Reds pay the penalty – ANOTHER trip to the West Midlands..

Robbie Earnshaw is a red, but don't let him take penalties any more!

Nottingham Forest – 0
Birmingham City – 0

A fine advert for Championship football was how my even-more-cynical-than-me neighbour described the game.  Whilst the nil nil scoreline makes a game sound dull, this was open and eventful with chances for both sides – with the Reds perhaps left ruing both missed chances, good saves and inaccurate final balls.  On this afternoon’s showing, there’s not that much of a gap between the top flight and our league.

Having said that, the Reds had an off-day in some departments – and I’m sure Birmingham fans will think the same of their own side.  It was a generous game from both teams in terms of giving the ball away, but a first half performance should have seen Forest leading, a second half which saw Earnie miss another ridiculous chipped penalty and Hart save well – all in all, heartening, and disappointing all at once.

A few changes by Billy – particularly at the back, partially driven by Shorey’s ineligibility to play in this competition – and a big welcome back to James Perch, saw Forest line up like this:

Camp
Perch   Morgan    Chambers    Gunter
Cohen    McKenna    Majewski    Anderson
Blackstock    Earnshaw

That should help any reading Birmingham fans, who insisted on shouting “WHO!?” every time a Forest player was announced.  You’ll have to forgive the unknown players we have, what with your squad of Galacticos!  In fact, the day-tripper element gets on my nerves on third round day – the bloke behind me spent all game slagging off Morgan, and presumably the extra couple of thousand City fans are the folks who can’t get tickets to their regular away league games.

Having gotten into the ground uncharacteristically early, I was informed by a couple of such day-trippers in the away end that “We hate Villa more than you” – hmm, well, I don’t hate Villa at all, and I’m sure you do – so yes, I’m sure that’s true.  Thanks for the update.  Oh, hang on, you mean that you hate Villa more than you hate us?  Okay, thanks for that!  Once the away end filled though it became a bit more bearable and the travelling fans did make some noise.

So, the match – I wanted to either win this, or go out with a valiant performance and avoid a further distraction of a replay.  So not the best outcome – however, we did put in a performance, and against a side who – regardless of how poor they were today – are unbeaten in 11 in the top flight, that’s got to be good news in the context of what I still consider to be an unexpected push for promotion.

The first chance fell to Dex, he was to the right of the goal at a tight angle on his right foot and hit it firmly.   Into the side-netting.  Earnie was screeching for the ball in the six yard box but I think the City defenders had that pretty well covered, so the shot was probably the only option for Dex.  Shortly after Earnie had a chance to shoot, going for a lobbed effort which Hart needed to dive for.

At the other end Wes blocked from Lee Carsley, taking out the midfielder at the same time.  In an increasingly end-to-end game Gunter found Cohen whose cut-back across the box evaded his teammates in what was to prove a frustrating afternoon of final balls not quite reaching their intended targets.  In this instance it set up a Birmingham counter-attack which culminated in a decent shot from Cameron Jerome from range – with Camp making the save.

Earnie wriggled into a shooting position on the edge of the D again, but his shot was pretty much bread and butter for Hart in the Birmingham goal.  The visitors were largely restricted to long-range efforts – the next came from Kevin Phillips but he was thwarted by a smart save from Camp.  Carsley in the mean time was off injured and eventually replaced by Lee Bowyer with Forest unable to take advantage of temporarily being one man up.

Anderson lead a good break for the Reds down the left, his shot ricocheted off a Birmingham defender falling – just as you’d hope really – for Raddy Majewski who struck the ball well, but unfortunately for us straight at Hart.  Less auspicious though was his atrocious attempt to keep a ball in play, gifting us an amusing corner – from which we came closest to breaking the deadlock.

Majewski put the corner in to the near post where Luke Chambers glanced it goalward, only to see it strike the underside of the bar, hit the deck and bounce to almost-safety.  A bit of scrambling about afterwards didn’t ever get it particularly goalward – and that was pretty much half-time.  A solid showing from Forest and – as Billy said post-match – a half in which we should’ve been more clinical with both passing and shooting.

The second half started with a chance for the visitors – Camp needed to be alert to keep the ball away from the lurking Jerome.  The Reds still had fire in the belly though – Dex broke from the half way line and teed up Cohen who was in an excellent position – unfortunately it fell for his right foot and the effort was straight at Hart who was again well positioned to make a solid save.

The Reds started to build the pressure up – and eventually were gifted the softest penalty ever as Vignal, for reasons only he’ll understand, bundled over Anderson who was heading away from goal.  Up stepped Earnie, memories of West Brom came flooding back – and were depressingly relived as the striker ambled up to the ball and deftly chipped it into the Trent End.  Awful.  He should be fined for doing that, having already done it once this season!

