Well that was an anti-climax…

Earnie: Should've won it against his old club...

Nottingham Forest – 0
Cardiff City – 0

You could’ve been mistaken for thinking this was an end-of-season game between two teams with not a lot to play for.  Or maybe I’d had a few too many pre-match beers to fully appreciate the intricacies of the game.  Frustratingly I’d half-in-jest predicted a nil-nil in the preview, but didn’t go as far as to put money on it, more’s the pity!  That said, there was a lot of work put in, just little by the way of end product.

Billy reverted to something approximating ‘the home formation’, restoring Blackstock and Earnie, who has presumably overcome his injury, as well as Raddy in midfield (or Radi, if the programme is to be taken as a steer on ‘correct’ spelling).  The optimists predicted it was a statement of attacking intent, but I feared as it proved to be a continuation of us struggle to either create or take chances.

Chambers    Morgan    Wilson    Gunter
Cohen    Moussi    Majewski    Tyson
Blackstock    Earnshaw

The first half was probably the pick of the two, with the visitors – hardly roared on by a small following of under 1200 uncharacteristically quiet Welshmen – very much taking the early initiative.  That said, the first chance came for us – a Raddy freekick found Dex to head goalward, but straight at David Marshall in the Cardiff goal.

Cardiff then pressed, and had a series of corners – only one of which really caused much of a problem with the ball bouncing around in the area ending up with Ledley making a connection but it deflecting over.  Amongst the few good chances in the game fell to Earnie shortly after though – a mix-up in midfield by the visitors put him clean through but a badly hit left-footed shot after he’d burst clear wasn’t good enough to get past the ‘keeper.

The Bluebirds looked like we do at times going forward, they piled on a fair bit of pressure and forced a number of corners, but I don’t recall Camp having a save to make.  For Forest, there were some chances – a cracking cross from the Moose was inches from being reached by Tys from close range, and shortly after a ball from Tys (I think) went right across goal to Cohen on the back stick who contrived to air-shot it disappointing.

All in all, a probably justified stalemate with defence on top – largely because of a lack of end product from both sides attacking than from outstanding defending or goalkeeping, it has to be said.  Certainly not wonderful viewing for the neutral nor Forest/Cardiff fan alike in the pubs and homes of Britain, I imagine.  Particularly with Mick McCarthy’s profligate references to us as Notts Forest (thanks for the emails about that!).

The second half didn’t begin as energetically as the first, the first chance really created in an increasingly cagey game fell to Blackstock again after a great cross from Cohen, but his specialism of heading-straight-at-the-keeper showed another great example as he was only able to direct the ball straight at Marshall again.  McCleary was introduced for Raddy to try to liven things up.

Probably the best chance for Cardiff followed, dirty McCormack  unleashed a cracking shot from ridiculously far out which Camp couldn’t hold – shortly after Gunter looked to break and was scythed down most cynically by the Cardiff striker – picking up a well-deserved yellow card for the offence from the largely (predictably) weak referee.

Earnie was again in a dangerous position after a good ball from Tys found him running between two defenders, but he could only put his effort over under the close attentions of the Bluebird defenders.  Dex had a decent effort from the edge of the area which Marshall dived and parried, Tys wasn’t quite quick enough to get on the rebound and the visitors were able to clear their lines.

That was almost Earnie’s last action, as he was the next player to be withdrawn for David McGoldrick.  The Reds increasingly looked to pressure but with very little end product, Cohen looked to have hit a decent shot sweetly but it was deflected wide for a corner.  After this McCleary put a great ball in which Gerrard and Marshall prevented getting to Blackstock, before starting on each other for some reason – maybe he takes after his cousin and Marshall wouldn’t play the song he wanted on the team coach or something.

Dex was in the wars after this after Marshall got his fist to the ball, and Dex’s face in injury time.  He was down for a while and went off without returning, the game fizzled into the nothingness that had basically filled the majority of the time.  Not a classic, by any stretch of the imagination, and only managing a draw handed promotion to Newcastle United who are now guaranteed automatic promotion.  And big congratulations to them.

Of course, West Brom only scraped a draw, so does that mean automatic promotion is back on?  Ha. I think not, somehow!  Still, Roy Keane’s resurgent Ipswich up next at the City Ground, let’s look forward to that instead…