Reds run goes on as Toon Army succumb..

Nolan shows his frustration after missing a chance

Nolan shows his frustration after missing a chance

Nottingham Forest – 1
Newcastle United – 0

Billy Davies called for the fans to back the team, the fans backed the team, the team repaid the fans.  A definite game of two halves, the first of which was the best performance I’ve seen from Forest under Billy.  Davies opted to pack the midfield with Raddy and the the wingers pushing forward to support the lone striker up front in Dex.  And it worked a treat.

McGoldrick and Chambers made way for Moussi and Wilson, as Forest lined up like this:

Gunter   Morgan   Wilson   Cohen
Anderson   McKenna   Majewski   Moussi   Tyson

With the Sky cameras looking on and the largest crowd so far of the season, the Reds did a convincing job of looking befitting of the kind of stage on which they found themselves.  Their confidence on the pitch transmitted well to the stands enabling the home support to provide a fairly consistent soundtrack that, despite their impressive numbers, the travelling Toon Army weren’t able to match.

The Reds started positively, and the referee stamped his authority on the game immediately by booking Alan Smith for kicking the ball away after Newcastle conceded a freekick. It was only three minutes gone when the Newcastle keeper had his first save to make.  Wes Morgan lofted a good ball in which Dexter Blackstock met with his head – it was well-directed and lacked power, so the goalie was able to keep it out with a smart diving save.

Majewski had the next attempt, but his looping left footed strike from around twenty yards out was as good as straight at Harper who made the catch.  There was little Harper could do a few minutes later though, just as I commented to the fan adjacent to me that we were rubbish at corners, a good delivery from Raddy was met by a thumping header from Blackstock.  Harper was rooted to his line but the ball struck the post.

Naturally being a Forest fan I was starting to fear a West Brom type game, where early dominance and chances not taken would ultimately cost us – and before the half hour mark the visitors did start to show signs of stirring.  A freekick from far out was whipped in by Ryan Taylor, Harewood – who’d been firmly wedged in Wes’s pocket so far, really should’ve tapped it in but it went through everyone to strike the far post.

On the break Anderson performed a minor miracle to keep the ball in down the left side after a pass from Tyson, and ended his run with a shot from range that was quite straight forward for Harper to deal with.  More good work from Anderson ultimately ended up with Tys striking a powerful volley on the turn – unfortunately he hadn’t quite got his bearings right and struck it wide of the goal.

The goal came at that ‘perfect’ time before half time – winning the ball in defence there was some nice passing (which at the time looked risky in our defensive third!), culminating in the ball coming to Majewski who saw Dexter’s run and played the ball in to him perfectly.  Harper closed the angle but Dex either showed great cool or miskicked slightly to roll the ball into the bottom corner to give the Reds a deserved lead.

Dexter scores the only goal of the game

Dexter scores the only goal of the game

Clearly the orange-faced duo of Hughton and Smoulderwood must have had some stirring words for Newcastle, as the side that came roaring out the blocks for the second half were a much different proposition.  Whilst the Reds’ passing and ability to control a game was on show in the first half, their ability to defend and deal with pressure would be tested in the second.

The Magpies passed the ball around well and threatened, Harewood looked eager to impress on his old ground and made a few dubious choices when perhaps a pass was better than a shot.  Where the Reds had been composed in the first, Newcastle now hassled and harried and forced errors.  Possession wasn’t coming easy to the Reds now unlike in the first half.

Billy replaced Majewski with McGoldrick in midfield to try to add a bit of strength and composure to proceedings.  Newcastle still pressed and Carroll came close but for a Morgan block, rebounding to Nolan who shot wide from a narrow angle.  Then came the moment of controversy for Newcastle fans, as Nolan netting only to be ruled offside – although it took the travelling fans a LONG time to realise.

At the time I wasn’t shouting offside, I must admit.  Looking at the replay on The Football League show, Nolan was fractionally ahead of the last defender when Alan Smith flicked the ball on to him – so a good call by the linesman, but a sure warning sign of the intentions of our visitors who were continuing to pile on the pressure.

