We’re Nottingham Forest, unbeaten away..

Robbie Earnshaw is a red, is a red, is a red...

This was the definition of a game of two halves from Forest, a pretty poor quality first half in which an early goal gifted to Middlesbrough caused our hosts to play a pretty calculated game throughout.  The second half belonged to the Reds and certainly on balance of chances, whilst I’m pleased with a draw I think there’s an argument for suggesting that Forest did enough to feel they could’ve claimed all three points at the Riverside.

Less than two minutes were on the clock when a catalogue of errors involving our appalling marking meant that Adam Johnson was free on the left, he eventually found the equally badly marked Julio Arca on the right side.  His shot was saved by Camp – who I think should be either catching it or palming it somewhere safer – straight out to Lita who had no trouble at all finding the net.  Luckily I think that was the last save Camp had to make!

Forest were having immense difficulty holding on to the ball, and both the quality of passing and awareness of players that a bad pass could still reach them if they moved to the ball a bit was getting very frustrating.  The referee wasn’t helping, he’d booked Paul McKenna for a fairly run-of-the-mill foul and then ignored a series of other transgressions.  But referee aside Forest were mostly architects of their own downfall as Boro closed down everyone very quickly and we just didn’t cope with it.

The Moose had our first chance of the game, good work from Anderson found the midfielder with space to shoot – forcing a straightforward save from Brad Jones.  Twenty minutes of dreary football passed from both teams, before Joe Garner played McGoldrick – he turned, but the ball had run quite far.  We’ll never know whether he’d have got there because the Boro defender wrestled him to the ground.  Of course, the referee didn’t give a foul (and it was hard to see clearly from our end anyway, but naturally it was a stonewall penalty according to the angry man next to me!).

Our best chance of the half came at the end when Dele – who to be frank had an inauspicious half along with most of his teammates – won the ball well and turned into the area.  I think he should’ve shot himself, but he played a great ball in to McGoldrick putting him one-on-one, but his dithering and poor attempt at a sidestep gave Jones – and excellent goalkeeper – all the time he needed to work out his intentions and make a good save.

Despite playing mostly very badly, Forest had actually had more attempts on goal than the hosts – but with Adebola and McGoldrick not really clicking (Dele was winning plenty in the air, but Goldie was too far from him to profit from his flick ons and layoffs) it just wasn’t quite clicking.  The only pace in the side was Anderson – so I was hoping for some half time changes which were not to come.

What was entertaining was seeing Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond take to the Boro pitch in Newcastle shirts at half time.  They quickly changed into Boro shirts and announced an exhibition they’d organised at the MIMA.  Clarkson ending with “Nottingham, you can’t come!” to which the large Reds following responded with an almighty and extended bellow of “YOU FAT BASTARD”.  The curly-haired one didn’t really twig until a gleeful looking Richard Hammond pointed it out to him.  Good fun!

Forest came out the blocks fast in the second half, no changes but certainly a more determined team!  Joe Garner had a shot early in the half which he and the away end saw hit the defenders hand in the area, of course, the referee didn’t see it!  Dele had a header on target but it wasn’t difficult as it waws straight at Jones.  Garner had another effort from range which was just wide thanks to a deflection which gave us a corner.

Boro did had a break or two which didn’t culminate in any direct threat on our goal – and Forest were back on it, and we had another one-on-one with Anderson bursthing through on the left.  Ah, on the left.  He took one too many touches and again did a lot of Jones’ work for him who made the save with Anderson finally shooting from six yards.  It was starting to feel like the goal would never come!

Just thirteen minutes into the half the chants of the Forest fans were answered with Robbie Earnshaw taking the field in the place of McGoldrick, shortly after the hard-working-but-clearly-not-a-winger Joe Garner was taken off for McCleary.  Earnie was immediately buzzing around all over the place getting involved.  His chance finally came when the referee finally deigned to see a handball by a Middlesbrough defender, this time Wheater.

Unfortunately for us it was just outside the area – unfortunately for Boro, Jones set his wall up for a far-post freekick (which makes sense in a way, it was so close to dig it over the wall and under the bar would take some skill).  Fortunately Earnie has that skill – and dinked a lovely freekick over the wall and inside Jones’ near post where he couldn’t reach it.  He rushed off to the dugouts to somersault rather than the Forest end, which was interesting!

Dex replaced Dele with ten minutes left to rapturous applause from the Forest fans, and the boys picked up where they’d been playing and continued to press – Dex certainly didn’t show any signs of the injury he’s been recovering from, putting in a lot of running and defending from the front as well as seeking attacking opportunities.  Despite some pressure though, the Boro defence stayed solid aside from a deflected McCleary shot which made it into a simple catch for Jones.

Got to be happy with a point away from home at Boro, but we had enough chances to make it all three – not least by preventing the eminently preventable opening goal.  Good trip though, great to see the Red Army out in force – I wonder if we’ll get a mention on Top Gear any time soon?

