Will we win away again?

"And the fat drummer hit the beat with all his heart." Lee Jobber. Leicester nutjob.

Leicester City – 3
Nottingham Forest – 0

There’s no getting away from it, a 3-0 reverse is an indictment that things didn’t go well, however, I don’t think it’s unfair to suggest it’s slightly flattering to the hosts today – who turned up their performance after a lacklustre first half to bag three second half goals to consign the Reds to their fourth away defeat on the bounce.  So much for unbeaten away, eh?  Isn’t it funny how these things turn around over the course of a season?

Billy again went for ‘home mode’ in his line-up – electing not to change his personnel or shape (although Earnie found himself on the right wing occasionally) which I’m beginning to wonder whether is the right thing to do or not.  Bear in mind he first did this at Derby away, and we know what happened there!  But anyway, a by now familiar line-up looked like this:

Camp
Gunter    Morgan    Wilson    Perch
Cohen    McKenna    Majewski    Anderson
Earnshaw    Blackstock

The first item of interest in the first half was Camp requiring treatment after being assaulted in the box.  In a pattern that would repeat throughout the game, the referee didn’t seem to see much wrong in anything that the home players got up to whilst quick to punish Reds players.  I’ll get my referee rants out the way early doors, I think.

In the first half Earnie was booked for throwing the ball to  a Leicester player, and Raddy was booked for diving – subsequent offences of a comparable nature by home players were not similarly punished by yet another hapless referee.  It took four bookable fouls from Oakley to finally get carded too.  That said, these niggles don’t really change the game – it wasn’t until the second half that the referee would have a hand in this.

Anyway, the first chance of the game came for the home side, Waghorn missing the target after a decent run which got him past McKenna and Morgan.  Raddy struck from range for us, but it was as easy a save as Weale will ever have to make.  Ultimately both sides were poor in possession, and Leicester were closing Forest down very quickly which debilitated our usual passing style.

Our best chance came on the half hour mark, a rare Forest freekick was awarded out on the left near the touchline, Raddy struck a lovely in-swinging ball which Earnie – of all people – found himself on the end of, he headed against the bar, which ricocheted to Cohen who couldn’t get much power on a goalward header which was cleared off the line – eventually Cohen got the ball back to cross in, but an awkward looking over-head kick as a result from Earnie went wide.

It certainly livened up the Forest fans who’d been in generally good spirits – unlike the home supporters who required the motivation of a rotund topless gentleman banging a drum above them from a special drumming gantry to rouse them into occasional songs.  The rest of the half fizzled out with the Reds pressing, but never really breaking through the dogged Leicester defence.

Billy took off Anderson (who is ‘a donkey’ according to the complete fuckwit sat behind me) at half time and replaced him with Tyson.  Apparently the winger has been suffering with illness.  The second half started as the first had ended really – both sides seeking to break on the other but wasteful use of the ball meaning chances were limited.

The home side did start to look more confident though, and they returned the favour of striking the crossbar after a header from Morrison, although he was offside at the time.  After this Wils slide in with a brilliant tackle on Waghorn but was immediately in some distress – it looked serious (we thought broken arm/wrist), but then he carried  on playing.  Odd, but a relief, he’d been our best player so far.

Wilson’s injury seemed to really affect us and him though, our generous giving away of the ball nearly put Gallagher in a great position but he shot over.  Moments later they were ahead, and you could – in fairness – sese it coming.  A freekick was lofted over, headed into the area and Perchy couldn’t clear further than Wellens who lumped it back in where Berner finished well into the roof of the net.

This brought the home fans to life somewhat, but Forest – with McGoldrick on for Majewski – were on the attack.  Earnie crossed to McGoldrick who headed to Perch, Perch tried to prod it goalward where it appeared to be saved in a Nicky Shorey-like manner by Jack Hobbs on the line.  Of course, the referee didn’t see anything and certainly wasn’t going to give Forest a penalty.

That doesn’t really excuse Reds heads dropping though and Leicester getting the chance to double their lead.  It was a well-struck freekick from Gallagher – although I’m still utterly mystified as to what the kick was given for, when the ref blew I (and James Perch) assumed it was going to be a freekick to us if anything, so unobvious was the supposed offense.  No denying the finish was quality though, Gallagher was booked for over-celebrating in a rare show of discipline against a home player.

The salt as well and truly rubbed in the wounds in not very long at all too, the Foxes had their tails up (fnar, couldn’t resist!) and were looking confident and attacking in numbers.  A tame sho from Berner was easily covered by Camp until deflecting off Andy King and wrong-footing him.  So that’s five-four on aggregate, I suppose.  I think Leicester probably did do enough to deserve the win, but still think 3-0 is flattering.  It would be interesting to see what would’ve happened if we were given a penalty at 1-0.

There was time for a late consolation attempt by McKenna, but Weale was alert enough to tip it over to make the save and keep the home side’s clean sheet intact.  Many fans left – but a gratifyingly large number stayed to applaud the side off – sure, they hadn’t been great, but let’s keep big picture here, this season – regardless of what happens from now – has seen us take tremendous strides forward.

Leicestershire’s police force seemed to abandon any idea of segregating so there were distasteful skirmishes between the fans as we made our way to the coaches, which took an age to traipse through what I can only assume are the horrible bits of Leicester, much of the streets within a mile or more of the ground lined with people loitering just to apparently look at the coaches of Forest fans.

Bizarre!  Do our fans do that to away supporters?  I tend to just head to the pub, but maybe some of the City Ground faithful do!  And so eventually our procession reached the motorway actually in reasonable spirits having had plenty of opportunity to chuckle at some of the strange characters who chose to treat us to their attentions – most of them would make good extras for episodes of Shameless.

Back at home next week – but the conversion of an unbeaten away run into a simply beaten away run is a concern, regardless of how flattering the scoreline might have been, and no matter how dreadful the referee was, as I said above, there’s plenty of work for Billy and the boys to be getting on with in sorting things out – and, dare I say, the transfer acquisitions panel too?

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