time saw Blackstock withdrawn for Adebola (Blackstock had picked up a head injury in the first half which had needed a bandage).  It was the next substitution, however, that was to prove the instrumental one for us – I’ve lamented Earnie’s lack of first team action a fair bit – and he made a big point today by scoring with his first touch upon being introduced to the action at the expense of Garner.

Chris Gunter was the provider, playing a ball into Earnshaw but the diminutive striker cleverly let the ball run through to Adebola and ran on to the return pass Dele made to chip the ball deliciously into the ‘net from around six yards out.  Great instinctive play between the two frontmen to get Forest an equaliser they had been working hard for.

The impressive Leadbitter was still proving a menace after a surging run but only resulted in a corner thanks to the intervention of Lee Camp.  At the other end Anderson found McGoldrick who did excellently well to beat his man but somehow contrived to shoot from a tight angle rather than try to put the cross in for one of his teammates.

As Forest started to get more into the game they showed more confidence to pass the ball around – but then the final ball let them down (sound familiar?!).  There was a slight heart-in-mouth moment when the ball deflected off Wes Morgan but this time for a corner rather than a goal – and McKenna needed to be alert to head off the line from a McAuley header after a cross by former Reds loanee Lee Martin.

The game ended with high drama – Dele did really well to nick the ball and get clean through on goal, McAuley clipped him down and was sent off – unfortunately for us it was outside the area, and Earnie’s use of the freekick was wasteful to say the least – spannered straight into the wall (Earnie had been given instructions from the bench too).  Despite a reasonable amount of stoppage time the Reds couldn’t break down the dogged home side so had to settle for a draw.

Boos greeted the fulltime whistle which may have been a combination of the Ipswich fans disgruntlement with the referee having just sent off their man (not that there was much argument with it!) as well as a continuation with their poor run of results.  As for Forest, another point away from home isn’t a bad thing if we can pick up our home results.

Elsewhere it was pleasing to read that Derby fell at home to struggling Barnsley – with Non-League Nigel apparently singling out Kris Commons for some rather choice criticism after the match (I’ve yet to find these comments anything other than paraphrased though).  It’s obviously too early to gloat about anything just yet – they’re still ahead of us on goals scored afterall – but it’s enjoyable nonetheless!

Forest clarify position on stadium move

Mark Arthur finally breaks the deafening Forest silence on stadium move

Mark Arthur finally breaks the deafening Forest silence on stadium move

I would recommend taking a few moments to read through Mark Arthur’s piece on the official website.  With councillors squabbling with one another and making a very bad impression on Nottingham and Nottinghamshire in general – our Chief Exec has offered a fairly eloquent view of Forest’s stance on these matters.

Certainly the frustration comes through strongly – and hearing Councillor Cutts on the radio this morning, she does come across a lady with a sizeable chip on her shoulder.  Certainly I for one would welcome further open and frank communication like this from Forest – they don’t do it often.  One of the few salient points Cutts made was that nobody has consulted with Forest fans on this proposed move.

I remain unconvinced of the merits of a move.  Nottingham having an opportunity to host a minor World Cup game or two doesn’t really make any odds to me personally – and whilst I could be swayed into the idea of a new stadium under very specific stipulations on location, styling (no flatpackery!) and suchlike.

Certainly whilst Mark Arthur I think comes across rather well in this instance, the continued bitching and moaning between the two councils I think doesn’t do much to enhance our bid in these matters.  Given that our rivals don’t need to move stadiums, just enhance existing ones, presumably this is casting Nottingham’s bid in a very unfavourable light with the onlooking FA and FIFA types.