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…

27 Responses

  1. just be thankful you didn’t have to endure Mick McCarthy’s punditry!

  2. What a vile and dirty bunch Cardiff are. Nowt special. Play off losers 2010 we hope!

  3. Well, I bet ‘Smoulderwood’ is smiling tonight – he’s reached the Premiership before us – how on earth does that happen??

    This evening’s game was tough, but we kept another clean sheet and towards the end showed the spirit required to worry Cardiff. So, the Play-offs await (unless complete chaos ensues) and we can look forward to an extended season – hopefully with a day of sunshine and smiles at “Wemberley” on 22nd May.

    Many, many congratulations to Newcastle and in particular, Chris Hughton, but I fancy wiping the smile from ‘Smoulderwood’ face next season!!??!!

  4. Also, let’s just put things into perspective – this time last year, we were celebrating after a last minute Dextor Blackstock winner had given us a 3-2 win over Bristol City and a total of 45 points from 42 games.

    How dare we even think about being less than impressed with a draw against Cardiff which leaves us 3rd in the league with a points total of 72 from 42 games – Billy Davies for Championship Manager of the Year??

  5. Billy davies aint manger of the year mate chris hughton is.Watched the game to day,was not impressed now im worried about the bet i put on yaz to win the playoffs.

  6. NUFCLITE sorry to say mate you were warned by me on this iste not to bet on forest in the play offs we are a work in progress with a young team.

    Also you forget Newcastle have a premiership size squad,experienced players ,parachute payments and very large crowds.????

    Billy Davies on the other hand has had young players who have played in the lower leages ? no investment in january ? and a very small squad ,hes used the least number of players all season in any team.

    What does this tell you??? hes a very very good manager.I respect Newcastle as a club but over the years the last 30 you have won diddly.Promotion ASIDE.

    No end product nffc you said it 2 or 3 times if that doesnt change in the next couple of games I think we wont make the final.

    I thought we were very poor in the first half and have lost the zip and cutting edge we had .

    U reds

  7. I enjoyed last nights match.
    It took us a while to get into our stride, but we had some good chances, played nice football and got stuck in when we had to.
    Decent atmoshere, too, despite the Cardiff City fans reluctance to join in.

    They don’t like Gunts though, do they? He supported them as a lad, too.
    Thats both games this season they’ve tried smashing into the lad. Dirty tw**s.
    It says something about the refs performance when BOTH managers burst out laughing at his odd decisions.

    Congrats to NUFC by the way. Although I’d dispute the shout for Hughton as MoY.
    Billy has taken Forest from 3rd bottom 12 months ago to 3rd top. CH hasn’t really moved toon on has he? Bottom of the Prem to much the same in 12 months (winking smiley!)

  8. Also…
    on the subject of BD, I must just query his strange substitutions.
    Tys was struggling big time last night. First touch was poor, and he took a couple of big hits about an hour in. Yet Billy kept him on? Seemed odd to me. I’m a huge fan of Nathan, but I was surprised Billy didn’t put him out of his misery last night.

    Still, in Billy we trust!

  9. However much we love the moose, and don’t get me wrong I love the man, I think this shows what a fit McKenna brings to the team. You don’t oft notice him on the park, but you certainly miss his organisation and presence.

    Hughton…. he’s done an ok job with the, comfortably, best squad in the league. I’d say that his keeping the dressing room together is his best acheivement, given the squad at St. James. But then, the winning will have helped this. If you guys starting losing a lot next season the anti-cockney-mafia brigade will retake the Bigg Market and the fissures will reopen in the dressing room.

  10. I like tys too mattyboy but some of his decision making at times is very poor.He doesnt trust his right peg he almost beats himself twice at times

    Get the damn ball over nath YEA WITH YER RIGHT PEG

    U reds

  11. Well said SB (Steve). Hear hear !!

    As for the match I thought the Mousse was great. Bit like the player that we first saw all those months back when he first arrived. BD appears to have given him the “McKenna role” and he now seems to be filling those boots.

    Is it me or has Cohen lost some form?? He doesnt appear to playing half as well as he was at the beginning of the season. Postional change maybe or is it the loss of McKenna affecting him? As ususal I’d welcome anyone else’s thoughts.

