Reds lucky to earn a point against impressive Norwich..

Nottingham Forest – 1
Norwich City – 1

All in all, a frustrating afternoon at the City Ground.  Forest struggled to make too much impact against an impressive Norwich side, who threatened more than the scoreline suggests.  It’s true that we could have nicked a very ill-deserved three points but for the woodwork, but if we’re being totally honest, we were quite fortunate to end up with the point we did get!

Probably the most disappointing thing about the afternoon for me was the reaction of some supporters when Billy made two substitutions – when Raddy was withdrawn there were boos, when McKenna was taken off there were cheers.  For what it’s worth, I thought both substitutions were the right move given the way the game was going.  Scattered boos at full-time are also unhelpful at this stage of the season.

So anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself really aren’t I?  Back to the beginning and Billy started with a fairly predictable line-up:

Chambers   Morgan    Wilson    Bertrand
Cohen    McKenna    Majewski     Anderson
Earnshaw     Blackstock

We actually made a promising start early doors – well, very early doors -Chambers crossed a ball in well but we couldn’t get anything on the end of it and it was cleared by a Norwich defender.  Minutes later they were breaking, Chris Martin made mincemeat of Kelv and unleashed what looked like a certain goal only for it to crash back off post.  Then he hit it again after a freekick.

Norwich were not only breaking quickly and dangerously but they were doing a great job in holding up Forest trying to reciprocate, so it was a pretty frustrating time of it from a Reds perspective! Raddy pushed a throughball to Anderson but his cross was deflected back to their ‘keeper, in the meantime Camp needed to be alert to save from Korey Smith.

On a foray forward the ball was loose in the area with Dexter heading to it before being hacked down by a Norwich player, unbelievably the referee – in a great position – gave nothing, the Forest players were so shocked it took them a while to realise play was continuing.  I will be very interested to see the replay should it feature tonight on The Championship.

Minutes later I think the referee might’ve run a mental replay – because Paul Anderson took a tumble under a fairly soft looking challenge by Russell Martin and this time the referee did point to the spot.  Dex immediately claimed it, and put it low to the right – it needed to be in the corner too as Ruddy had guessed the right way and wasn’t far from making the save.

Forest didn’t capitalise on this piece of luck though – and Norwich grabbed a deserved equaliser only a few minutes later.  From our point of view a soft goal to concede – a fairly soft freekick was awarded which was played into a crowded penalty area – it was eventually flicked to Andrew Crofts who looped it into the goal – Camp looked to get a good hand on it but couldn’t keep it out.

Half time, and 1-1 felt a bit flattering to the Reds – we’d had one shot on target which was, irrespective of the earlier faux pas of the referee, a pretty fortunate penalty decision.  We’d struggled as we have lately to look particularly deadly in the final third and were getting cut open at the back rather easily.  Not exactly a comfortable place to be!

Moments into the second half Grant Holt – who’d been pretty quiet so far – attempted a pretty laughable dive to try to get a penalty, the referee waved this away but didn’t opt to book him.  Cohen had an effort from range which was always heading wide for me, but did seem to give Ruddy a bit of a last minute panic as he dived to make sure.

Indeed, Forest were looking better if not good.  Norwich continued to threaten mostly down their left where Chambers was often looking horribly out of position.  In midfield we struggled to keep possession, and without wanting to pick out scapegoats, Paul McKenna in particular really struggled to pick out his passes and doesn’t look particularly fit.

Moussi was introduced on the hour for the clearly-flagging Majewski who’d had little impact in the second half.  Some Forest fans apparently didn’t notice this as there were smatterings of discontent at the change, personally I thought it wasn’t a bad shout – I might’ve considered McGugan as a more like-for-like change, but still, those that booed, get a grip, please!

Again going forward, Earnshaw did well to find Anderson who was denied a goalbound chance by an excellent block from Barnett – this ended Anderson’s game apparently with a medial knee ligament injury – he was replaced by Nathan Tyson, who continued the theme Forest are developing of pressing and having possession, but not converting it to chances.

Norwich, on the other hand, whilst not dominating possession were able to fashion good chances – a great run from Holt left him clear on goal but Camp was quick off his line to block the angle and made a great save to deny the former-Reds striker the winning goal I’m sure he was desperate to snag for his new club.

Billy’s final change was to introduce McGugan at the expense of the flagging McKenna.  He’s not been the same player for me since just before his injury – he was very wasteful with the ball today and slow to move it on, hindering our attacking.  Having said that, the reaction of some of the crowd in cheering his departure was shameful.  Utterly shameful.

