Half time, advantage Blackpool!

Cohen gave the Reds a short-lived lead...

Blackpool – 2
Nottingham Forest – 1

It was a case of third time unlucky for the Reds as Blackpool had the beating of them over ninety minutes for the third time this season – setting up a tense return leg at the City Ground on Tuesday.  The Reds must beat Blackpool over ninety minutes, and by two or more goals if they want to avoid extra time.

A thousand or so Reds fans once again struggled to make any noise in the open stand, but were given early cheer with a sublime Chris Cohen goal to put Forest in to the lead, but unfortunately for the travelling Red Army they had to bear witness to – for the first time – Forest falling behind in a fixture having taken the lead.  Since this fixture is two-legged, I’m sticking with it being half time so the stat still stands!

A surprise (ish) return for Paul McKenna saw Billy opt for the cautious approach I predicted – but with the likes of Raddy, Anderson, Tys and Cohen to support lone striker Dexter up front.  I wasn’t sure whether he’d do the Gunter-Perch exchange at fullback or stick with Lynch who had a couple of decent enough games at the end of the season.

Perch    Morgan    Wilson    Gunter
Tyson    Cohen    McKenna    Majewski     Anderson

The midfield was pretty fluid so I’ve put them in a flat  formation – but generally as you’d expect McKenna was sitting, Raddy was often supporting attack, Cohen was everywhere and Tys and Ando weren’t adverse to cutting in (when on their ‘wrong’ side) and also swapping wings occasionally.

It was a positive start for the Reds, after swapping ends it took less than five minutes for us to attempt an assault on the Tangerine goal.  Nathan Tyson did well to lose a couple of defenders but will be ruing the inaccuracy of his shot which was comfortably over!  The home side weren’t adverse to attacking either, Camp punching away a cross from Charlie Adam.

Phil Dowd issued his first yellow card early doors too, after Evatt was unable to deal with Tys without fouling.  Certainly those of you who watched with the benefit of TV replays will be better placed to advise me, but I thought the referee had a pretty awful game in both directions – but the balance of his decisions definitely tended to making him a bit of a ‘homer’.

Before we get onto referee moaning though, the Reds took the lead seemingly out of the blue just shy of the quarter of an hour mark.  The home side failed to clear a ball direct from Camp, Baptiste only got the ball as far as Raddy who found Chris Cohen on the edge of the box who looked up and took the opportunity to curl and dip a wonderful shot beyond Gilks into the top corner with the outside of his left foot.

Moments later we were close to doubling our lead, Cohen whipped in a freekick from the right and Wes looked close to getting something on it at the back post which could’ve at least been a shot hopefully on target.  But the home side, dangerous as we well know, took around as long as Forest had from kick-off to fashion their equaliser.

It was reminiscent in some ways to the goal they scored at the City Ground all that time ago – because our defence just fell asleep for a moment.  That doesn’t detract from the decent build-up for the goal though – Coleman was the architect really with a great run from the right, finding Evatt who scuffed a cross in to Southern who scuffed his shot to beat Camp, and Wils on the line.

The Reds were doubly unlucky not to re-take the lead shortly after, Raddy broke well and found Anderson bursting down the left – he put in an excellent cross which Dex met with a looping header that beat the ‘keeper, but hit the bar and fell for Tys whose ambitious acrobatic volley was bloody close to finding the net too, ending up just over.

As the half closed Forest mounted further pressure – a couple of corners culminated in an Anderson flick-on to Morgan who composed himself to strike powerfully at goal but found his effort cleared off the line.  Blackpool defended resolutely though and were able to weather the storm to half time with the scores level.

Blackpool were immediately on the front foot in the second half, and Wes needed to be alert to deny Ormerod with a deflection.  Ten minutes into the half they got handed a great lifeline by Phil Dowd, a tangle between Perch and Campbell resulted in a penalty I was convinced wasn’t warranted at the time – watching the replay, I’d have been annoyed if that happened to us and wasn’t given.

It was duly despatched by Charlie Adam in confident style, striking firmly into the bottom left corner and sending Camp the wrong way in the process.  A rare decision in our favour (as it seemed!) from Dowd gave us a quick opportunity to equalise with a free-kick, but Cohen’s chipped effort to the near post was over (and probably covered by the goalkeeper even if it wasn’t over).

