Nottingham Forest – 2
Coventry City – 1
A really good positive start from the Reds was brought to juddering halt when Wes conceded a clumsy freekick (his second in a few minutes) by fouling Jutkiewicz which was swung in by Sammy Clingan only for Chambers to misjudge a clearance header and divert the ball into the top corner of his own net. Oops.
Still, smiles were restored with a spectacular equaliser from Raddy, and then the smiles were fixed as Chris Cohen’s freekick somehow ended up in the net without interference from the massed players in the box in the second half. Forest deserved the win, but left nerves jangling by not converting more of their chances as Coventry pressed at the death.
A forced change in line-up owing to Paul McKenna’s unavailability (although he was on the bench, so presumably either he’s missed some training or wasn’t quite mentally ready to start) saw vice-Captain Camp take the armband in a shuffled starting eleven that looked something like this.. with the usual ambiguity of where the midfielders were located..
Gunter Morgan Chambers Bertrand
Cohen Moussi Majewski McGugan
Early doors the Reds looked really up for it – McGugan was looking lively, and less than a minute was on the clock when he drilled a cross in low towards Earnshaw who was denied by a ‘keeper Westwood. A minute later Majewski played a fantastic throughball setting Tys free in the area, but as we often see he lacked composure and blazed over and wide with his left foot.
Coventry were offering very little at this stage, content to sit deep and invite Forest on to them – presumably with the aim of hitting on the break, there was no early indication of them managing this. Eventually another Reds move culminated in Moussi finding Majewski with room to shoot, but the midfielder put his shot wide of the post from the edge of the area.
McGugan performed some lovely trickery to get past two slovenly Coventry defenders and into the box, but blasted into the side-netting (although I think we got a corner from it so Westwood might well have made the save). A ball in to Earnie in the box looked on, but you can hardly criticise Lewis for fancying his chances with the form he’s been in.
Cohen was the next Red to fail to hit the target after another move, shooting over after another nice spell of passing. In the meantime our visitors did start to wake up a little – Wes committed his first foul on Jutkiewicz right on the edge of the box. The unpopular Marlon King struck the resultant freekick straight at the wall, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Five minutes later it was the away side celebrating, though. Another Morgan foul, another ex-Forest player taking the freekick – this time Sammy Clingan played a decent inswinging ball into the box, but even he must’ve been surprised to see it was Luke Chambers who planted a head to it and divert it into his own net to give the visitors a very flattering lead.
The goal reignited the Reds into something more like how they were performing prior to Coventry’s mini-incursion into our territory though, and when Cohen laid the ball back towards Majewski he only had one thing on his mind as he took a touch and shot powerfully from 25 yards, I’d need to see the replay but I think Westwood got a touch but couldn’t stop it going in. Another contender for goal of the month I’m thinking!
It wasn’t all one-way traffic now, though – and before the half time break made a spectacular save from a Clingan freekick as the Reds continue to look shaky from set-pieces. As half-time arrived it was with a sense of frustration of us not capitalising on our earlier dominance, delight at Raddy’s superb goal and concern that we looked susceptible.
The start of the second half didn’t do much to quell our fears – a Clingan corner was headed by Keogh and saved superbly by Lee Camp’s feet. The Reds were giving away possession cheaply and Gunnarsson ought still to be kicking himself for blazing over, unchallenged, as the ball broke to him at the edge of the box.
Slowly but surely Forest were waking up though, Westwood dallied with a clearance which Tyson got a block in on. The ball spun up and near to the goal-line, Tys got there but the effort was tame towards the goal on his weaker right foot. Top marks for the closing down in the first place, though! Westwood was having an unusually shaky game distribution-wise, usually he impresses me.
Minutes later we had the lead that would secure us the three points, though – a freekick from far out on the right touch line was taken by Cohen, swinging in it evaded everyone in the box and nestled delightfully in the corner to give us the lead – with most of the people around me asking each other who’d got the killer touch. Nobody, it went in direct! Well done, Chris!
As is the way, we started to get a bit nervous after this – countless opportunities were handed to the visitors as we flagrantly gifted them possession, with strains of she said no, Marlon… she said no (to the tune of ‘kumbaya’), it might have impacted the controversial striker as he glanced a header wide then fired into the side netting.
Aside from a couple of clumsy attempts at timewasting in the corners which we’re so rubbish at I don’t know why we both, the half ended with mostly ineffective Coventry pressure. A few finger-nail-biting moments occurred in the penalty area before the assistant referee put up the board to show six minutes of added time (which seemed excessive to me!).
The only chance in stoppage time again fell to the sex pest, this time he was on target but fortunately Camp was equal to the effort with another fine diving save. After a long wait the whistle came and the celebrations could begin in earnest, a tricky few days off the pitch capped off with a deserved win over opponents who’ve been on a decent run away from home.
In a week when their seniors at the club have hardly covered themselves in glory with their childish and clumsy manipulations of the media, it’s great that the players at least are doing their talking on the pitch. A mostly fine performance – although still some warning signs there with another very sloppy goal conceded, but I’m definitely concentrating on the positives.
I really look forward to seeing the highlights as from where I was sat the strike from Majewski might well give Lewis a bit of competition on the spectacular goal stakes! As I left the ground I was dearly hoping that the late rendition of ‘She said no, Marlon’ had been made up by A Block but alas it’s not a City Ground original – it was great, nonetheless!
A run of 27 games unbeaten at home (as ever, ignoring the play-offs) is a fantastic run, and a good performance and win to give us something positive after all the uncertainty is the perfect preparation for what will prove to be the tricky prospect of Queens Park Rangers coming to visit us at the weekend.
Filed under: Matches |