What a difference (less than) a year makes..

Lewis caps off a good day in the office from the Reds with a magnificent solo goal..

Nottingham Forest – 4
Doncaster Rovers – 1

It was an afternoon sullied by only a couple of things really, the fact that we couldn’t prevent the visiting side from scoring a consolation goal, and the dreadful ‘integration zone.’  This saw foam-hand toting fans of both Forest and Doncaster ensconced in the lower Brian Clough stand.  The foam hands cunningly double-sided bearing the emblems of both clubs.  I hate it.  It’s crass, it’s the kind of thing Derby do.

No more please, Reds.  As for the half time mascot ‘race’ with them both looking at each other throughout to make sure the result was a draw, well, it took an already shit idea and made it into a complete farce.  It might sound mean spirited of me, but for me football is about passion, about rivalry, about us versus them – it’s not about being a family fun day.

Anyway, rant over.  Having spent a pleasant time with Deepingred before the match we’d decided we were looking forward to the game, but felt uneasy at the idea of looking forward to it.  If that makes sense, you see, the vibes are pretty good at the moment – on a good run, Billy having been on the charm offensive with the fans, some favourites back from injury – and opponents who, bogey-side aside, we should be able to beat.

It would seem that confidence is still not something that sits naturally with us grizzled Forest fans, especially as we approach December – traditionally the start of our traditional deep-winter slump in form.  There were, of course, to be no real worries on that score today.  Last time Doncaster visited us they did us a favour, they beat us and got Smoulderwood sacked!  Today we lined up with:

Gunter   Morgan   Wilson   Shorey
McCleary   McKenna   Majewski   Anderson
Blackstock   Earnshaw

A very positive line-up, which pleased most of the fans around us, and yet further options on the bench.  It was looking promising, except really there wasn’t much progress made in the first ten minutes.  Forest laboured to keep the ball as Doncaster worked hard to close down everyone quickly.  The visitors showed glimpses of the passing game they’re known for, and indeed, the end-product they’re known for too (ie, not much of one!).

Earnie was looking lively and tried to create chances for Blackstock and McCleary, both of whom were dealt with ably by the Rovers defence.  However, it wasn’t long to wait.  “We never score from corners” I said, tongue in cheek to a neighbour, as Raddy hit a decent ball into the box, Gunter headed goalwards but it was cleared where Anderson kept it in at a narrow angle, he drilled the ball into the danger area which picked up a deflection into the net from Roberts.

In the first half though Forest were content to let Rovers have the ball quite a bit – they weren’t always penetrative with their possession but did cause a few hearts to flutter when Blackstock had to be on hand to block an effort, and then Gunter the follow-up from Coppinger at the expense of a corner.  At the other end Earnie dummied and span well in the area but wasn’t able to beat Sullivan at his near post from an angle.

The always dangerous but frequently offside Billy Sharp probably should have done better when Shields found him but the former-Blades striker could only drag his shot wide.  Right before half time McCleary did well down the left, I was waiting for a cross to Anderson on the far post but he cleverly picked out the onrushing Majewski whose left-footed volley went over.  Would’ve been some goal, that!

So half time came and there was that familiar feeling of cautious content amongst the Reds fans.  Certainly nobody felt the game was won, however given Billy’s words at half time often having a positive impact the second half was awaited with some degree of eagerness.  The less said about the poxy mascot race the better, frankly… or have I mentioned that already?

Forest came out the blocks faster in the second half – Gunter, my man of the match, was doing sterling work getting forward to overlap and it seemed to work better now McCleary had switched to the right wing.  He put in a dangerous ball early doors which almost gave the Reds another goal by means of own-goal as Hird sliced his attempted clearance but for a corner, fortunately for him.

It was thirteen minutes into the half which saw the Reds double their lead – a corner again, Majewski again, this time it needed no scramble – Wes Morgan rose magnificently at the far post to plant a towering header into the Trent End goal to rapturous celebrations from fans and players alike.  I don’t think anyone does ‘happy when I’ve scored’ quite like Wes in the Forest squad, it’s brilliant!

The Reds began to look comfortable now, winning the 50:50’s and passing with much more ease and style than they’d managed previously as Rovers heads were starting to drop.  However, this phase didn’t last and the visitors did rally with a quick sequence of three chances – any of which could have changed the dynamic of the game had they been converted.  Sheils dragged a shot wide, Sharp missed with a header from an Oster cross and another shot ended up wide.

As the visitors focused their energy on attacking Forest were able to hit them on the break, Majewski had the ball on the edge of the box and looked set to shape up for a left-footed shot but instead dinked a delightful throughball to Earnie, who made no mistake at all in finding the bottom corner of the net for his second goal in two games – this time the obligatory Earnie somersault happening infront of the Trent End as relief flooded the City Ground that the points were in the bag.