That said, it clearly fired up the wee fella – he did really well down the left and looked to have given himself the perfect chance to make amends but for an excellent save from Hart – probably the first challenging one he had to make.  But the visitors were still dangerous on the counter – Phillips unleashed a terrific strike from 30 odd yards which beat Camp and struck the post – going out for a goal kick.

On another break Camp had to look alive to block point-blank at the feet of Kevin Phillips – the ball cannoned out to substitute Gary McSheffrey who spannered it into the Birmingham fans with the un-manned goal gaping infront of him.  Late on Raddy almost created a chance for Tys but his firm cross evaded him, and despite some good passing in the final moments, the Reds weren’t able to break down the Blues for another chance.

All in all, very happy with the performance – to have re-jigged our back-four so much but for them to still put in a settled performance like that is very heartening.  I thought Perch played really well considering how long he’s been out, and Gunter did well at left back.  Admittedly Birmingham don’t really do much by way of wing-play so perhaps it was a good day for that particular experiment.

I had wanted to avoid a replay but must admit I would’ve been gutted if we’d lost having put in such a decent performance.  On another day when our passing is crisp and finishing deadly we could’ve put this to bed before half time – but, as I noted above, I imagine the Birmingham fans are probably feeling the same way in regard to their on-the-day performance.

It could be worse though, we could have been held to a replay by Millwall!  As it stands, we have a trip to St Andrews on Tuesday 12th January to contend with, tickets are priced at £20 by the looks of it.  We have the small matter of another trip to the West Midlands to worry about before that, thought.  Bring on the Baggies!

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21 Responses

  1. I would of thought we would of learnt are lesson after earnshaw and the west brom game.

  2. I feel the same nffc we should have put them too the sword and by a couple of goals aswell.But thats the step up we need to make clinical finishing is what will make us take that step.

    But i am loving the fact we more than matched them in every area.Bring on the last 22 games.

    U reds

  3. Bottom-line, forget the scoreline. This was s positive performance and we more than held our own. We dominated for large parts and should’ve beaten a team that have proven themselves difficult to beat by the top flight. Take heart in that and that we are looking better and better. Not the finished article but the trend is good and even today I had a smile on my face!!

    I also chose to sit in the Upper Cloughie as a change from my normal Season Ticket spot in the Trent End. Great view but the atmosphere (lack of), the negativity and non-stop moaning were pathetic. First whinge started 30 secs into the game and went throughout the game. Most pathetic has to be the bloke to my right who bemoaned Magic ( who was rightly MoM after a superb showing) as someone who was unable to pass the ball after he put one ( just one) 5 yards behind Gunter. Equally pathetic was the chap shouting that Earnie couldn’t score in a brothel. The team were a credit – these lot were a disgrace and I suspect many were season ticket holders – shocking so back to the TE for me!!

  4. I hope Earnie has learnt now and the rest will practice penalties.
    A hard accurate blast into one of the top corners virtually guarantees a goal,even if the keeper gets a hand to it.
    I´m sure Earnie will do everything he can to make amends in the replay.
    At least we have an extra days rest and Brum will drain themselves trying to beat Man U…but of course for us the important match is getting back the 3 points the baggies nicked from us here.
    Come on U REDS !!!!

  5. absolutley played brum off the park , but if i’m totally honest we need to buy a TOP DRAWER STRIKER. the ones we have at the moment are not really good enough in my opinion. a left back a midfielder and another central defender. but sadly this won’t happen as i said previously

  6. Deeping Red; As a BC season ticket-holder I would suggest that perhaps a large number of non-season ticket holders chose to sit in the stand yesterday as I must admit I did note more ill-informed opinion than is normal… Anyway lets face it we’re a moaning bunch anyway & most Reds fans are of the glass half-empty brigade.
    Indeed, I thought the attendance was particularly poor due to the quality of footy we now play & the fact it was the chance to see a Premier league team (albeit not the glamorous of opposition). Come on Nottingham shake off the apathy, this Reds team certainly deserves the backing of a large home support. Would exempt our away support from any criticism since they have been loyal to a fault over the last few years. NOTTINGHAM- We really have got a team to be proud so after the shite we’ve had to stomach over the last few years, enjoy it you miserable buggers!!

    • Graham. It was not a knock at the BC per se as I know there are plenty of knowledgable fans in there and to be sure, there are plenty of numpties in the TE, but not in the same number as I witnessed yesterday. It looked like a mix of both season ticket holders and part-timers and I accept that there were more of the latter yesterday.