Earnie – working hard on very limited service from the midfield – had a chance with a snapshot which looked to be heading over but dipped viciously and looked to have the beating of Ruddy, but didn’t dip quite enough.  At the other end Drury played a delicious ball across the face of goal that no Norwich player could quite reach – the linesman tried to give a corner, but the referee overruled him.

It ended up quite end-to-end, Norwich continued to press and it looked like we might get a chance to hit them on the break when the ball fell to Tys on the left, but he couldn’t get his cross past the Norwich defender. We could’ve snatched an absolutely stolen win at the death when Earnie worked a bit of magic to fashion a bit of space in the area at an angle and unleash a shot but he saw his shot rebound off the post and back into play.

As the full-time whistle sounded there were chunterings and the odd boo, I can understand the frustration – at times this was a dull, dull game from a Forest point of view.  Norwich deserve credit for playing positively whilst also nullifying our play – and I imagine that the sizeable number of Canaries who made the trip will feel hard-done to that they didn’t leave the City Ground with three points.

17 Responses

  1. Have to say, as much as I dislike singling out individuals McKenna was really poor in his passing today. The Chris Martin chance when he hit the bar was as a result of an underhit pass to Wilson and the number of times he was unable to find a teammate was really worrying. Fair enough he may not be fit, but then don’t play McKenna, especially as Moussi was fairly impressive against Reading, and again we looked much better with him on the pitch.

    Slightly unfair to pick on Chambers I felt, once Anderson went off there was no right winger in front of him and he was constantly left with 2-on-1 situations against him. I actually thought he dealt quite well with Holt who was often pulling off towards his position.

    All in all a very frustrating day, while I will always support the players on the pitch we are in desperate need of some fresh blood to lift the team, as for the first time in a long time they looked a bit down and were arguing amongst themselves at times.

  2. Credit to Paul Lambert he is fast becoming a good solid manager whose teams play good solid football.I am surprised we came away with anything from this game things clearly arent right off the field and its showing on the pitch.

    We are a shadow of the side that pressed the ball last season and have lost the zip we had .Fresh blood is needed indeed I dont think we will get it.

    U reds

  3. I’d have to say that today mkenna was very poor. But this doesn’t at all suprise me, for all his enthusiasm and haranging of refs he’s a very poor passer of the ball, which explains why he’s played 500 odd games at this level but no one’s ever seen fit to take him to the prem. Reminds me of gary jones or neil shipperley, lots of effort but thats simply not enough. I’ve yet to be remotely impressed by him in a Forest shirt. For me Moussi is way ahead of him in all departments and should be first choice.
    I hope we can get a winger in soon as Anderson seems to get worse week on week, i’m sure when we first got him he used to actually try and take people on but i’ve not seen that for 18 months or so, and tyson will never be a winger.
    I dont wanna sound all negative but its hard to believe that we have a much weaker squad than we had a year ago.
    Never mind, i’m sure by Tuesday we’l have lots of new signings to talk about!

  4. Its quite surprising all this negativity. This time last season we hadn’t won and we’d been battered 4-2 by Watford at home. Today sounds like our fist bit of luck so far as the last 3 games I think we’ve been unlucky not to win 2 of them.

    As for McKenna, people have short memories. Yes he’s not playing well now and I agree if he’s not fit Moussi should be played instead, but people booing him. Thats outrageous, I bet the people pissing and moaning about him probably would of booed John McGovern. Siggsy did you watch ANY games he played in last season before the injury. He was one of the reasons we were doing so well. Unbelievable.

  5. City fan in peace. Brilliant and unbiased synopsis of the game. I had a poor seet which meant I really did’nt know by who or how the Norwich goal was scored. The pen was’nt; should have been given earlier but having said that, we all though Martin’s effort in the first few minutes was in all the way. For a neutral (not that I am), it was agreat example of two teams that try to play the right way.Good luck for the rest of the season..

  6. No point in repeating what the other astute observers have said, so I’ll confine myself to disagreeing with +ve comments about Chambers. From where I sat (Bgfd end of BC stand)I he had a terrible game. For too many times he just avoided tackles in the 2nd half when Norwich came down their left wing.

    I really wanted this to be our tunring point where we started to demonstrate potential to win matches. It obviously wasn’t so and I’m wondering when or how it will.
    Norwich were good and showed us up for being a disorganised team just now.

  7. Yes AB_DC i’ve got a season ticket and get to as many away games as i can. He definitely has a presence but he cant pass, simple as that! Wen he got injured i was quite relieved as I thought Moussi would get a game but Billy seemed reluctant to play him. Not havin Cohen in the middle to help him out doesn’t help tho, he’s wasted out wide

  8. I agree with most of the comments above, particularly those concerning McKenna. Unfortunately the guy is his own worst enemy and his desire to play for the cause means that he often plays when he shouldn’t. I think we have all witnessed his performance levels drop since January, however he and his Manager insist on continuing with his selection, when he clearly needs a rest. I am hopeful that the two week break we now have will help this issue.

