A point at Scunny’s enough to secure third..

Scunthorpe United – 2
Nottingham Forest – 2

On a pretty bad surface and on a day when neither team had masses to play for a football match occasionally threatened to break out.  Both teams will be delighted with their second goals in particular, and certainly both sides – Forest quite a make-shift line up as expected – appeared to be putting in an effort to get the three points that weren’t really needed, but wanted nonetheless!

Billy opted to mix things up quite a lot in favour of resting some key players and long servers, so a very unfamiliar looking line-up enabled him to rest players like Wes, Gunter and Cohen (rumoured to be suffering with an illness) and even Lee Camp was granted his only day off from league duties, with Paul Smith given a rare opportunity to start between the sticks (and seemed to see the funny side of the fans singing “England’s number two!” at him!).

Smith
Perch    Chambers    Wilson    Lynch
Anderson    Moussi    McGugan    Boyd
McGoldrick    Garner

The Iron were very much on top early doors, and Smithy needed to be alert to make ultimately fairly comfortable early saves from Hayes and Mirfin – the home side seemed to threaten with attacks but struggle with the final shot early doors.  Forest eased themselves into the game gradually, with McGugan firing our first shot on target after a decent ball from Boyd – which was saved by their ‘keeper.

Scunny were certainly up for it though, and pretty robust in their play – with the referee pretty lax compared to many on their physical play.  Hooper looked dangerous but Wils was on hand to put in a bit of a last gap challenge to get the ball back to Smith who was well positioned to get it cleared to safety.

The first goal came a bit after fifteen minutes gone, Joe Garner picked up the ball in the box after a decent pass from Boyd – my memory might be playing tricks (the beer doesn’t help either), but he seemed to have a bit of time to compose himself and pick his spot with a low shot to give their ‘keeper absolutely no chance at all of stopping it.  Good to see Joe getting a run out up front.

Moments later it perhaps should’ve been two – McGoldrick, having previously been caught offside a couple of times, did excellently to get past his man in the area but put a shot wide from inside the 6 yard box at a reasonably tight angle.  A pity, all in all I was impressed with him today but I’m sure the confidence boost of a goal would’ve done him the world of good.

The home side were still threatening though, a cross from Thompson was well placed to find Woolford who is probably still kicking himself at the poxy effort he managed which left Smith a simple stop to make.  It was a useful warning though, Scunny aren’t a bad side at knocking the ball around and aren’t shy about putting themselves about either.

However, it was us who were to draw next blood – and the makeshift Reds actually managed to put together one of those lovely passing moves we’ve not seen so much of lately – particularly away from the City Ground.  A string of nice passes – often one-touch moves – eventually got the ball to McGoldrick who moved it into the path of Boyd who hit it first time to beat Lillis with a neat finish.  Lovely goal.

Wastefulness or bad luck struck for us straight after – a cross from Lynch hit the bar finding McGoldrick who perhaps should’ve done more than shoot wide – but well, it’s not always easy to anticipate the ball ricocheting from the woodwork!  All in all, a tidy half in which perhaps 2-0 was marginally flattering to the Reds, but nice to enjoy nonetheless.

It gave the Reds fans – many of whom were in fancy dress – to check out other scores, with Cardiff losing at Derby it meant that third place was pretty much assured – and whilst Blackpool were losing at some points over the course of the day, Swansea never managed to get the result they needed to overtake the Tangerines – we realise now, of course, another trip to Blackpool awaits us next week.

The second half started the opposite to the first, with the Reds on the up – some good work from Boyd found McGoldrick who took the ball wide on the right, and crossed into the area finding Anderson.  The winger went for the spectacular volley but couldn’t connect and the subsequent follow-up wasn’t on target.  Pity, if he’d caught it, it would’ve been sweet!

Scunny though started to come into the game more quite soon – a Perch goal-line clearance from one corner was quickly followed up by another corner – eventually ending up with McCann shooting, Smith saving but rebound ultimately resulting in Canavan making no mistake from close range to notch a not undeserved goal for the home side.

They kept coming too, Chambo needed to be alert to block from Hooper and clear, and Hooper again provided the danger with a cheeky lobbed effort which just had the beating of Smith, and the goal as it went over.  Again they struggled with their final shots, and a chance for Cliff Byrne was easily saved by Smith.  Anderson was withdrawn at this point for McCleary.

A decent effort from Hayes brought a similarly decent save from Smith, before Joe Garner was withdrawn to be replaced with Dele Adebola for the last ten minutes or so.  Then came the equaliser for Scunthorpe, an it was the ridiculous to the sublime really – a sloppy piece of play from McCleary gave the ball away – and Thompson absolutely lashed it into the top corner from 25 yards.  A cracking finish!

