Record breakers!

Dedication's what you need...

Nottingham Forest – 1
Middlesbrough – 0

Nine straight wins in the league at the City Ground, and huge congratulations to Billy and the boys for delivering it – a new club record.  Towards the end of our unbeaten run the fixation was on our going so long without defeat on our travels, in the meantime we were already building a fairly formidible home run.  Probably temporarily we find ourselves elevated to second in the league again – hoping for Bristol City to do us a favour this afternoon.

Yesterday’s game was pretty even, if truth be told.  That said, the best chances were created by Forest – and in the second half Chris Cohen was on hand to put one of them away after a slick-passing counter-attack.  Another poor refereeing display saw Forest finish the game on three bookings, only one of which was warranted, with the much more physical visitors only picking up one despite the game being littered with fouls.

Forest started with an unchanged line-up to the side that overcame Sheffield United in midweek, which is probably the side I’m starting to consider our best starting eleven – certainly in home games:

Gunter    Morgan    Wilson    Perch
Cohen    McKenna    Majewski    Anderson
Blackstock    Earnshaw

The game started at quick pace – and it was quite end-to-end, without any real clear chances.  Flood threatened for Boro but was tackled well by Wils, and a long range effort from the very up-for-it looking Majewski was just wide.  Shortly after David ‘Cheater’ Wheater fouled Earnie, giving us a freekick from 25 yards or so which Raddy struck well – just hitting the crossbar and out for a goalkick.  At the time I thought Coyne had it covered, watching the highlights suggests he may not have done.

Boro had a spell of pressure and won a series of corners up at the Trent End, but despite the plethora of giants in their side rarely threatened the Forest goal aside from one tame effort by McDonald straight at Lee Camp.  The Reds were very much geared up for counter-attacking, and the pacey Paul Anderson was usually our outlet.  He broke well but being outside on the left the enforced left-footedness of the cross made it not the best, it just evaded Earnie in the box.

The wee striker had a better chance moments later too – an imaginative though-ball by Cohen saw the striker get in between two defenders and on goal, the ball was dropping from an awkward angle and with a defender closing in Earnshaw took on the shot a bit too early and put it over.  It wasn’t an easy chance, but I bet he’s kicking himself for not at least getting it on target.

Both sides were pretty wasteful in possession in midfield, and as half time arrived the general consensus was it had been okay if not amazing.  Odd, considering what was to come, referee Phil Crossley had been okay in the first half – pretty lenient in keeping the game flow, the only booking being for Raddy which was deserved as he dived into a challenge with studs showing – it wasn’t as bad as it looked, but it was pretty reckless.

The second half started very slow, I don’t know if the prevailing wind was in an unusual direction but the Trent End were really audible in getting behind the team and the rest of the ground followed suit, and it seemed to kickstart the game into life.  Cohen had a pop from a freekick which struck the wall, he followed it up himself and struck it off target.  Then we thought we’d got a goal.  Raddy had an effort from deflected in the box finding Wils with a tap in – unfortunately he was offside – at least according to the linesman.

No sooner had the visiting fans finishing taunting our premature celebrations, we were able to return the favour with interest as the Reds did take the lead.

Wilson won the ball in an altercation with Leeroy Lita (which, if I’m honest, looked like a foul on the Boro striker to me).  Lita didn’t play to the whistle though, and Kelv was able to pass to Dex, who chested it to Raddy – Raddy then fed it back to Blackstock who found Cohen in acres of space in the right channel.  The midfielder almost had ‘too much time’, but he gave Coyne the eyes to the back-post, and duly put the ball in the near post.

The visitors are always going to still be in a game at 1-0, though, and Lita in particular looked eager to get himself on the scoresheet.  He had a shot from range which Perchy deflected out for a corner.  Shortly after the Moose conceded a freekick for a challenge on Robson, which resulted in a freekick that was deflected for another corner.

Another quick break from the Reds saw Anderson burst into the box and get rather cynically brought down – in the second half the referee was very much in idiot mode though and gave nothing.  There’s an argument Ando had lost control of the ball, but that doesn’t really excuse bringing him down – he may well have got to it.  The rest of the game was a bit of a siege with Boro launching the ball forward in search of an equaliser.

With four to five minutes of stoppage time played, we even saw Coyne up for a corner (yet oddly a defender on the half-way line), but once the ball was cleared the whistle went and the celebrations could begin in earnest.  In between the scrappiness at times a football match threatened to break out, and ultimately – like Billy – we’ll all be focusing on the result, and another clean sheet which is a welcome habit to hopefully be starting again.

I am quietly hoping we might start to look at affecting some transfer business this week (I’m not starting rumours – I have no idea whether we will or not!), but any emergency loans now could theoretically be active right through until the play-off final, which is obviously a consideration that Billy will have when deciding on whether or not he wants to add some new faces (and I suspect he does!).

Elsewhere once again our dearest neighbours demonstrated the complete lack of discipline and professionalism in their ranks with another shameful lack of control of their players.  Hopefully the authorities take notice of this when considering the case we and they have to answer and spot the common denominators – generally everything appears to centre around the thug Jay McEveley, although a special mention should go to Gorka Pintado for his awesome tackle on Robbie Savage!

As the ‘Billy Davies fan page‘ on Facebook stated, Steve Claridge was wrong when he suggested that it was the kind of challenge that could end Robbie Savage’s career – as he went in on his legs, and not his gob!  It might be a doubly-good thing for us as this will presumably mean that Pintado is suspended for our game at the City Ground against Swansea.  Whilst we’re on the Facebook subject, you can become a fan of this blog by clicking here, should you want to!