The Reds were struggling to pass the ball, and the home side were looking dangerous at times.  DJ Campbell will be probably still kicking himself that he spooned the ball over when he had time and space to do so much better.  Shortly after Dowd continued his incompetence by awarding the home side a freekick in a dangerous position after Wils cleanly took the ball from Taylor-Flecter who went down like a sack of spuds.  He got booked for it too.

Adam struck the ball firmly into the wall, and shortly after Billy tried to freshen things up by replacing Blackstock and Majewski with McGoldrick and Earnshaw.  Whilst I’d never dream of suggesting I know better than Billy, because I don’t, I thought we could’ve done with some change prior to this – with less than fifteen minutes to go.

McGugan was the last throw of the dice for this leg, coming on for Tys pretty much at the death.  He did have a couple of nice touches but little time to impact the match, a pity as he looked up for it and we know how effective he can be as an impact sub.  Chris Cohen offered the last notable action of the game with an excellent shot from range in the final moments, with Gilks making a cracking save to deny him his second goal.

All in all, ignoring my referee moaning (there was a moment when I thought there was a handball in their area which naturally he didn’t see), it’s hard to feel too hard done by in terms of the result.  Forest were excellent at times in the first half but struggled in the second whilst Blackpool were fairly consistent throughout – so maybe they deserve the edge they have.

In terms of match previews – there’s not much point in doing one beyond a paragraph here.  For Forest, our mandate has to be to win – quite a simple objective.  Ian Holloway is left with the conundrum of whether to come to the City Ground to defend their slender advantage or play their natural game and work on extending it.

Certainly I’ve never considered Blackpool the underdogs they like to portray themselves as in the media.  As they’ve demonstrated a frustrating number of times they are capable of getting results against Forest by hook or by crook – and also a worrying propensity to get penalties awarded against us whilst we never do against them!

It promises to be a tense evening but hopefully the Reds fans – in numbers and in more suitable environs – will be able to better play their part in the game.  Credit to the Blackpool supporters, ignoring the tacking clap-assisting things many had, they certainly made plenty of noise at Bloomfield Road to get behind their team.  We should follow that lead at the City Ground.

27 Responses

  1. NOW THEN…just a touch on the lighter side of things…i come from hucknall in nottingham..did anyone hear about the three blackpool fans decked out in all the club colours, having an early drink / breakfast prior to the match, in the pilgrim oak in hucknall nottingham around about 10.am…A gang of forest lads who did’nt have tickets for the game were settling in the pilgrim oak as was everybody else in huknall, to watch the big game …upon seeing the 3 blackpool fans the forest lads enquired as to why they were in hucknall drinking before the game . They informed the locals that they had just popped in for a breakfast and a few quiet pints before going to the city ground to watch the match!!!…yes you have guessed it the had travelled all the way down from blackpool to watch the match and never realised that they were playing at home …..this is a true story

  2. Good review NFFC.

    I thought the ref was pretty ineffective to be honest and missed two opportunites to book Adam – one for a clear raking thigh high tackle on McKenna, for which he gave THEM a free kick!

    I think Holloways approach will be attack is the best form of defence. Obvious statement maybe but the first goal will be critical. If we can reproduce the kind of form we did against them at the CG back in September then surely we wont be so unlucky in front of gaol again will we??

    Anyway I feel we are in for a VERY tense night on Tuesday.

  3. I watched the whole game and i think Blackpool are by no means the better team, I thought our wingers (especially Anderson) battered them in the first half, when we were far better. Two defensive lapses cost us two goals, although in my humble opinion Campbell’s fall in the penalty incident was far too spectacular. I believe there must be no fear for the return game, we have the means to beat them and I was very happy McKenna was back for the whole game (he had a decent one too). With Earnie back in the starting line-up they will feel us more in their defence, and we all know our team can pour in some goals when they are on their day!

    Now let’s stick with Billy’s advice and make the CG a cauldron! U REDS!

    PS I agree with Egor that Adam should have been booked.

    • I didn’t suggest that Blackpool were better, just had a consistent level of performance (that wasn’t as good as us in the first, but marginally better than us in the second). 🙂

      • It was not a mistake in use of times by a foreigner :). I wrote: Ithink Blackpool ARE by no means the better team (not WERE). So no reference to your report my dear friend nffc, just a general conclusion about the two teams’ strength.

