Magic McGugan spares defensive blushes… AGAIN!

Watford – 1
Nottingham Forest – 1

Another draw on the road falls somewhere between the boundaries of good result and a slight disappointment.  Of course, such simple statements aren’t generally enough to summarise a whole game – yet another disappointing goal conceded doesn’t account for the chances the home side later spurned, but well, that’s the point of a match report isn’t it?

With only Kelv suffering from a back injury, Billy had near enough a full squad to select from –  and took advantage of this choice to make a few changes to the starting line-up, restoring both Earnie and Dex to the line-up with an unusual switch to a 4-4-2 away from home – could that spell something a bit more positive than usual on the road? It looked like this:

Gunter    Morgan    Chambers    Bertrand
Cohen    McKenna    McGugan    Anderson
Earnshaw    Blackstock

It took just three minutes for things to go wrong for the Reds, and it was another one of those goals.  They’re becoming all too common – a good cross from Danny Graham found Jordon Mutch, who had the absolute freedom of the penalty area to stroll into position and casually nod the ball past Camp from around ten yards out.  Deeply frustrating.

This early set-back didn’t exactly set the Reds going either – it was fifteen minutes on the clock before Forest started to click, Gunter finding McGugan but the midfielder lost the ball in an attempt to turn.  Lewis was again involved with an excellent ball to Earnie, but the striker was unable to pull the trigger to threaten the home goal.

In terms of recent attacks it was third time lucky, and it was magical McGugan again – Dexter found him lurking around 35-40 yards out, he took the ball in his stride, moved forward about ten yards before unleashing another stunning goal to go with his collection this season.  Goal number eight for the midfielder in just ten games.  We should really get him signed up to a new contract.

McGugan again was centre to things happening for Forest, and Dex should perhaps have done better when he was found on the edge of the area by Lewis – Scott Loach was able to get a block in to prevent him doing too much damage.  Ultimately the ball ended up out for a goal kick with the danger over.

Watford had the last say in the first half – Troy Deeney evaded Wes Morgan and brought a tremendous save from Lee Camp, although the ‘keeper was only able to rebound the ball into the danger zone so Gunter needed to be on hand to put in a block at the expense of a corner.  Camp flapped at and missed the resulting corner – fortunately Gunts again was on hand to spare his blushes on the goalline.

So half time, and a fairly fair 0-0 – both sides had had chances to advance beyond stalemate.  The most pressing concern though was a fire in the toilets of the away end – with a number of Forest fans being temporarily evacuated as smoke billowed out.  If it wasn’t the away end I’d consider being suspicious of an insurance job.

The second half did eventually get underway though – and it was high-paced to begin with.  The home side putting real pressure on the Forest area with a series of dangerous crosses that we managed to keep their forwards at bay.  At the other end McGugan tried another long range effort but put it just wide with Loach looking a bit panicked.  He even tried again – but again, just missed.

Earnie – who’d struggled to get the better of Watford’s beast of a centreback – was withdrawn for Tyson.  The Reds did have the odd chance though – Anderson did well to nod the ball back across goal but Dex couldn’t get it under control, a decent cross from McGugan was met by a Nathan Tyson diving header which was just wide.

Watford were still providing a serious threat on the break though, Graham was picked out by Mutch and it was a decent block from Chambers that prevented the prolific striker from geting a shot in on target.  Perhaps a negative move really, McGugan off for Adebola with Tys moving back into midfield.  With the likes of Raddy and McGoldrick on the bench it does seem a bit over-cautious.

McKenna put in a decent ball towards Blackstock who couldn’t get anything on it, and it bounced just out of range of Dele too, shortly after Tys found Cohen whose shot from the edge of the D really should’ve been hitting the target but went just wide.  The last break came to the home side – Sordell (on as a sub) wasn’t able to beat the Reds defence who scrambled it clear.

All in all, it’s a point away – that’s generally decent – but as ever we don’t seem to be able to match our home levels of performance on the road.  Watford are good side, but have been on a poor run – particularly at home – but factor in our own poor run on our travels and I suppose we were a similar match in terms of confidence.  So I can’t quite make my mind up between satisfied and disappointed – I’m somewhere in between.

Apparently Billy was interviewed before the game and still resumes the ‘we need to strengthen’ diatribe.  Whilst I agree with him, it’s getting a bit repetitive – and indeed, you would hope that the local journalists might think of something else to talk to him about.  Whatever his wants, Billy has more to work with than many in this league, and needs to start getting the best out of it.

Disappointed too to see that Lee Camp has shaved off his beard – although it was perhaps in poor taste that we’d started to refer to him as ‘the ripper’, so maybe it is for the best… I wouldn’t mind us looking like an archetypal mid-table side so much if Derby weren’t on such an impressive run at the moment, they’ve just gone 2-0 up against Portsmouth too as I type.  Bah.

14 Responses

  1. Good review, I agree with all of it. I’d have taken a draw before kick-off, but I wish we could have played a bit better. i’ve been to maybe half-dozen Watford v Forest, and they’ve mostly been pretty toilet games. I blame them.

  2. Billy raising the stakes in his post match interview trying to stoke the fire again.We have stalled as a club no doubt about that we should be on the coat tails of Cardiff and QPR.

    This was a draw even before kick off but a decent point well done Lewis.If we dont sign anyone in the January window I think Davis will walk.

    And to be fair if I was him so would I .

  3. Great that lewis’ magic is continuing, but really, it is the strikers that need to take a good look in the mirror. They are letting the team down for the second season. We just don’t score enough from the front two.

