The Reds see off Swansea with a McGugan brace..

Two goals, three points - well done Lewis!

Nottingham Forest – 3
Swansea City – 1

Phew, that feels better doesn’t it?  We have had a pretty good run of results against Swansea of late – often slightly undeservedly I might add too – but today there was only one team in it, and it’s great to see after only being one up at half time, the Reds managed to weather a brief second half storm to take the game beyond doubt.

As even when things go well, we still succumb to sloppy goals – and today was no different, a decentish save from Camp perhaps should’ve been put behind rather than back into play.  That shouldn’t detract from a decent performance from the Reds though against a team that haven’t looked the same since Martinez left them.

Earnie wasn’t fit to even make the bench with his thigh strain, Wilson was on the bench with Chambers retaining his spot in central defence – Billy opting to shore up midfield at home rather than play two up front:

Gunter    Morgan    Chambers    Bertrand
Anderson    McKenna    Moussi    Cohen

Whilst I make a formation up as such – Cohen and Anderson did swap around a bit, and in particularly Anderson, McGugan and Blackstock seemed to alternate being the most forward, with Moussi generally found tailing future Reds player (arf) Darren Pratley, with McKenna on hand to step in should he evade the big Frenchman.

A positive start for the Reds saw us stinging the palms of De Vries in the Swansea goal after just five minutes, a decent strike from Cohen from the left edge of the area was parried by the Swans ‘keeper back into play, Dexter was lurking for the rebound but Neil Taylor was alert enough to put it out for a corner before the striker could get to it.

Forest continued to press and Gunter was the next to test the visiting goalie, cutting in from the right he shot from a tight angle which was saved by De Vries at the expense of another Reds corner.  With a mere ten minutes on the clock we’d been awarded a penalty by the referee – which is fortunate, because the linesman didn’t look like he wanted anything to do with it!

Dex had picked up the ball in the area and knocked it away when he saw De Vries coming at him, the ‘keeper bringing down the striker.  A bit soft, but I think technically correct.  De Vries picked up a booking for his troubles whilst it was Lewis who grabbed and spotted the ball rather than Dex.  He confidently struck it into the bottom right hand corner, sending the keeper the wrong way. (video courtesy of winnits from LTLF).

Swansea reminded me of Hull last week, and of Forest at their most frustrating – they had some possession but rarely converted that into chances – although at times Nouble looked like he might cause some problems, but Wes marshalled him pretty well.  Forest were making chances though, Anderson broke well and crossed to Gunter and a last gap challenge stopped a proper attempt on goal.

The half hour mark saw Swansea’s first attempt on target, a fairly tame shot from the edge of the area from Joe Allen which Lee Camp didn’t have much difficulty in stopping.  The Reds swept forward after this, with a delicious move where Wes moved forward, played to Dexter who one-twoed with Anderson whose final shot was excellent, as was De Vries’ save to deny it for another Reds corner.

But still, with the Reds even playing well and containing their opponents you worry when they only have a one goal lead.  Swansea were breaking well on occasions, and the lively Dyer probably should have done better after breaking down the right and putting in a firm cross that Camp was able to get to before Nouble.  That was pretty much half time.

The second half saw Swansea coming out like a side with a flea in their ear as they were looking a lot more up for it from the start – a lot of play in our final third, but again, not many chances created.  The Reds caught them with a suckerpunch in a bit of a role reversal of what usually seems to happen to us.

Gunter was well forward down the right and played inside to McGugan on the edge of the area who jinked to the left to beat one defender, then rather than hitting it jinked again to the right and fairly casually put the ball into the right of the goal without De Vries even moving – a lovely goal which gave the Reds a deserved cushion albeit against the run of play.

The game was, in honesty, pretty stagnant for much of the time, indeed I recall very little in the sixteen minutes that passed from McGugan’s second goal until Billy opted to make a double substitution, with the hard-working Anderson and goal-scoring hero McGugan withdrawn for McGoldrick and Majewski respectively.

This was Anderson’s best performance in a while for me, indeed, with McGugan obviously standing out and Moussi and McKenna standing firm at the back it was unusually Cohen who looked a bit out of sorts in midfield.  He still worked his arse off, of course – just didn’t seem to be quite up to his usual standards.

Swansea were starting to ask a few more questions though, Camp needed to be alert to save at the feet of Van der Gun with a few minutes remaining.  Dexter was the next player withdrawn for the Reds for Dele Adebola who immediately headed the ball out for a throw-in after Chambers had worked hard to keep it in, it was to get better though…

All three subs were involved in the final goal for the Reds, McGoldrick playing the ball through to Dele who crossed to Raddy, who shimmied past the last defender before sliding the ball neatly past De Vries into the Trent End goal with his left foot (I think!).  Of course, Forest being Forest, they let in a silly consolation goal which takes a bit of the shine away from the result.

Camp perhaps should’ve either kept hold the ball or at least parried or punched it to safety when a fairly tame shot came in from range after some late Swansea pressure, instead he palmed it to Van der Gun who still had quite a bit to do from a tight angle – but a good finish gave the small number of travelling Swansea fans a rare moment to cheer, although they still didn’t look too happy!

All in all, a very pleasing performance – the Reds showed a bit of mettle in nullifying the admittedly limited threat posed by our opponents, but showed more ruthlessness going forward too.  There’s still room for improvement here, of course, but it’s great to get three points on the board at home.  Well done boys!