Lewis McGugan: Just like a new signing?

Lewis: Hard to find pictures of him in current kit - hopefully we'll see many more!

Preston North End – 1
Nottingham Forest – 2

Apologies for the title, couldn’t resist it (I suspect I might’ve lifted the idea from the LTLF forum where the phrase “… like a new signing” often seems to crop up in jest.

Lewis was probably the main talking point pre-match, elevated from the bench to a starting berth after an impressive appearance as a sub at the weekend, and he’s certainly that after the game too in a game that started to follow that frustrating pattern we’ve seen so often this season – but culminating in a a long awaited win, a first for this season, and a first on our travels since January and a first at Preston since the 1960s!

With Earnie nursing a hamstring injury (which should see him available for the weekend), and Billy’s typical tendency to be a little more defensively minded on our travels a 4-5-1 arrangement was eminently predictable, if not necessarily the personnel he’d squeeze into that shape.  The Moose was added to the mix for some physical strength, and perhaps the surprise was Raddy’s omission for McGugan.

Gunter    Morgan    Wilson    Bertrand
Cohen    McKenna    Moussi    Tyson

Obviously as with any Forest midfield, the specific positions are pretty fluid – but you get the general idea! A crowd of less than 10,000 came to witness the game, with around 1,500 from Nottingham according to Radio Nottingham – not a bad following at all on a Tuesday night, and I’m sure they’ll consider seeing us get our first three points of the season ample reward for their efforts!

It was the home side who made the earliest running, with less than two minutes gone Jon Parkin had a shooting chance which he put wide – but the Reds were soon on the offensive, McGugan already in the thick of the action playing a neat one-two with McKenna before unleashing a decent enough shot, which was saved well by Lonergan.

Moments later the words Nathan Tyson and Glorious Chance were inevitably paired up with ‘missed’, having initially done well to get the ball to Dex down the right he tore into the box to get on the end of the resulting cross, only to find himself not quite making decent contact from a mere four yards and seeing the chance go begging.

The Reds were building though and looking dangerous – Moose and Tys worked well together finding Lewis on the edge of the box, but he was only able to shoot over.  Gunts had our next chance, profiting from a poor Preston pass around half-way and burst forward, but his shot was straight at Lonergan giving the home side a big let off.

Lewis again was threatening with a shot across the goal and just wide after a neat short corner from Cohen and Tyson, but as ever as Forest craft chances without scoring some degree of nervousness kicks in – and not for the first time this season we found ourselves behind despite having by far the best of the half.

Preston were starting to get a bit of a foothold in the game, but as ever cheap errors cost us – Dex lost possession in midfield, gifting the ball to Coutts who burst forward to play the ball through to Parkin.  Gunter slipped, Wes couldn’t make a challenge count and somehow the enormously fat striker found himself one-on-one with Camp and made no mistake with a decent finish.

What a shit way to end the half.  Not being there tonight I avoided the radio (largely down to superstitions which I don’t normally have!), but did sneak on the internet a few times to keep abreast of proceedings – my gosh, what a negative bunch we have when things go a little awry – having had a chat with a couple of fans who watched, we did really play well and were behind – it’s not a conspiracy!

The second half started with Preston understandably with their tails up, an imaginary foul by Tyson on St. Ledger resulted in a freekick that was struck well and low by Treacy – Camp needed to be alert to make the save.  In the other direction an Anderson cross (on for Moussi) was heading Dex-ward but Lonergan was able to intervene and make the catch.

There were calls for a home penalty when the ball looked to have struck Morgan’s hand, the referee opting to give a foul on Morgan by fatty Parkin.  Some luck at last, the freekick was taken quickly – ending up with Tyson playing the ball to Lewis who moved it on ten yards or so with a run before unleashing a powerful low strike from 25 yards, the ‘keeper got a hand on it, but not enough to prevent the goal.

Preston hadn’t given up though – Paul Parry struck a great freekick which Camp, well, parried. Huh. I suppose it would’ve been rude not to!  From the resulting corner St Ledger was very close with a header – just off target which would’ve called for something superhuman to have kept out if it was on target.

The Reds were still going for it too, though – Tys crossed well from the left wing but Dex could only head over – and Lewis maybe should’ve sewn up his brace a little earlier after being sent clean through by Anderson but unable to beat the quick reactions of Andy Lonergan in the Preston goal.

Of course, we know we did finally get that winning away goal though  – and it was on the 80 minute mark, starting with Cohen out on the left, who crossed into the box, Dex touched it on to Lewis who belted into the roof of the next from well inside the area to give the Reds the lead – and, ultimately, the points.

Anderson should’ve sealed it after fellow sub Dele Adebola played him clear but he blazed wide of the target, and just as well for him Camp was alert enough to dive full length to deny Darel Russell an injury time equaliser which would’ve been harsh as well as a real pisser.  Elsewhere in the country Derby lost at Hull which puts them in the relegation zone!

A cracking result which should lift spirits of management, players and fans alike – it was becoming a bit fraught before.  An excellent result for Lewis who came in with a lot to prove, and well, two second half goals on top of an impressive first half performance speaks volumes, hopefully he seizes this opportunity and strives to consistently put in these kind of performances we know he’s capable of.

