A point on the board, but Reds frustrated by Leeds..

Dex gives the Reds an early lead

Nottingham Forest – 1
Leeds United – 1

A bit of a frustrating afternoon, a sparkling 25 minutes from the Reds was followed by a fairly pedestrian performance.  Both Forest and Leeds are pale imitations of their more prestigious forbears, the Reds struggled with the ability to pass the ball with much accuracy, whilst Leeds stuck with the dirty tag but without the skill.

Certainly it wasn’t a very entertaining match – neither ‘keeper having a fat lot to do after picking the ball out the net respectively – both having made decent stops before conceding.  Forest continue their slow start to building up a momentum this season and Leeds continue to acclimatise to moving up the leagues and with a few injuries to key players.

A fairly predictable line-up from the Reds saw Anderson in for Tyson in a four-four-two (almost) formation, but with Cohen and Anderson inexplicably on the ‘wrong’ wings – which never ceases to infuriate!

Gunter    Morgan    Wilson    Bertrand
Cohen    McKenna    Majewski    Anderson
Blackstock    Earnshaw

Forest came out of the blocks very quickly – a couple of minutes in a nice ball from Cohen gave Gunts the chance to get a cross in towards Dex, his flick on was met by Raddy – rather unknowingly I suspect – but Kasper Schmeichel was in the right place to stop the accidentally goalbound effort from giving the Reds the lead.

However, the Reds kept pressing – and were rewarded with an early goal.  A cracking first time cross from Gunter was glanced into the corner of the goal by Dexter Blackstock to give Forest a well-deserved lead and finally quieten down the noisy visiting fans.  It was unlucky not to be two a few minutes later too, Earnie finishing off a nice passing move by hitting the post for the second time in two games with Schmeichel well beaten.

The momentum was lulling though, as it seems to when we snag early goals, and Leeds started to get a foothold in the game – Becchio, playing a challenging loan striker role, would perhaps expected to have scored when put clean through but Camp was out quickly to block his effort at source – but the warning signs were starting to show from the Reds whose passing was becoming wayward.

Their equaliser came after 36 minutes, Wes had given the ball needlessly with a sloppy across-the-goal pass and the visitors worked it to the left wing where an excellent cross from Bradley Johnson was glanced into the far corner of the goal by Lloyd Sam – a very similar goal to the Reds goal aside from Sam’s position more front-post than central as Dex had been.

For the remainder of the half it was certainly the away side marginally the more dangerous, but without any real chances created before half time.  Forest had a long range effort from Anderson that wasn’t far over, but I can’t think that Schmeichel wouldn’t have had a pretty good idea it wasn’t on target.

At half time I was feeling a bit hard done by – whilst the goal conceded was excellently worked it was down to sloppiness in possession by us in the first place, and once again we found ourselves in a position where whilst we’d capitalised on one chance created, there were other opportunities where we should’ve done better with the final shot (or more often than not, pass that should’ve been made instead of a shot).

The second half wasn’t set to improve our mood – both teams were, at times, frankly awful in possession.  Leeds were looking more confident coming forward, excellent work from Sam saw him in the area at a tight angle, he blasted across the face of goal and just a touch from the numerous Leeds players in the box would’ve surely seen them take the lead – luckily for us it went straight through.

Uncharacteristically Billy opted for a fairly early substitution, putting McCleary on for Anderson – and not long after Tyson replaced Raddy, who’d had a good start to the game but faded fast.  It didn’t seem to make much difference and it was still Leeds pressing and asking all the questions – a freekick from Watt wasn’t far wide of the mark.

Leeds looked dangerous from crosses too – one came over which Camp flapped at but recovered well to smother, getting a boot in the face for the privilege.  Amidst jeers of him being soft from the away end it was evident his face was pissing blood – amusingly he wiped some off in a gesture to the travelling fans before pointing to his Forest badge.  There was a sizeable stoppage whilst he was patched up and changed his shirt.

I didn’t quite see what happened after this, apparently Gunter stood on the Leeds player Watt, which probably explains why the latter went running after him and appeared to punch out at his head.  The referee lost control and clearly didn’t see either incident so opted to simply book both players and not take any action over the numerous Leeds players who’d been manhandling our players around the area.

Billy was warming up the remainder of his subs and it was with some anxiety we speculated who’d feature.  We’ve started referring to Dele Adebola as ‘The Towel’ – as, much like in boxing, he’s the thing we throw on when we’ve given up.  Instead he went for Moussi to beef up our midfield which was being kicked about a lot, at the expense of Dex, with Tys pushing forward more.

Once again it really didn’t change the game in our favour – Leeds continued to look the more likely to get something, Kilkenny had a decent effort from range, and finally the Reds had something approximating a break that might’ve seen us nick an undeserved winner – but having burst down the left despite being held, Tyson’s cross was easy for Schmeichel to gather.

The game left me disappointed as Leeds didn’t appear particularly good opponents, but we only matched them at best over the course of the game so a draw was probably a ‘fair’ result – but after such a flying start it was frustrating that Forest couldn’t reproduce that level of performance in the second half.  As Billy said post-match, a naive performance in many ways.  I hate to join the throng of fans banging on the ‘new signings’ drum – but boy, it would be nice to get some!