The Reds defended stoutly and sought to counter-attack where possible, after a good tackle from Smith, Anderson was left prone on the deck requiring treatment.  He played on briefly and was eventually replaced by Lewis McGugan, receiving a great ovation from the Forest fans who’d appreciated his efforts over the course of the game.

Newcastle had removed Harewood from the pitch and replaced him with Ranger – whose first action was to win a free header but put it over.  McKenna was the final player for the reds to be withdrawn from the action, replaced by Joe ‘the booking’ Garner who got a cheap yellow card almost immediately.  In the four minutes of stoppage time the Reds had the closest chance, Tyson crossing to McGoldrick who had his shot blocked.

Gutierrez, who had come on as a substitute after an hour, forced a late save from Camp – but it wasn’t anything too threatening and eventually the whistle sounded to signal the end of the game to no small relief from the home fans.  Billy has been at pains to reiterate Forest’s status as a work-in-progress – and I agree with him completely, however, the progression in his work is certainly significant.

Men of the match, tough call – as nobody had a bad game, but Blackstock, Morgan and Wilson all stood out in their performances I thought.

18 Responses

  1. A good review NFFC as per!!

    Certainly was a game of two halves and it was disappointing to see The Mousse fade in the second 45 after probably his best showing to date. Maybe his fitness is still an issue but it proves we have lots to come if that was the case.

    Wes and Kelv were outstanding at the back and it was great to see all the players putting their bodies on the line to make some tremendous blocks.

    We’ve come a long way and have a fair way to go but Im getting optimistic for the future.

    Bring on the Tykes!!

  2. I just watched the goal again – Raddy’s throughball to Dex was the eleventh pass in a sequence from Reds players.

    Been a while since we did that I bet!

    • I totally agree, not seen that for a while, except for the likes of Arsenal doing that week in, week out. I was most upset that no one even mentioned it at half time, but if it was Arsenal…

      Upset that we didn’t keep it up in the second half, they need to learn and the half talk has to be better from Billy. He shouldn’t slate the team for not fighting, surely that’s his mistake not telling them in the dressing room.

  3. Great write-up. Key things we learn from the game:

    Anderson and Tyson playing swapsies with the wings then both playing the SAME wing, then back – is bloomin confusing if you are defending it.

    Blackstock / Madge and Blackstock/McG could well be our best strike partnerships. (Was it just me that noticed Adebola ALMOST being brought on, but then Billy changed his mind to pick JG? He wont be a happy chappy will he?) Wasteful Earnie being injured could do us a big favour by giving DB and co a good run in the side.

    Carroll is the best arial target man for link play I’ve seen. He’s like goliath / a tank – beat our defence every time. Thank God he didnt have the right end product.

    All in all – a great run. Can anyone tell me the last time we did 4 on the bounce? What about 5? (Hoping for more on Tues)

  4. I think McKenna picking up a knock changed Billy’s substitution plans when Adebola was set to come on.

  5. Definitely the best performance I’ve seen from the Reds in the first half and whilst it was a different matter in the second, and Newcastle had much more possession, watching my recording of the game showed that they carved out few if any real chances other than their disallowed goal. It was offside but only just and whilst it could have changed the game, it didn’t. For me, and whilst I have been critical of the back four in the past, last night they were solid – save Gunter getting roasted – and Wes Morgan was a man amongst men. He was my clear MoM with Cohen, Dex and McK all having excellent games. The Moose was immense in the first half and infairness to Gunter, Anderson didn’t give him much defensive help but was good going forward. All in all an excellent all round performance and I think we earned the win. I also won the bet with my mate that despite his late appearance, Garner would get booked and after 3 mins he obliged!! A great atmosphere and magic to hear the fans outsinging the Toon Army.

  6. And last time we won four on the bounce? December 28th – 27th January last season we beat:

    Sheffield Wednesday

    In consecutive league games – mixed in there we also beat Manchester City in the FA Cup, as well as drawing with Derby County in the next round.

    So not as long ago as you might think!

    Club record for this is apparently 7 which took place in the 1920s!

