Is that it for automatic?

Big Dele: Wasteful with our best chances

Barnsley – 2
Nottingham Forest – 1

I have a proper sulk on me still, I was wanting to calm down a bit before writing this but still find myself a bit downhearted.  Whilst bigger deficits have been overturned in nine games, I am starting to think the gap to second is looking a bit too big now.  I also can’t see us turning around our away form at Newcastle, realistically – can we?  A frustrating evening in Barnsley, thanks in no small part to Kevin Friend – the referee from Leicester.  What an incompetent idiot that man is.

Billy promised changes, and duly delivered them – going for a four-four-two line-up which certainly appeared to address the key issues we had.  Cohen was in midfield, and James ‘injured for the season’ Perch played at left back apparently with the help of some injections, so hardly a long-term solution to the left back problem (although I thought he had a decent game there).

Gunter    Morgan    Wilson    Perch
Cohen    Moussi    Majewski    Boyd
Adebola    Earnshaw

Oakwell was eerily quiet and pretty much half empty too, and it was the Forest fans charged with making the atmosphere interesting.  The first half started in fairly scrappy fashion as we’ve become accustomed – whilst the Reds (when I say Reds, I mean us) started to dominate play, chances were at a premium – Cohen’s shot from twenty yards was the closest we came and that went wide.

Then came the suckerpunch, in Barnsley’s first attacking move of the game a freekick was lumped forward where it was met by Daniel Bogdanovic’s head and looped up and over Camp into the top corner.  If he meant that as an attempt on goal then hat’s off to him, but I fear it was one of those bloody unlucky situations!  This got the home side going, and Hammill had a shot that Camp needed to be nimble to keep out with a diving save.

Forest weren’t out of it though, Raddy played a great chipped throughball to Dele who was one on one, he beat the ‘keeper, but put his shot wide.  With all respect to big Del, he’s probably the last of our strikers you want with a chance like that – especially with Earnie on the pitch.  Moments later he had a similar situation – getting past the defender and getting one-on-one with Luke Steele – this time he lifted the ball over the advancing ‘keeper but once again missed the target.  Poor.

Earnie was looking desperate to be involved but when he did get the ball, after good work from Moussi, he was quickly crowded out by the hardworking home defence.  As the half drew to a close it was the home side that had a spell of pressure, although it never really came in the form of a decent chance.  As for the referee – he denied Forest three of the most obvious corners you’ll ever see and gave goalkicks instead.

So, half time, a chance to regroup.  The second half started with more Barnsley pressure – Foster was blocked by Wes, the ball falling to Bogdanovic who should’ve worked Camp at least, instead hitting the side netting.  Forest soon regained the initiative though, a freekick from Cohen found Majewski whose shot was desperately close and might even have struck the post.

Gunter had an effort too that Steele flapped at, the result of this fell to Cohen with the keeper out of position, but it wasn’t exactly an easy chance and he missed the target quite horribly.  Once again there was a sucker-punch,  Teixeira got past Earnie (of all people!) who clipped him, illiciting a theatrical Platoon-style dive – but I suppose it was a foul.  Much like what happened to Dex at the weekend in Preston, of course then Dex was booked for diving, this time Earnie was booked for the foul and we conceded a penalty.

Bogdanovic stepped up and calmly sent Camp the wrong way to put his side two goals up.  At this point Billy withdrew George Boyd, who hadn’t really got involved in the game so far, and replaced him with Nathan Tyson.  Who initially also struggled to get involved in the game – although Tys does have a better chance profiting from the increasingly aerial route we were taking as desperation was clearly setting in.

Big Dele was the next man to go off, being replaced by Dexter which seemed like a sensible move to me too.  Another chance for Majewski saw Steele make another unconvincing save, and again the rebound fell for Cohen, whose reply was straight at the ‘keeper.  Then finally came the goal, Raddy crossed, Dex headed – Steele saved but Dex was on hand to tap the rebound in and get the ball back to the centre spot sharpish.

Forest piled on the pressure and introduced Anderson to replace Moussi, but struggle to make too many chances – after Steele again had dropped the ball Earnie stroked the ball into the net only to find that Kevin ‘no’ Friend of Forest adjudged the goalkeeper to have been impeded.  He wasn’t, it was yet another suspiciously against Forest decision from the referee.  Shall I remind you where he’s from, again?  Maybe not.  He did, at one point, book a Barnsley player for falling over one of his teammates too, so perhaps he’s just shit rather than biased.

A very frustrating evening.  We weren’t good, by any stretch, but neither were they – on performance we were good value for a draw, but for wasteful finishing and – for my money – a poor refereeing decision we could have had at least that.  But it’s a defeat, a defeat I fear puts a realistic end to our hopes of nicking automatic promotion.  However, to still be in the mix with ten games remaining far exceeds anything I expected preseason, so we should remember that.

With eight straight away defeats a distinct possibility after our trip to Newcastle, it rather puts pressure on our excellent home form – starting with struggling Peterborough this coming Saturday.  And pressure doesn’t seem to be something this young Forest squad are coping particularly well with at moment.  I really hope that we have some favourable news on the acquisitions front this week, as our squad could do with freshening up.