  4. Pretty much exactly as I saw it Vassilis. I thought Phil Dowd started poorly and got worse, but I don’t think he was that biased (although at 2-1 a Blackpool mate did text me with the suggestion that Dowd had his shilling on a 3-1 blackpool win, so maybe I’m wrong).

    Blackpool are going to come at us at 100mph and try and nick an early one, but with a flat pitch and sensible weather we should be ok.

  5. i saw enough to be pretty confident for tuesday, there first goal was a proper shank, fair play the penno wass a penno, but charlie adam was lucky to be on the pitch, never mind staying for the return leg.

    all in all, it should be a good game tuesday, hopefully 4-4-2 will be the order of the day, and earnie is on song.

    by the way do we have the same incompetant ref, hopefully he sees his clangers on the replay and keeps them in mind….

  6. Alright Fellow Trickies,

    I thought the first half performance was very good indeed , we were very unfortunate not to have gone in 2 or 3 up and maybe on another day we would have but unfortunatley it’s another case of just not being clinical infront of goal. I think to limit the home side to just the one chance (albeit they scored) in the first half was testament to the teams performance.

    The 2nd half however , was dreadful! I have no idea what was said in the dressing room at half time but what ever it was clearly didn’t work. We stopped getting the ball wide to our dangerous wingers which had such joy in the first half and resulted to long balls. It may have been the difficult playing conditions, it may not but it was the same for Blackpool in the first half and they seemed to cope with ”attempting” to get the ball down and pass it.

    I was absolutley gobsmacked when Davies decided to bring on McGoldrick , why he didn’t bring Garner for a bit of power upfront , which would have helped with the long ball tactics we played in the 2nd half , not too mention the fact he’s scored twice in his last two outings?

    I think an early goal on Tuesday night to settle the nerves will do wonders and we could go on to win by 2 or 3 but IF the early goal doesn’t come , DON’T panic , stay behind the lads and lets sing our hearts out.

    Be positive and we’ll all be off to Wembley – all the best to each and everyone of you

    Youuuuuuuuu Redssssss

  7. I looked at my old man after 10 mins and we both said regarding the ref” HOMER.”We lack cutting edge in front of goal away from home I fear it will cost us the tie.

    Credit to Blackpool they graft and have huge team spirit, we dropped away in the second half and didnt play well at all.

    Forest havent convinced me this season when its came to one off games I think we still lack bottle as a side.I hate to say it but I fear it will be tears again on tuesday I just dont think were ready yet,

    U reds

    • Blackpool are a very dangerous team, and I felt that Forest’s big chance to put this whole tie to bed was in the first half, when we could have been 3-1 up. Blackpool just about always score ! Only Newcastle and WBA have scored more.That worrying statement may require Forest to win 3-0 to avoid the dreaded penalty shoot-out which we all just KNOW Forest would lose. It is one thing to score three goals, but it is an entirely different matter to HAVE to score three goals. Doesn’t sound so cosy now does it ? I have an awful feeling that those missed first half chances will come back to haunt us.

  8. I know referee’s get it wrong but I think we are focusing far too much on this fact. Isn’t anybody worried that this is the third match on the bounce that they have beaten us this season? The fact that the ref made some mistakes doesn’t detract form the fact that we still lost against this side again. Now we have all the pressure at home and we have to beat them by two clear goals to go through.

    I think this will go one of two ways we will lose again (1-0 to a chatty six yard scramble) or we will exorcise the past three defeats with a 4-0 thrashing. I just don’t see this as a tight one were we scrape through. In a weird way I’m looking forward to this much more than the other two playoff ties we’ve been involved in because this time I’ve never expected us to get to Wembley so I’ve got rid of a lot of those horrible nerves. Given what we have witnessed in our previous experiences I don’t hold much hope but you can be sure that I’ll be there screaming them on.

  9. On reflection, forest were the better team in the first half and blachpool were the better in the 2nd. Its not the worst result though.

    If we had drawn 1-1 we would still need to score a goal to win the tie. The same applies with the result at 2-1 in a way. If we score we are back in the tie(i know away goals dont count).

    I totally agree with Billy Davies though. WE the fans need to create the kind of atmosphere that will drive the team on and hopefully get the result we need.