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17 Responses

  1. Here’s a fan-recorded vid of the goal – captures the moment quite well!

  2. And another…

  3. I know an unbeaten away record is pretty impressive and I’m following from a distance (Australia) … but I find some of his selections hard to understand, and think we could be taking some of these games if Davies was a bit more positive.

    Adebola + Garner, no maj. (why is he so reluctant to play him away) … it’s not hard to see why we might have trouble holding the ball or create much going forward.

    Bit glib but unbeaten sounds good but 4 draws in the last 4 games is no better in terms of points than a win, a draw and 2 losses. I think I’m right in saying forest have only scored more than 1 goal twice all season.

    Don’t get me wrong. Very happen with the direction and Davies management. But I was pleasantly surprised by the quality I saw in the two games I’ve seen (newcastle and cardiff) andI just feel he’s a bit rigid with the way he sets out side up away from home and we could be turning some of these draws into wins.

    • You’re right, it is a bit glib criticising decisions you haven’t even witnessed.

    • Maj was left out as he was on International Duty. At least this time he had a good reason.

  4. Great support yesterday and a fantastic goal by Earnshaw. i really felt we should have won considering the amount of chances we had as well as the fact that they were a really poor team. I must admit though i am a little concerned that we are not scoring a lot and we only have 4 points from 4 games. However they were four tough games and 3 were away. So lets hope we can get six points from the next two at home. I would liked to have seen raddy and mcgugan at some time yesterday but never mind. One negative from yesterdays game was anderson, everytime he got the ball he wanted to cut inside, with his speed he had several opportunities to knock it and run. Overall the freekick and being able to sing “unbeaten away” all they way back to the car made it a pretty good day. I think we are really close to being the best team in this league. my team would be Camp, Gunter, Chambers, Morgan, Cohen, Mckenna Raddy McGugan Tyson Earnie Blackstock.

  5. My first ‘live’ match of the season. First half saw me having a ‘loyalty vs quality’ debate with myself as I get free tickets for the Stadium of Light – and this week Arsenal were the visitors.

    Of course ‘loyalty’ won out – as it always should – and I was rewarded in the second half.

    Agree with your comments re match – Forest were always going to be better second half, but Boro didn’t show anything at all. Even in the first half Forest played more like they were the home team.

    One thing I would add as food for thought. I watched the game from high up in the stand to the Red’s supporters’ right, and as is my habit I don’t always follow the ball for 100% of the time. My input is this:

    Yes I would agree ‘some’ players [fans can take their pick based on their own opinions] didn’t get involved on the ball too much, but they did all contribute to the ‘team’ without necessarily contributing on the ball [eg runs off the ball, tracking back].

    I also wonder if this ‘workrate’ is part of the Davies plan – allowing ‘impact players’ [hate that phrase] to change the game later on – as do changes in formation/tactics?

    Just my thoughts.

    Oh yes, a bit of local knowledge : the Top Gear crew came out in Hartlepool shirts. And I thought Clarkson said ‘Nottingham, you’re rubbish’. He’s a wag isn’t he?

    • Are you sure, mate? I’m sure these badboys are Newcastle shirts:

      🙂

      • I am standing very corrected.

        I thought they were blue stripes.

        The funny thing is that for both Newcastle and Sunderland [which is closer] matches vs Boro are not considered ‘real’ derbies [think reds v leicester], yet Boro hype them up ‘cos they have no real local opposition – except Hartlepool, hence my assumption re the shirts.

  6. Need to be taking points away from very average teams like Boro, no offence Boro but it’s easy to see why they got relegated isn’t it? very negative. Still, the run goes on. 3 points from Donny then

  7. The Top Gear half time incident 🙂

  8. Lewis McGugan is way too good a player to be sitting getting splinters in his bum. First he gets called too fat and then he can’t get a game. I hope Billy brings him back in soon before he starts demanding a move away.

    • McGugan is potentially a very good player, but who would you currently ‘drop’ for him to play?

      • Yesterday I think there was an argument to have him on instead of McGoldrick. Not sure that would work with Dele upfront on his own though.

  9. Lewis is a very talented individual. However, rightly he got called fat because quite simply he was overweight. This for a professional footballer is almost unforgivable; & perhaps gives you an idea why he’s been benched. Unfortunately, it also gives you an idea of his mindset & why Billy needed to kick his arse to hopefully enjoy a career as a PROFESSIONAL footballer. Talent alone is not enough to warrant you a first team start!!
    Undoubtedly, Billy does set his team up overly cautious away from home. But we’ve already come a long way in a very short period of time, so lets not think we’ve cracked it yet. Be patient, since in time we will begin to impose our game on our opponents; but while I feel as though we’re not ready yet, we will be shortly….

    YOU REDS!!

  10. I was at the match what a great turn out and we were in great voice.We were shocking first half and had no edge or penetration.

    I just dont rate goldie or adebola together they looked clueless.Credit to the boys and earnie we should have won in the second half we pounded them good point though away.

    Robbie Earnshaw is a red is a red is a red
    Robbie Earnshaw is a red he hates derby.

    U reds

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