  12. Thought cardiff were better side in first half but second they seemed content with a point and thats wot they got. Albeit thru sum pretty hefty and indeedy dirty second half play. I actually thought their keeper should av been booked for the scuffle with his own man,either for violent play or time wasting. He must have had the ball in his hands (or at least one,where was gary crosby wen we needed him!) for 30 seconds while it was goin on. The mousse seems such an enigma, occasional flashes of quality followed by sum very poor touches and passes. But he’s our best option for that role still. We just need to be sharper in the final third to turn pressure into goals. He must have gone off boyd, as while tyson has the pace his decision making is pretty poor at times it must be said, surely boyd is a more obvious fit wide left

  13. Had a top day out yesterday. Went to Trent Bridge at lunchtime to watch the friendly, a few beers then over the road to watch the Reds. Moussi was great yesterday. Oddly, I thought that was the first game where we didn’t really miss McKenna – who I spoke to after the match and he is “optimistic” he’ll be fit to play some part in the play-offs!! Great news!!

    The comments on decision making opitimise this teams shortcomings. Yeah, Tys is poor but Anderson is truly dreadful. He briefly went through a spell of looking up before passing/crossing but he’s reverted back to his old ways lately. Far too often he gets in great positions and then delivers fk all. Earnie too often tries the little flicks and spins – look great when they come off but 99 times out of a hundred, play breaks down when we have men committed. Choose the right time Robbie! Similiar for Raddy. I think he’s lost some of his spark lately too. They could all do with a couple of weeks off before the playoffs!

  14. Egor, we were saying the same yesterday. I’d like to see Billy give Cohen a rest. I know he’s young and hungry to play every minute but a rest would do him good imo.

    Siggsy, Boyd isn’t a winger. He’s more a controlling ball player through the middle (according to my Posh supporting friends). Maybe rest Radi and let Boyd make his mark…?

    Radgie, I was at Trent Bridge too! Watched for an hour or so then over to the CG. Spot on!
    Disagree about Ando though. I’m a fan of both (ya can’t defend pace!), but Ando has the edge over Tys for me. Tys beat 2 players last night, into the box……then turned and ran wide again!!! He was as frustrated as Billy judging by the way he punched the ground, but why did he do it?

    Hope you’re right about Kenno. Be a big psychological boost if he came back before the end of the season.

  15. I take it back then Mattyboy, but I though Boyd was a wide man. Cant really see why we brought him in then, we’re not exactly short on central players. When Mgugan cant even get a kick, nor Mgoldrick. Even Garner who did well in that role back at the start of the season.

    Anderson and Tyson both have their plus points but are both far too inconsistent, sometimes Anderson looks class but then other days he has a real reluctance to take people on and drifts out of the game.
    Tyson is very quick and when it works for him he is as good as anyone but too often he gets his head down and runs and runs and runs seemingly without thinking about where he’s going.

    Macleary deserves more time on the pitch, every time he comes on he does what he’s asked, get the ball and run at people and he’s come close to scoring and setting goals up in the last few home games with a bit more match sharpness he could be our most important player.

    Time will tell, if we win Saturday we’re definitely in play-offs so I’d look to rest a few key players and give the likes of Garner/Mgoldrick/Macleary/Dele/Mgugan a start to at least give them some game time if we need them in the play-off games.

  16. I would give the whole first team the next two games off. In-form Ipswich then that hamstring destroying sandpit at Blackpool… even if we win both they will be difficult games, and will the fatigue be worth the points? I don’t think so.

    If we still need a couple of points to get us in to the playoffs then a well rested team will get them against a relegated Plymouth or a safe Scunthorpe.

    Seriously, Garner, McGoldrick, McLeary, Terry the kit man… we also have Moloney and Jordan Fairclough on the books – get them on the pitch!

    • here here. i know it’s not Billy’s way and can see both sides of the arguement, but I think you’ve weighed up the pros and cons spot on there and your suggestion makes total sense.

  17. A point on saturday and a Newcastle win will secure the playoffs.I hope you will all join in with the lads and billy and have a wee glass of champagne 3rd bottom to 3rd top is a remarkable turnaround.

    Rest a few before the big games and I have a wee sneaking feeling wee billy might just produce mckenna for some part of the play offs.

    U reds

    • You know, I’m never going to complain about the skipper’s passing ever again having just read Xavi’s stats – he misplaced 15 out of 244 passes in the two games against Arsenal. 15! Thats just stupid. Come on Kenna, show him how to do it properly!! 🙂

  18. Maloney’s out for the season isn’t he? Thats why scunny sent him back wasn’t it?

  19. Paul Anderson is a great player – love to have him back at the Swans. Yes he can have the odd bad game but he has bags of pace and gets some mean crosses in when he wants to plus he can beat a man. He skinned most of the fullbacks in league 1 but was often getting injured!

    Just looked and found out Mike Dean is the ref for our game against Bristol City next saturday 😦 oh dear!

  20. What a weekend for us ..A Forest win puts us in the playoffs, Lee Westwood is one shot of the lead in the masters and the cracker in Madrid vs Barca !!!

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