A point Bristol-fashion puts Reds up to eighth..

Lest we forget

Nottingham Forest – 1
Bristol City – 1

It was the case of two immovable objects in the first half, as Gary Johnson decided to pack midfield – and so did Billy Davies!  It was actually the visitors who broke ranks first to attack which opened up the game in the second half, and two late goals meant the teams had to share the spoils – which on balance of play I think I would classify as a fair result, but it always feels disappointing to lose a lead to a late goal.  Ask a Cardiff fan last week!

It all started with – quite rightly – a minute silence ahead of Remembrance Sunday, which was well observed by a crowd that included plenty of folks in military uniforms.

Anthony Taylor avoided too much controversy, but was as whistle and card-happy as ever for both sides throughout – having to be in the action as soon as thirty seconds when an apparently over-excited Maynard annihilated Gunts in a challenge that areas of the ground seemed to think might have warranted more than the yellow card he received.  It seems Gunts is a bit of a target for fouls like that, after being on the end of one at Cardiff too!

The Reds were largely unchanged in terms of personnel from the Cardiff game, but Garner was operating more freely than against Cardiff, but again it was five in the middle to match Bristol, with McGoldrick a forlorn figure leading the line alone.

Gunter   Morgan   Wilson   Cohen
Moussi   McKenna
Anderson   Majewski   Garner

Inbetween the midfield stalemate there were opportunities though, Raddy played a lovely ball through towards Anderson but Kerken was quick off his line to get there first.  Anderson again was denied a change by a last ditch challenge by the impressive Skuse after a good cross from Gunter.  In fact, if truth be told, City’s defence dealt very comfortably with the little we had to offer in terms of dangerous forward play.

City continued to assert their physical (read: dirty) side of play, this time it was Sno who went in ludicrously late on Paul McKenna for no good reason and picked up a booking for his trouble.  Probably amongst the closest chances we had was a 25 yard effort from Joe Garner, well struck but just wide – and I’m not convinced it would have had the beating of the ‘keeper had it been inside the post rather than outside.

The Robins were clearly playing the waiting game – but did have some moments upfront, Haynes broke and looked clear to bear down on Camp but for an excellent saving tackle from Kelvin Wilson. Kelv is looking more and more the player we think him capable of being of late, which is great to see.  There was time for a couple more Reds chances, a Majewski shot from the edge of the box was straight at the ‘keeper, as was a Garner header from a McGoldrick cross.

Half time came and it’s disappointing to say that some of the fans were having a grumble – it wasn’t a great half, don’t get me wrong, but even still. The visiting fans seemed to retain that strange dislike for us that they’ve had since Smoulderwood said something fairly innoccuous about them – still, whatever floats your boat I suppose!

As thought, City came out for the second half much more positively – and they had the first opportunity which fell to the dangerous Maynard but his chance was blocked by Wes.  Shortly after Wes was marauding their penalty area, he was felled (I don’t think it was a penalty as he’d kicked the ball too far away, but I don’t think he dived either) and booked ridiculously for diving.  This is where inconsistencies annoy me, because the ref waved on play when Brizzle players hit the deck rather too easily but never once booked any for diving.

Billy responded to the more open style of play by reducing our midfield by one and introducing Dele Adebola for Majewski just shy of the hour mark.  City were putting solid pressure on us though, and Camp needed to show he was concentrating which he was, claiming the ball amongst bodies and staying alert to one of those dangerous inswinging freekicks which on this occasion went straight at the goal without anyone getting their head on it.

McCleary replaced Garner to add a bit more attacking flair, and the winger had a shot quite early after a good ball from Cohen but dragged it wide from the edge of the box.  Forest were really looking at their most dangerous so far in the afternoon, and the Moose put in a fantastic cross that just evaded McGoldrick before going out of play.  This brought about the long-awaited return of Robbie Earnshaw who took to the field to a great ovation.

The best moment of defending in the game came after – McCleary did really well to get past his man in the area on the goal-line, and square back to Anderson who looked certain to score but for an excellent intervetion by Skuse to stop the ball pretty much on the line.  The crowd started to get behind the lads, and the breakthrough came from a Cohen freekick which was touched on by Adebola to fall nicely for Wes Morgan to spanner the ball into the net from six yards.

Perhaps we should have made it safe too, dele played a ball shortly after in to Earnie who shot over.  Surely a fully fit and sharp Earnie would’ve at least worked the goalkeeper?

The game of course ended on a sour note for us – a well-worked but badly-defended visitor attack lead to their equaliser.  Hartley was afforded far too much time to pick out an excellent cross which McCombe nodded to Haynes, who made no mistake with the finish.  As I noted above, a draw was probably fair on balance of play, but as we know from last week, a getting the equaliser feels a lot better than losing the lead to a late goal.

However, up to eighth in the table, eight games unbeaten – in a run which has seen us play some good teams in this league – I can’t say I’m unhappy with that situation!  In other news, Billy just missed out on Manager of the Month to Cardiff’s Dave Jones – who enjoyed a similarly successful October to us.  Hard luck Billy!  Kelv would be my pick for man of the match, with Wes a close second – both besmirched their performance by allowing the late goal though.