It’s great to hear how cheerful Billy was post-match too, whilst I pointed out before the press have a tendency to pick out the negatives and ignore or gloss over other things he says, it has been a difficult time – it’s great to hear undisguised glee from the wee fella at the Reds picking up a cracking result.

18 Responses

  1. Many thanks to my Reds for the wonderful birthday present!

  2. “The Enigma that is Lewis McGugan”!!! At half-time on Saturday, I tweeted about Lewis Mcgugan lamenting his attitude as contrary to all the other players on the pitch, HE was the only one chatting, going off to sign autographs on both sides of the ground and generally ‘arsing’ around!

    That said, when he came on as substitute, his impact was instant. I, like all of us, have admired his skill for years. He is an undoubted talent, but never mind what Billy says, I believe that Lewis needs to work on his attitude and if he does, he has the potential to go to the very top in the game.

    Remember Jenas – he went on to play for England and McGugan is better than that!

    I was surprised, but delighted to see him starting the game tonight and without doubt he put in an excellent performance – he is skillful, strong, looks fit and had a real appetite for the game. If he did make mistakes or lost the ball, he worked hard to win it back or force Preston to lose it. His two goals were both exceptional displays of skill and talent and probably amongst the cleanest hits of a football you will ever see.

    After both goals, he went over to deservedly ‘milk’ the applause from the Forest fans and on both occasions McKenna calmed him down and pulled him away. When he was substituted, it was McKenna who was the first player to come across to him, shake his hand and congratulate him on his performance. Billy pulled him off when he probably could (and maybe would) have gone on to get a hat-trick and together those scenarios suggest to me that there is some very careful management of McGugan’s mind and attitude going on.

    On tonight’s performance, Lewis McGugan may indeed represent the equal of ‘a new signing’ and I hope that finally his undoubted ability will rise to the fore.

    Tonight though was a real team performance with everyone playing a part and great credit must be shared by everyone who contributed to the win. I for one, look forward to visiting the KC Stadium on Saturday – I think it will be my 50th ground – another win would be a great way to celebrate!!

  3. Very positive. I think getting the goal against Millwall and the manner of their performance has boosted morale somewhat. Lets hope it continues on Saturday and Hull do us another favour by losing this time!!! Wonder how few away fans Dourby took this time.

  4. I was made up with this win credit to all the team and to lewis for his hard work .It has been a tough few months we need to really dig in now and show a fighting spirit it will benefit it us no end towards the end of the season.

    If we can snag a couple of decent loans this will lift all involved and we can settle down.Most fans often forget lewis is still a very young lad who was elevated at too young an age now he has a manager who will bring him on leeps and bounds.

    U reds

  5. We ALL know Lewis can change a game – but only when he can be bothered. His talent isnt in question – just his mental attitude. Billy’s job is to keep him focused and his mind on the job in hand.

    Great result

  6. Is this the same Lewis McGugan who has no future in football? 😉

  7. went to the game last night and couldnt believe how we were 1-0 down at half time. Preston are a very poor team and it was obvious if forest continued to press second half we could get back into the match.

    Mcgugan has that attitude which can make you a top player and his performance was top drawer last night, always looking to attack at every opportunity.

    The highlight of the evening after celebrating Mcgugans winner was when Billy came over to thank the fans at the end and got a brilliant reception. He may be a loudmouth at times and loves his QUALITY, QUANTITY and DEPTH too much but hes a brilliant manager at this level and we have to back him no matter what!

  8. Will Billy reward him with a start in Saturday, I hope so.

    I’m glad it’s looking like Lewis is “turning the corner” but we will see if it was just a one off

  9. What a great result for the Reds! We’ve broken our away-day hoodoo at last, gained the first win of the season and won at Deepdale for the first time since 1960! Add to that probably the most creative player on the books looks to have finally started to persuade the coaching staff that he wants to be a professional footballer! A good night all round and we are still the highest placed East Midlands team in the League (LOL).

    Has anyone else seen the following article:


    The Coventry City fans appear to think that Marlon King was at the game last night and will be signing for the Reds! I’m not quite sure how I feel about this (if it’s true).


    • I’d prefer king to come off the bench rather then adebola, I wouldn’t mind him coming back

      • I disagree. Apart from the morality of King’s conduct off-the-pitch, I feel that his attitude on the pitch has been patchy at best, whether that be before, during or after his time at the City Ground.

  10. Agreed; King was shocking @ Forest with the exception of a moment of brilliance against the Hammers.
    Mcgugan proved last night why he’s such an enigma; an incredible talent but needs to sustain form over a decent run of games for me to be truly won over. Anyway; maybe it’s not going to be a season of woe after all…

  11. having just watched he highlights on forest world was more impressed by this perfomance than the last 2.The team seem to be ticking again they are starting to know where to expect their team mates to be and the passing whilst not brilliant is getting better.As for young Lewis he has always had the talent just not the attitude is he due a new contract.If the attitude is genuine and continues on a regular basis he could be our version of Nolan from Newcastle last season and score on a regular basis.We can only hope so.I am a little more optimistic now that we have finally managed an away win albeit against a poorer team in the league however this should be a confidence boostr and if a favourable result can be achieved at Hull that will be a great boost for all concerned.
    Keep baking the reds.

    I will.

  12. Kind of irrelevant guys: Does anyone know where I can find pictures from the game for my files? Thanks in advance.

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