  7. As an armchair fan this was my first game of the season and I really enjoyed it, especially as i came with 2 geordie mates who were a bit over confident before the match due to their position at the top of the table, but it was good to see that drain away from them in the first few minutes. I was very worried for the first few mins of the 2nd half but it was really good to see some resiliance. I haven’t seen forest lose at the CG for about 10 years- but then i don’t go very often! Had a great night out afterwards as well- I live in Manchester and Nottingham has at least 2 things better than Manchester, number one is the better football team, and number 2 is late night opening of Greggs for late night pasties- superb!

    looking forward to the ‘away leg’ in the toon in March with the same mates, hopefully we can do the double over them.

  8. As above.
    First half tremendous, second half too deep (as usual when we go ahead!) but the team stayed strong and solid.
    Husky, Billy apologised to Dele re the substitution when he realised McKenna was injured.

    One thing, as we walked out I couldn’t help but notice the Forest players from last year ALL embraced Calderwood, not just a shake of the hand. A lot of respect there methinks.

    So, we could be top 6 after Tuesday then. Who’d a thought it?!

  9. yeahooooooooooooooo our Dex is on fire, lets sing that forest fans the next time dexbomb scores

  10. Wow! I’m only just getting my breath back now!!

    Thats the best I’ve seen us play in 10 years. 1st half was fabulous. Moussi was immense. What struck me more than anything was the composure the whole team showed.

    2nd half showed fabulous character and determination and we still created better opening than them even though they didn’t result in shots.

    I think this game shows that stats DO lie – at half time, I took at look at the stats – 44-56% possession – in Newcastle’s favour!! They only increased this by 2% by the end of the match! WTF?

    Wes was my MoM. Dex was magnificent too.

    Can’t wait for tomorrow!! U REDS!!

  11. I read this article on a Newcastle Blog and I could not believe the arrogance of the writter-especially the last para.

    Tyne Time – Latest Newcastle United Breaking News and DiscussionForest fortunate to finish as winners?
    by Doocey on October 17th, 2009

    Dexter – Firing past Steve Harper

    Well I think the first thing you have to say is Welcome to the Coca Cola Championship, Newcastle United. Today, a single albeit dubious goal from Dexter Blackstock saw off a Toon effort that just wasn’t good enough on the day. My headline might suggest some haste in losing the game but in all fairness you have to give credit to Nottingham Forest for not laying back, and indeed giving it their all against ‘the biggest club in the league’. They’ve followed suit of Blackpool who before today, were the only team to have beaten us.

    Although some decisions didn’t go our way including a pretty blatant legit goal, we didn’t really aid our cause. The first half wasn’t anything special and we were punished a few seconds before the halftime whistle sounded.

    The Forest fans were hounding everything that Newcastle touched and the atmosphere was one of anxiety. I suppose you could say Newcastle were unlucky and indeed Forest were fortunate to win this affair but we’ve been proved, once again, that the Coca Cola Championship isn’t a comfortable ride.

    As I said in an earlier article, Forest wouldn’t be easy and I was correct to say so. Saying that, should the goal that was disallowed have been awarded, and had Nile Ranger pelted his header into the back of the net, it would be a very different analysis.

    However, we have to get used to this and come to expect it. Playing Newcastle United, for lower Championship teams is like a cup final, every week.

    • I’ve read a lot of disparaging comments – but it seems to be restricted to folks who write online things like this site for fun.

      The geordies I spoke to after the game were much more reasonable in their outlook. In fairness, they’re in the promotion places so perhaps they have yet to have a real reality check.

      Given the turbulence off the field there that is some testament to Hughton and Smoulds’ ability, and indeed the residual quality in their first team squad.

  12. Looked to me like dele was all set to come on untill they took marlon off so i wonder if he was gonna stick the big man at the back to help out wes and kelv. Quality first half, and the mousse was awesome, if he can do it for ninety minutes we’ll take sum beating with him and raddy pullin the strings in the middle! Especially with wes in imperious unbeatable form as ever! You reds!

  13. Reading Rob’s borrowed Toon comments, who would you rather be…….

    A team who have a massive “perceived” reputation (mainly based on their huge fan base) but who have actually never really won much at all…. or a team who have had a few bad years of late but were the masters of Europe (twice) and winning cups for fun at the peak of their prominence??

    No brainer for me!

  14. […] – the Toon Army rolled into Nottingham in October, and had to watch their side undergo a thorough examination in a rampant first half performance […]

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