    With regards to the performance, Forest were not on form today and the whole side needs (1) a rest, (2) more time on the training pitch with different formations and team line-ups, and (3) some useful additions to help best morale and energy. The loss of Anderson and McCleary both to injury could be very significant, particularly in the transfer moves. The squad is starting to creak and it’s worrying that Norwich have a larger squad than us – a bit of a theme on the back of the programme is developing here?

    My big concern is the reaction from (1) the players, (2) the fans and (3) Billy, if the Forest AP fail to land any new players! Today’s atmosphere showed a glipse of the frustration that the fans are beginning to feel and if things don’t improve off (and on) the pitch, there could be a VERY negative reaction in the stands.

    Let’s hope things improve and remember we’ve only lost one League game so far! You Reds!

  9. Bank Holiday Opening Times checky b@sterds

  10. Despite the frustration, the positive was that moussi had a great game when he came on. 2 seasons ago his passing was terrible but yesterday it was cultured and accurate.

    Now ando is injured we face a situation where one more injury or suspension means we CANT FILL OUR BENCH. SURELY even the AP can see the gravity of that situation. Most teams have periods in the season with 4-5 out. And most programmmes show squad lists 10 names longer than ours.

    Here’s hoping Tuesday brings relief not disappointment!

  11. Agree with most of the comments on here – McKenna is a good player but he’s just not on his game at the moment. Not been on it since his injury end of last season. I was at the Reading game too and was very surprised Moussi didn’t start this one. Cohen needs to be in the middle too.

    I’d also just like to mention that in my view McGugan has freshened us up a bit when he’s come on in the last 2 games, and I’d be tempted to give him a start against Millwall. At who’s expense I’m not sure but Dex isn’t exactly doing the business either is he…?

  12. The expectation levels of the vast majority of Forest fans are very high. Coming so close last season has made expectations for this year even higher. It has been a slow start and frustration is starting to show because most of us feel with some good signings we will have a great chance of finishing in the top 2. I would say dont panic!! It is a very long season and history shows mid table teams in January can win promotion.
    Please get behind all the team, I know Mckenna has not been the same since his injury last season, but his work rate and commitment are first class. If he is not fit then both he and the manager should decide he should be rested. Obviously Billy regards Mckenna’s experience as vital to the young team, which are still learning.
    It is long season and there will be set backs but keep the faith
    Come on u Reds

  13. I managed to get to the Norwich game, a rare treat for me and well, I wish I had picked any other day. Personally, I cannot believe that the same players make up the Forest Team as last season. Many said McKenna was poor and yes he was. He kicks it in the air all the time and does not break opposing play down like he did last season. I think many others could be singled out as well. Cohen just cannot pass and has no ability to read the game. Anderson, for all his pass is so scared to take his man on. Raddy is also just not the same as he was last year. And the sooner Camp stops kicking the ball long the better. Forest don’t have a wealth of very big players, why the hell does he boot it in the air? Rubbish.

    As good as Norwich were, which I don’t think they were since Forest had much more possession, Forest had nothing going forward. I do think there were some positives though. I though McGugan looked like he wanted to create something, Tyson was a million times better than Anderson and Moussi looks more solid in the middle than McKenna. It begs the question whether Billy will use them more often. I think the wind has been well and truly knocked out of the club with such a lack of signings (Bertrand being a good signing albeit the only one this summer) and it will be a few very long months until january where Forest will again show their inability to sign new players. I will be very content with 12th at the end of the season. I don’t think the lads are worth more than that. Shame really that the club couldn’t build on a great season last year and move us ever more forward. I guess it shows just how interested the Chairman et al are interested in getting the club back to the Prem.

    U reeeds!

  14. at the end of the day…we are NOTTINGHAM FOREST KINGS OF EUROPE!!!!….what the fuck has happened to this once beautiful club!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Scapegoats??
    How about the boo boys?

  16. After watching the game on Saturday I really don’t think you have too much to worry about. Earnie just needs more support. Two of the leagues best strikers were on the pitch today in Holt and Earnie neither did what we both know they they are capable of. Both clubs have a great fan base and are clubs which have premiership stature. Keep the faith and i’m sure we will both be there near the end of the season. With regards to the boo boys every club has them and they don’t help in ANY situation. I always enjoy my away days at Forrest, it still is a beautiful club with great history, we’ll both be back in europe before we know it!!

    Good Luck and keep the faith

    Del (Norwich)

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