It was only a couple of minutes later when recently-added substitute Lewis McGugan capped off the game for Forest with a fantastic goal.  His first touch was to control the ball on the run, his second lashed it into the goal from a nigh-on impossible looking angle.  It was literally breathtaking as I found myself stood up and unable to cheer, seriously, it was a good goal!  Rovers had just taken off Sullivan presumably due to injury, so I felt a bit sorry for their sub keeper.

Dele had also been introduced for Dex, McGugan replacing Majewski, the last sub was McGoldrick for Earnie.  The blip happened from a corner, well taken but we should have been able to deal with Billy Sharp who headed in well to give the visitors a consolation – and make Lee Camp go mental.  Understandable really – it was probably the only serious on-target threat on goal he’d faced all afternoon so his frustration is understandable.

McGoldrick could’ve made it five as he tried to prod the ball past Ben Smith whilst I thought he was being fouled, he should’ve probably gone to ground – but at the end of the day we didn’t really desperately need the extra goal – but well, it’s nice to get ’em isn’t it?  Full time came, and we’re up to fourth at least until we know how Cardiff and Blackpool get on in their games in hand.

As I said above, plenty of good performances throughout but I’d give man of the match to Gunter who not only defended stoutly but provided real threat going forward too.  McCleary also had an excellent second half, and well, everyone had a good game – which is always a bonus!  Well done Billy and the boys, another great weekend’s work!

Generally games against Leicester tend to have a fairly one-sided level of excitement, but with them dropping a couple of points today it gives us the opportunity next weekend of elevating ourselves above them in the table.  Certainly whilst I struggle to see them as local rivals, I certainly see them as rivals for where we’d like to be in the league – and on that level this will be a potentially fascinating fixture.  Can’t wait.  Cautiously, of course.

32 Responses

  1. The best bit of the mascot race was Donny Dog getting hit on the back of the head by a Lewis McGugan shot.

  2. I love the headline nffc, but then I would, wouldn’t I?

    Really enjoyed today’s game and thought that McGugan’s goal was just magnificent – he is such a talent, I only hope that Billy can make him knuckle down and win the chance to display his skills every week.

    So, there we are in 4th – can’t believe the two guys who “tweeted” to comment that by Monday we may be 6th because of other teams games in hand – is there really no pleasing some people.

    6 wins and 4 draws in 10 games – the sort of run that we have been dreaming of for years!

    Well done to Billy, the players and everyone associated with Nottingham Forest – and I guess that includes us as well!

    U Reds!

  3. Nice to see us scoring more than 1 goal !
    lets hope they all get a taste for it and continue next week. Leicester seems to have draw written over it but I shall remain optimistic about another win,particularly with Tyson and Cohen available next week too !!!!!

  4. I think we’ve played better this season and not scored as many goals. Its a funny old game!

    Gunts played well but I had McKenna as my MOTM despite some wayward passing he really owns the middle of the park and nags, cajoles and encourages every player in Red on the park. A true leader!

    According to BD, Tys might be fit for next week so as a squad we are nearing full strength again. The thought of Cohen, who can spot a pass, returning to midfield, is a mouth water prospect too.

    As for intergrated supporters, Im with you NFFC , not a thing I want to see repeated. Football is a tribal game game – always has been always will be – so dont p*ss about with tradition!

    • Don’t forget that whatever Billy says to the press is bullsh!t. I can’t imagine Tys will be back next week. He’s just not the sort of player you can throw straight back in without some game time in the reserves, especially after a hamstring injury.

  5. Superb result we are starting to look the part and momentum is building.I fancy us against any side in this division now we have good players and briliant team spirit .Billy credit to him has insatalled backbone in

  6. Not particularly worried about getting rid of segregation in itself – it only goes back to the early seventies or so anyway, and nobody’s telling me football wasn’t tribal before violence became tediously routine – but the plastic Disneyfied football experience stuff is certainly something we could do without. You can see its attraction for a huge entertainment corporation, sorry, football club, like Man Utd, where the once-a-year or once-a-lifetime punters are prime fodder for the overpriced tat in the club megastore, but with the best will in the world that’s not going to be a significant factor here, at least until our third European Cup win in 2012. And T block is too far from the club shop anyway.

  7. Come on Albert, let’s keep it realistic. 2013, for sure!

  8. So who would you leave out of the squad for Tyson, Cohen and Moussi if they are all fit next week?! BD has some very tough decisions coming up.

    NFFC – Dont be too quick to completely dismiss the integrated fans section. Fair enough the hands and mascot stuff may be a bit OTT but Id like to hear what any fans that took advantage of it thought of it first.

  9. A fair report as ever and I agree with your MoM but but yet again thought Kelv was immense at the back too. Whilst clearly lacking match fitness it was also good to see many positive points from Shorey. Another big positive was how sharp Earnie looked. All in all a top result and very nice to meet you nffc too before the game. Also big thanks to everyone else who dropped of packages and goodies for the troops on ops before the game. Just about warmed up after standing in the car park for 5 hrs before kick-off. TGF Bovril. 🙂

  10. I must say you write really well “NFFC”. Always really impressed. How the hell do you remember the whole game though, do you take a note book?