      I also agree the ‘half-glass’ mentality of Forest Fans; it is historic and something that has bugged me for years. To be honest, I have done my fair share of maoning during the dark days of the last few years but I was shocked at the level of it yesterday when other than score, I thought we were excellent. Totally agree the point on away fans – I don’t go to that many but those that I do are always top drawer. However, this has been the case for years and probably is true of most teams away support.

      We have to remember that most of the players are young guys who will make mistakes but they need boosting not bemoaning when they bugger up, provided they learn (Earne take note), not pilloriing. Football is not a precise science, you get good days and bad days and those of us that have played competitive sport at any level will know that somedays it just ain’t going to happen no matter what you do. Right now we have the making of something special and it just irks me when the knockers kick off with the negative comments and no doubt they are the first to boo the boys (another pet hate of mine).

      Come on be proud of this team. Support even louder and harder when it is going wrong it will lift the lads just like it did in the last 15mins against Direby!!!!!!

      • Well said you two. There have been too many games over the last ten years that have made me think we must have collectively the worst home fans in the country. Even when the football IS shocking, you would have to be pretty stupid to think that telling a 20 year old he’s rubbish every week will improve his confidence.

        Here’s to the real supporters, and to another performance to be proud of. Happy New Year.

  7. It’s all old men in the BC upper and lower. Most times i have sat up there, they have moaned about every single little thing. B BLOCK 🙂

  8. Highlights are here, that was one hell of a save from Earnie by Hart.

  9. Nffc,Thanks for those highlights!!.
    Living abroad we can´t see this programme so Many Thanks !!!!!
    It´s nice to hear those comments ! Alan

  10. away at everton if we can get past brum!

  11. I think we were great value yesterday.
    Just a comment on the fans…we had a couple of moaning tossers behind us. Perch, considering the lack of match practice, had a great game. And also bear in mind Cohen appeared to drift infield for the first half an hour it left Perch very exposed which he did well to cope with. Well, after 40 minutes he fluffed a pass. Two guys behind me were furious. “Bloody useless” “Billy, get him off” Perch, sort it out” were just 3 things they screamed out. Now, we sit almost directly behind the dugout, and Perch must have heard every word.
    It bloody amazes me that some of our fans are so blinkered and clueless.
    I just hope that these p***ks are one match wonders, cos I can see me falling out with them if that sort of thing carries on.
    Moan over!

  12. As someone who sits in the BE Upper and would probably rank as one of the “old men” referred to, I understand why the above comments are being made, BUT, if you think it was bad on Saturday – you should have been there 1, 2 or 5 years ago!!

    I can’t stand the moaners either, but I just love my seat!!

    U Reds!!

  13. SB – now in my late forties rest assured I was there 1, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20….30 years ago. Hooked since being taken in about 1970. As Graham says we’ve always been a glass half empty bunch but after the sh1te we have had over the last few years I guess I expected wrongly that people would relish our current situation. Hey ho but I’ll keep singing!

    • Deeping Red – I’ve been a season ticket holder for 32 years, so yes, I too have seen the glory days and the “not so glory” days.

      I actually believe that there is less moaning this season, but then there should be.

      Stiil the moaners are probably still getting over only drawing 3-3 with Cologne in the 1979 European Cup Semi-final and then not bothering to follow the away leg!!! 🙂

      • Ha Ha – I remember that one too. Stood under the big electric scoreboard in the Bridgeford end with my eldest Brother who did moan all the way home. Our win away at the Mungesdorfer Stadium was IMHO one of our best ever games and Bowyer’s header probably THE pivotal moment in our rise to glory!

  14. Hey all, just dropping in (I know, I’ve been missing – working hard, running my own FB group) but I’m in England on holiday & went to the game too. We played well, the subs were not good, they upset the balance of the team (rather strange considering other times). Was suprised to see Camp in goal but well justified decision).

    Sat in the Upper Trent where the crowd was brilliant at times despite the bitter cold (my toes almost fell off!!) and I heard no bickering.

    Disappointed with Earnies miss (don’t knock him back – penalties are missed @ times but he must improve his taking them – drasticly!!!)

    Will be at WBA come Friday so will see how the Away support is too 🙂 Hoping for 3 points & move closer 2 2nd.

  15. oh, the vid is now not working – moaning about violating rights

  16. Hey no one has mentioned what a sad loss megson has to be to the football world. ? Credit it to him he has managed to turn another set of fans against him and playing crap football again.

    Poor old gary he has about as much personality as a dried turnip.

    U reds

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