Unbeaten run intact as Reds hold on for a point..

Camp times his first clean sheet in a while perfectly with a point-saving performance

Sheffield United – 0
Nottingham Forest – 0

Not our most convincing performance of the season, but another point on the board and our unbeaten assorted records intact, which I’m content with!  Cardiff’s excellent win at West Brom puts us a point closer to the Baggies, however with the Bluebirds now ahead of us by virtue of their superior goal difference.  I can live with that, their goal difference is by virtue of giving Derby a good shoeing!

A cold and rainy night in Sheffield is never really want you want, and to compound matters it turned out that our figurehead was at home suffering with a virus.  Ned Kelly took the helm and presumably under Billy’s direction (he was fit enough to take training yesterday) they came up with an interesting shuffle of the pack which few would have predicted.

Chambers   Morgan   Wilson    Shorey
Gunter   Cohen   McKenna   Anderson
Blackstock   Earnshaw

A scrappy start saw the Reds struggle to really make much headway, Earnie found the ball near the edge of the box but was crowded out, Dex was found well by Morgan but couldn’t hit the target.  In fairness, the home side were equally slow to get started in this game – and there was a lot of wasted possession from both sides.

Really chances were fairly limited to long range efforts from Evans for the Blades – straight at Lee Camp, and towards the end of the half from Andy Taylor.  Given the veritable essay for the game against Leicester – I think this match report is going to be somewhat shorter, as highlights in this match were less abundant and inspiring.  Could be worse, though, our weekend’s opponents got another sound beating this time from Bristol City.

The second half saw the Reds play with some degree of purpose, although as we saw a lot earlier in the season turning possession into meaningful chances was proving tricky for the Reds.  Perhaps with that in mind McCleary was brought on for Anderson.  Shortly after this Earnie’s deadly finishing of the weekend wasn’t quite calibrated as he put a chance wide after good work from Blackstock.

Sheffield United were starting to look more threatening though, and were breaking quickly – and Reds keeper Lee Camp has perhaps had his first busy game in a while, making a diving save to deny Jamie Ward to head in from 7 yards – with Kelvin on hand to clear the danger as the ball ended up back in play.  Shortly after he was diving again to deny Quinn from diverting an off-target effort into the net.

As Forest shrank back into a more overtly defensive formation the home side continued to press, Camp was again agile enough to prevent Camara from breaking the deadlock with a shot through bodies which would’ve made the visibility a nightmare for him, so well done Camp!  With a little under twenty minutes on the clock Blackstock was withdrawn for Adebola.

A rare Reds foray forward was halted when Walker decided to haul back McCleary – Cohen took the resulting freekick which Earnie looked to have profited from but for the intervention of Chris Morgan for the home side.  It was a short respite, at the other end Camp made a double-save first from Camara and then Quinn’s effort from the rebound.

Moments later the Reds keeper was smothering the ball at the feet of Kilgallon who had made a bursting run from defence to try to break the Forest resolve.  The final substitution was Nathan Tyson on for Earnshaw, with a painful amount of stoppage time Forest finally exerted some of their own pressure – but were unable to complete what would’ve been a smash and grab with a quick break and the resulting corner.

All in all, the performance wasn’t great – but a point away is good enough for me, definitely a bit of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ given the calibre of the Reds’ performance at the weekend – however, if we can have a slight off-day in terms of performance-levels and yet still pick up a point somewhere like Bramall Lane then I don’t think we can have too much to be complaining about!