    • Thanks very much. I don’t remember the whole game as such, I tend to remind myself using other match reports – it soon jogs the memory.

      Really lots more happened than I comment on – I missed the part when Shorey was faced with three Donny players and positioned himself perfectly to force them out wide and limit their opportunity to threaten us..

  11. 3:05 am nffc! That’s one hell of a late night! I don’t blame you though!!

  12. For the record, let me say, it’s currently 2:27 am, gmt. F**king awesome win!!

  13. Great comments!!.
    Can’t wait for saturday !!!!!!!!

  14. Excellant report as always. I have just watch the highlights on the BBC The football league show (Forest shown at around 32 minutes into the show)

    Very impressed with the performance.

    What a difference a year makes is a brillant title for this article. For once I am looking forward to December as a Forest supporter and the posible new arrivals in Jan 2010.

  15. For Derby to lose one quality manager was foolish, but to lose two to their hated local rivals is absolutely fantastic: you Reds!!
    Keep the juggernaut a rolling Billy & Forest fans please ENJOY the manager & the team he’s put together these are GOOD times & they’re going to keep on rolling with Bily @ the helm.

  16. First class report again NFFC,yet another first class performance by the team,Donny came out and tried to win the game ,unlike a lot of teams when playing the mighty REDS.Come May i really think Billy will take us back to the PREM,people who say its to early so what lets give it a try,i sure the chairman will welcome the sky millions,a word on the family fun day what about giving everyone a rafflle ticket ,then the away fans draw one out ,if your ticket is drawn you get to take the fan home for a sleep over and sunday lunch……..

  17. So I don’t get a mention then? In terms of talking to you before the game? I’m off to sulk…..

    Great report though.


  18. thought gunter was awesome, MOM performance and getting better each week……..interested to know where everybody who comments on the best site on the net sits at the city ground ? i’m a bridgeford upper U1 just far enough away from the singing youngsters.

    • seanyboy, I’m in Bridgeford Upper U2; ideally positioned near the top of one of the stairs for a fast exit on the final whistle for the journey home to Crewe!

  19. I didn’t see much of the match because I was so busy cringing at the site of the intergrated fans happy clapping and waving them foam hands. I’m glad you see it my way as well NFFC, keep the fans seperate and don’t turn the City Ground into Pride Park; full of soccer mums with bags full of freebies with the club crest on it watching family entertainment.

    Football is a way of life, not a family fun day.

  20. First half was mediocre at best. The problem was obvious – Majewski wasn’t in the game. It was all happening around him and not through him. What a difference in the second half!! He ran the show. Wasn’t MoM wich would be close between Gunter and McCleary with my vote going to the latter.

    Stunning, stunning goal from Lewis.

    Onwards and upwards!! U REDS!!

  21. nffc

    Thanks for that.

    Magic was betta in the second half but when he has the ball things happen. My MOTM would be Kelvin he has been simply awsome of late.

    First half I thought Ando was their best player that run backways for 70 yards was truly funny…at one stage I thought he was going to shoot.

    But as radgie said Mcleary was great in the second half his link ups with Gunter were brilliant.

  22. I agree with egor the red my man of the match was McKenna, what energy just what we have needed for years and a influential captain as well
    Shorey after a nervous start had a really good 2nd half, a different full back to Cohen who is all reaction and work rate, Shorey positions himself well and reads the game, different not necessarily better
    What was wrong with Moussi, was he injured, if so i must have missed that news.
    This side entertains us, the paying public, especially in the second halves. As the man said at the ‘Approach’
    (audience with Billy) great half time team talks but who does the pre match one, a bit harsh i thought but all said as a joke. How the times have changed, keep it up Billy i am really enjoying it, so much i almost cannot think of anything to moan about Mark Arthur, i must be going soft

  23. Beeston Red

    Moussi was injured and likely to be available for the Lesta game.

  24. From where I was sat it had to be Majewski as MOTM (although I agree that Gunter and Casual Kelv were both brilliant).

    McKenna does the “directing traffic” thing very well, I just wish he could pass better – but I suppose that is what Madge does – there were at least three amazing passes that he made that seemed to fool everyone, including those of us high up in the stands (and the third of them led to little Robbie Earnshaw’s goal 🙂

  25. Its saying something when several of the team were motm for most of the fans…

  26. […] from the obvious pleasure in abusing Jeremy Clarkson, but perhaps the highlight of the month was a City Ground dismantling of Doncaster Rovers, our tormentors on Boxing Day 2008 (ultimately the game that lost Smoulderwood his […]

  27. […] to complete most of the tasks and it took an age, it was worse than the awful mascot race in the Doncaster game.  And the public address system was so loud it was impossible to hold a conversation in the stands […]

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