    So lets sing our hearts out for the lads, make as much noise as we can and hope the lads can deliver. If we all put 100% in and we stil dont go through then its just not our year.

    It would be good to see if the city ground staff organise the message BELIEVE running across the brian clough stand held up by fans to inspire the lads as they come out the tunnel.

    U REDS!

  10. Ha ha David, you said ‘city ground staff’ and ‘organise’ in the same sentence!!

    Anyway, I happen to think we are lucky to still be in it to be honest.
    Yes we battered them in the first half, but we were dire in the second. Our long passing was pointless, Dex worked hard, but cant be expected to win long ball after long ball for 45 minutes. As a result he suffered and lacked the edge required when he had a couple of chances.
    Adam should have been booked for sure. But many a ref would have sent off Dexter and their full-back for the handbags, so….

    Its not all doom and gloom though. At least with Earnie back in the side we should have the class and quality needed to unlock their defence. I predict a 3-0 win!
    So, keep calm, sing loud and lets have our day at Wembley. It’s the least our boys deserve after such a fantastic season.

  11. I cant believe no-one above has mentioned the Mousse not even being in the squad. Where was he?!!!
    Personally, I thought that McKenna did ok but when they got on top of our midfield in the second half, Moussi would have been my first choice to come on but he was nowhere to be seen.

    We shall have to see which Forest turn up on tuesday night. If we play as we have at our best this season and Earnie is in his deadly finishing form, Blackpool won’t know what has hit them. However, if we are nervous or show them too much respect then I fear it will be Yeovil debacle all over again. It won’t be the end of the world if we lose (as it felt after Yeovil defeat) but it would be so good to get to Wembley this time!

  12. The moose has a groin strain mate

  13. I think being behind will be to our advantage as we have nothing to lose and we will be up for it right from the start.
    I´m sure we will do it !!!!!!

  14. Aylesbury

    Spot on if the Moose had been fit I think it would have helped. Nothing fror but to raise the roof tomorrow nite?

    Far have we travelled..
    Much Have we seen
    Goodison, Anfield are places we’ve been
    Maine Road, Old Trafford, still echo the sound
    Of the boys in RED from the CIty Ground.


    Sing it loud lets be proud.

  15. The lads have got it in them and so have our supporters … this is pay back time

  16. Lots to mull over here. I agree with some, the Moose would have been a welcome addition in the second half. I hope he’s fit for tomorrow night. Garner also would have been a preferred option over McGoldrick. Maybe he will make an appearance tomorrow instead.

    As for tomorrow’s game, Blackpool are turning it on at just the right time. Forest were shocking in the second half and nothing but the severest boll*cking should have followed. But I fear for the Reds as Blackpool seem to open up space with their 3 oddly positioned forwards, not being picked up properly. And they look like they have no nerves whatsoever.

    Personally I think Lynch would be a much better option that Perch. He looked out of his depth a few times in the game, not to mention the penalty were he dived in with nothing but blindless hope of getting the ball. If anything, Gunter has to play right back as he doesn’t look good either at left back. If they play Lynch, at least we will have two full backs in their respective positions.

    Nothing short of replicating what the lads did at West Brom will win this tie. Yes the reds have scored well and looked good against a host of teams this year but the West Brom victory was “the performance” of the season and we need another one of those. Otherwise I fear Blackpool might be just too good. Sorry about the negativism. My nerves are just stopping me from positive. But then you also have to figure into the equation the fact that I have just been made redundant, which of course clouds over the whole issue really (well for me at the moment).

    I just hope that the Reds give the fans something to cheer about tomorrow night come 10pm. We can all do our bit to help however by willing them along with every drop of sweat and blood required to give them an extra boost.

    U reeeds!

  17. Forest always up the tempo when they go behind.
    I hope for a clean sheet …For my nerves.
    Those of you going, Loud Boos every time a blackpool player gets the ball !!
    Frighten them to death !!
    YOU REDS !!!!

  18. pachuca red

    Lynch isn’t a left back, never has been, never will be. Why is everyone down on Perch he made the mistake for the penalty but otherwise looked ok.

  19. What I wanted to continue to say was that we lost the game in the second half because we lost the midfield battle. The skip was very poor and Adams ran the game. They ran at us with the ball and we didn’t handle that at all.

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