The Reds started to look alive again and a late freekick from McGugan was just wide before he was replaced by Majewski who barely had any time to make an impact (aside from having the same trouble both Boyd and McGugan had with Scunthorpe’s shocking corner arcs comprising basically of sand.  We are generally poor at corners – but today’s were spectacularly bad, it has to be said!).

A fun trip nonetheless, of course disappointing to lose a two goal lead but ultimately of little consequence.  Blackpool are our next challenge, and as the only team (except Newcastle and Watford, I think) to have beaten us “on aggregate” over the course of a season, perhaps the challenge we didn’t really want.  Or didn’t we?  Personally I think we should respect everyone but fear no-one.  It should prove an interesting encounter.

Probably more on the play-offs to come when I’ve sobered up a bit and had a chance to ponder now we know the permutations that await us!

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13 Responses

  1. Watford beat us 4-2 on aggregate, and them down the A52 were level on aggregate…

  2. The NFFC website has details of the Play-off Away leg tickets; only 1600 tickets and available to “Away Members” who have been to at least 12 away games – better get the TV sorted out then!!

  3. Shocking allocation of blackpool tickets. I say restrict THEM to the same number at the city ground!

  4. we should give them only half of the bridgford lower, anymore than that would be stupid.

  5. Sorry to lose a two-goal lead too, but very happy to see Joe Garner in such a good contact with the goal after a long period of absence (remember he had scored against Blackpool too). We could have won but that’s of little importance. As one of my good friends (and a Forest fan too) here in Greece says, it’s harder to beat a team you’ve beaten twice a third time than to beat a team you’ve lost twice to. He preferred Blackpool to Swansea, and so did I – remember than we had very hard times against the Swans in both occasions, but we were kind of unlucky to lose to the Seasiders at home, while the away tie was, well, a good chance for Billy to try things out. I agree we must fear no-one, I believe we are the best of the four and can’t wait to see the Reds back to Wembley…

  6. Well they’re on us once again. Whilst we have only been in two playoff semi’s because they are so both fresh in my memory it seems like we do it every year. The numbing disappointment of the Sheff Utd game and the horror show of Yeovil still leave a very bitter after taste. Which is why I’m trying to mentally block the forthcoming Blackpool games from my mind during the build up and only concentrate on them whilst at the game. Its worked so far but I suspect my efforts will be futile during the next week or so as excitement and the thought of what could be take over.

    The Greek connection is right. It is going to be hard for Blackpool to win one more game against us but they do have the psychological advantage of knowing that they can. How much this will help them is something we’ll find out at the end of the game on the 11th.

    With the Paul Hart team I thought we deserved to go up he’d rebuilt a side decimated by us having to sell because of what Platt had done with premier league quality youth players. We played great and I just thought it was our time. With the Calderwood side I expected, almost demanded that we go up. It was simply not an option to lose but with Davies I have neither expectation or a sense that we deserve it. I am strangely ambivalent and I am just happy that we have the chance which is something that I’m also finding strange. I can only think the reasons for this is that,
    1) I’m older and know better than to invest far too much emotion into something I can’t control and…
    2) Its all bit of a surprise given that we nearly got relegated again last season with essentially the same squad.

    Well Match tickets purchased and train tickets booked for the home leg… I’m not going to think about it until then.

  7. While I like the wise words from our Greek philosher friend – I think what ever happened earlier this season is completely irrelevant.
    I’d stick the Blackpool fans in the gods – top corner of the B C stand if it was up to me. I think Barca have the same trick judging by where Jose was pointing the other night.
    I’d like us to be practising playing with 10 men and with the last two play offs in mind thinking about how to close a game down when you are in a winning position. Keeping the ball, winning thows ins in unthreating areas, staying solid, not going out of position. Running down the clock as a way of dealing with the pressure. Not letting the other team score straight after you’ve just scored yourself.
    Blimey I’m nervous. Like AD_BC I’m old enough not to let a bad result spill in to the rest of my life but these next few games are massive.

  8. Why on earth don´t we play short corners on a pitch like today ???
    I´m confident we will make it to wembley !!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. I understand we have to give 10 per cent of our capacity to visiting fans.
    They should certainly not be allowed behind the Bridgeford goal !!!!

  10. Just spotted on the official site that B’pool’s allocation has been limited to 2,000 with the rest of the lower bridgford going to home fans… so that should neutralise some the usual away fans noise advantage

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