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!

17 Responses

  1. Said before the game that a draw would be a result for us and I still feel that way. Would’ve liked it to be more stylish but it was better than last year. The unbeaten run also speaks volumes of our progress. However, an odd formation so would love to hear views on Gunter and Chamber combination; didn’tlook right to me .

  2. nffc – another good report, as ever.

    An away draw is always well received and particularly at SUFC. My thoughts were that for the first 60 minutes we didn’t really look troubled and only really had difficulties when the Blades threw on Camara, who was lively and quick.

    Very unusually, Cohen looked a bit ‘out of sorts’ and unsurprisingly, Chambers was a bit ‘ring rusty’. This was balanced by Camp’s outstanding performance – especially in the 2nd Half.

    I would also comment that by comparison, the Blades team looked much older and presumably have much more experience. That said, there is a growing confidence and maturity about “The Reds” which I find really heartening to watch.

    Billy will soon complete his 1st year in charge – he should be congratulated at every opportunity.

    Promotion this year – I don’t really want it to happen as I had thought that it would be far too early, but, you just never know ……..!!!

  3. Good report nffc and SB good comments.I too wasnt convinced by the formation but an off day wich furnishes a point is huge progress.

    3 games in a week is tough on the legs and fans forget that , i would like to see the creative spark of lewis and madge used more when a draw looks likely

    Mckenna cant play every week nor cohen they will tire if that goes on.But huge credit to billy and the boys we are all right behind them.Tough game at the weekend.

    U reds.

  4. A point at their ground is a good result. We did not play well last night but we came a way with point!! I think that shows how far we have come. Going there is always hard and if it was not for campy it could have be a really bad night. He was fantastic, more than can be said for the old moaning gits in front of me (at the back right of the goal) moaned all the way through the game and got on everyone’s nerves. In the end someone did tell them to shut up, well done to that man. I think McCleary’s effort was goal bound at the end and only one of there defenders standing in the right place denied us a smash and grab. A point closer to second spot!!! you reds !!

  5. Definitely a point gained rather than lost by most accounts. Bit of a strange squad pick as I agree that Raddy or McGugan could probably of worked out well in the middle and Cohen on the left. With Anderson or McCleary the other side. It doesn’t seem to fit with Billy’s Square pegs round holes policy but I’m sure he had his reasons.

    Its good to see everyone not getting carried away especially with the last two results being so good. It feels like finally there is a realistic sense of expectation from the fans coupled with a real drive and commitment from the players/managerial team. Thats got to be a good combination.

  6. I dont mean to be too picky as we are on a great run and Saturday vs Leicester was as good as I’ve seen us play for years. However….

    I know its horses for courses but I think Lewis McGugan would have made a difference last night but he didnt even get on as sub again.

    He is such a good player and would have been desperate to get out there and show what he can do – like he did at Cardiff. Surely it wouldve made sense to play him rather than putting Gunter in right midfield?

    Without our 2 most creative players in Raddy and Lewis we were never going up there to win the game.
    I really hope Lewis gets a run out on Saturday. He is way too talented to be gathering splinters on the bench!

  7. Was Chambers picked to stifle some of the more “direct” play?
    An odd choice, imo. Nothing against Chambo, but if it means playing a rightback in midfield when we already have a proper winger on the bench….?

    I’m certainly not going to criticise the tactical decisions given our results the past couple of months, but either one of McGugan or Raddy need to be on the pitch. Otherwise our play is too obvious and easy to predict.
    One thing for certain though, if Lewis doesn’t get a run in the side I can see him looking for a move away, unfortunately. I sit behind the dugout and he doesn’t appear to be as interested or involved in the match as the other subs.

    As for the game last night, I reckon a point away is mostly good, but especially against oppo like them, so well done the Forest!

    • The pre-match talk on Forest Player seemed to suggest Cohen was played in the center to counter Sheff Utd’s height and a similiar story for Chambers.

  8. nffc
    been killing time youtubing, came across a little gem which I hadn’t seen before. No idea how to link stuff, but its titled “John Motson gets destroyed by Brian Clough – Interview”
    Its 9 minutes well worth watching

  9. Deeping

    Chambo at rb showed why we were constantly under pressure last season…..he distribution was abject. That side he was good in the air and needed to be cos that really all the had long diagonal balls to the far post.The combination didn’t work and Gunter spent most of the second half playing second right back.

    First half never really under pressure thanks to Chambo,Wes and Kelvin. Second half we rose to their level minus. Dire. No one got hold of the ball and all we did was hump it away to get it back in spades. They had lots of pressure and Campo made 4 great saves……but I never felt threatened…which was strange!

    Cohen had his worst game I’ve seen him play. Shorey had a mad 10 minutes when he was skinned by Walker….but Wes and Kelvin stayed true. Strangely at Easter I thought our performance in the circumstances was great….last nite they were there for the taking and we didn’t go for it?

    Still a point and on we go!

  10. Guys, Lewis wouldn’t look interested if his life depended on it and that is exactly why he is on the bench.

    Yes, he is supremely talented and yes, he deserves a chance, but relative to many of our squad; he is a kid – not physically, but mentally and he needs to mature very quickly if he isn’t going to get left behind!

  11. SB – I have been searching for the answer to the Lewis issue and I think you have hit the nail right on the head.
    He does need to mature mentally and I think that is what Billy & Co are attempting to do. He needs to realise his worth to the team has to be demonstarted over 90 mins and all week in training. Lewis would do well to look at Mckenna and follow his example.

    • Yes, he could learn a lot from McKenna, but also Ando and Perch.

      I went to a Forest event last year and spent some time with the players in particular, Julien Bennett. He was polite, courteous, interesting (and interested) and had real pride in what he was doing and who for.

      Lewis was at the same table and was completely the opposite, sullen, arrogant and uninterested. By comparison, Ando and Perch were also very polite and just good guys who happened to be very good at football.

      Lewis is without a doubt the most talented of them all, but (and its a big but) he will end up drifting down the leagues if he doesn’t change his attitude!

      He could almost be BD’s “John Robertson”!!

  12. SB your spot on about Lewis and his attitude lots of stories about his nite activities. However the comment

    He could almost be BD’s Robbo caused much mirth in the reginald household. He might be as good as Robbo’s right leg the one he stood on?

    🙂 😉

    • Very true, but no-one rated either of Robbo’s legs before BC got hold of him and he hadn’t broken into the 1st team, but was stuck in the reserves.


  13. True but he always had the talent. In the youth team all people did was give him the ball. But PT watched him and convinced BC that he was worth a go! The rest is history.

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