    Come on earnie, dex, goldie, dele – GET IT TOGETHER!

  4. Nice report; but you didn’t mention when Watty hit the crossbar – that was a worrying moment! I was one of the “evacuated” fans – was really funny being let out of a stadium and being let in.
    Also NFFC – you must have great eyesight because I find it really hard at Watford to see what is going on in tje opposite goalmouth!

    Shame on fans driving in a robin hood van – put fingers up at me when passing me thinking I was a Watty fan – when I showed them my Forest ticket, they still gave me the finger!
    Who are these idiots?
    Mcgugan goal looked incredible from the away angle!

  5. One of my best friends is a Derby fan, and so I feel their upturn in from all too keenly. However, they are only 4 points better off than us at present and we can easily make that up. Having said that, it is not often that Billy is wrong, and I agree with the diminutive Scot that we are destined for mid-table this season. My heart tells me we’ll get more on the other hand.

  6. A draw at Watford is a good result, particularly in our current predicament. I’ve just listened to Billy’s post-match interview on the BBC website and it worries me…

    He is either: (1) Very annoyed and poising himself for a show-down or giving himself an excuse to leave in February when we don’t sign anyone (again); or (2) He is 150% confident in the backing of the Chairman and he feels that he can get away with saying some of the things he does in the media.

    My gut feeling is that currently the truth lies somewhere in between and Billy is dripping out little tit-bits of information to us fans via Radio Nottingham about what is happening behind the scenes. To be honest I wish he wouldn’t do this as all it does is add fuel to the rumour mill and allows the negative fans to have a field day with their conspiracy theories….

    I would say that our squad does look thin and still has a League One feel to it – Tyson (not good enough), Cohen (inconsistent – my favourite player incidently), Chambers (inconsistent), Adebola (past it), McCleary (just can’t get in the team enough), McGoldrick (short on confidence), Raddy (second season syndrome) and then look at Bennett and Garner at the moment – neither of these players are doing exceptionally well at their respective loan clubs! Thank goodness Lewis has turned himself around and we are reaping the rewards and our captain has sorted his head out too. If Earnshaw can kick-on from Tuesday then maybe things will improve, BUT Forest are exactly where I thought they would be this season (and last season to be honest) – mid-table. They can only prove me wrong with additions, as this is a much closer and harder League this time around.

    Alot of what Billy says is true, or turns out to be true, but he really needs to stop getting wound up and keep his mouth shut for a bit. Everyone will be going round in circles now this week and god help us all if we lose to QPR on Saturday! Concentrate on coaching Bill and get the players ready for their two home matches. Also, why not swallow your pride and consider bringing in a loan player or two to lift morale on and off the field.

    Two hard games coming up lads and we all need to be behind the team – COME ON YOU REDS!!!

  7. Gavster,

    I agree with lots of your comments regarding the team still having a leage 1 feel to it.Lots of the players you mentioned are not able to cut it at the top end of the table billy is not daft he knows that.Too many Forest fans get sentimental about guys like tyson he has struggled at this level and is always injured.

    However billy has to work with the bricks he has Lewis is carrying the whole side at the moment .Our forwards are really out of sorts which is a big worry to me and the defence with Chambers in it will always leak goals.

    Davis will leave in January if we dont sign anybody it will be a farce and I dont blame him really.Or there will be a major bust up I feel ND has let him down regarding building the team they havent backed him SIMPLE.

    Bringing in loans for the sake of it is a false economy Smoulderwood used to do it it doesnt work .If the AP were as good as BD at ther job we would be top of the leage and flying i believe.

  8. why is it not ever billy’s fault ?

    when we had new players his excuse was other teams have been together for 2-3 years years. now we have players who have experience playing together we are too young and inexperienced.
    the squad is almost the same as last year with no injuries. 3 of the 5 strikers signed after billy turned up.
    why does he not accept that they are not scoring and he has some responsibility for this ?
    yesterday we let a soft goal in and straight away teflon billy tells us he had warned the team about this !!
    coming out in the press expressing his desire to buy new players must only make the clubs chances of buying players harder as we look desperate. in the summer everyone knew we wanted players , who they were and how much cash we had in the pot….. christ sake as club we should never take up poker…

    well done to lewis yesterday, not the line up i was hoping for tbh, however a point is a good result. my biggest concern is the lack of goals from the forwards. without lewis this season we would have 10 points. this would put us at the bottom of the league.

  9. sorry 12 points, but still not good 🙂

  10. Agreed, we seemed to get into comedy flaps with confidence fluctuating. Chambers is a league one player and tyson looked shakey but remembering him against norwich he can still come on and up the whole pace of attack so should stay on as a super sub. Dex has been getting more and more inconsistent like he keeps switching off, I wonder if he feels marginalized now Lewis is so on form? As for dele, he plays like me and looks so out of it. Daniel were you outside the chippy when the bus went past? Looked like the usual group of lads pissed on carling with the usual king of the kids egging them on. That said it was a good atmosphere, stood up for the whole game and we were definitely the loader fans. West London clubs are always quiet for some reason.

  11. I really do wonder what Wee Billy is up to. He’s a master at media manipulation and I feel his post match rant is all part of a game, only he knows the rules to.

    Slowly, it appears to me, he will make his postion untenable and leave the Chairman with no option but to let him go. BUT if this does happen, it will only be when Billy wants it to.

    Good manager as he undoubtedly is, Im getting more and more irritated by his antics. I dont want to focus on the manager and “second guessing” his mind games. I just want to focus on the football, good or bad as it may be.

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