Leicester City – 1
Nottingham Forest – 0
A disappointing evening really – the highlights of which were glimpsing Aaron Ramsey in a Reds shirt (clearly unfit, but some nice touches), slipping past the security outside the turnstiles so escaping the police escort, and being threatened with a slapping on Twitter whilst despondently attempting to look on the bright side of life… so not much, really!!
With Earnie suffering from illness he made way in the starting eleven – but that wasn’t sufficient for either of the new boys to get a starting berth, instead Anderson was restored to the first team with Earnshaw on the bench along with Ramsey and Tudgay (and Wilson, Majewski, Smith and Tyson).
The starting line-up in that case looked like this – theoretically a 4-2-3-1 I think, but with the scope to go either 4-5-1 or 4-3-3..
Gunter Morgan Chambers Bertrand
McCleary McGugan Anderson
The first half wasn’t that bad (with the luxury of knowing how bad the second half would become I suppose). Both sides struggled to get a foothold in the game early doors – but in the opening exchanges the Reds didn’t look too bad – albeit struggling to convert possession and pressur ein to much by the way of reasonable chances.
One more than reasonable chance would fall for Dele Adebola – good work from McCleary saw the winger put a decent cross in to the back stick where the lumbering frontman was making a decent run – but could only turn it over with his favoured left foot. He was under pressure from a Leicester defender but it has to go down as a pretty shit miss for the frontman.
At the other end Cohen scythed down King on the edge of the box, earning himself a yellow card and gifting Leicester a freekick. They duly spannered it into our wall courtesy of Paul Gallagher so not too much damage done – but the home side were certainly in the ascendancy. Indeed, moments later a shot from Bednar (I think) looked sure to go in but for a goal-line block from Chambers.
Moments later it had rebounded for another clear goalscoring opportunity which Camp managed to hurl himself infront of – the Reds eventually desperately getting the ball clear. All in all, it was starting to look a bit ropey for Forest – with the home side battling harder and starting to build pressure on Forest.
Then an enforced change – not ideal. Dele, who is limited admittedly – but a useful outlet when you’re under the kosh – had been struggling for some time with an injury. He was eventually withdrawn for Robbie Earnshaw, slightly surprising – I was half expecting to see the not-exactly-massive-but-bigger-than-Earnie Tudgay sent on, but no, t’was the until-recently-ill Earnie we sent into the fray.
It looked to be a stroke of genius, as he was placed perfectly to pick up a wayward header to get in between the defence and Chris Weale with the ball at his feet. He took a touch forward and went for the shot which was excellently saved by the Leicester ‘keeper. Hard to imagine any striker looking for the pass – but Anderson was well placed for a square ball, and indeed, I quite fancied Earnie’s chances of taking the ball ’round Weale who was out very quickly.
Leicester were soon on the attack again though, and when Lee Cap had horribly misjudged a ball in it looked like Vassell had managed to do enough to notch the first goal, but as the inexplicably capped striker sat waiting expectantly to celebrate Luke Chambers was again the saviour as he strode back to hook his foot around the ball and get it clear before crossing the line.
There was more than a hint of us flying by the seat of our pants. The half came to a close with the home side still pressing – the last chance of note falling to Gallagher who must still be quite unhappy with his effort from twelve yards which missed the target by not-quite-enough for us to feel fully comfortable.
It wasn’t going to get much better in the second half either – as suggested above. Moments into the half the Reds were definitely second-best as Leicester worked their way through our defence and brought an excellent point-blank save from Lee Camp. A dangerous ball in by ‘diving bastard’ Wellens nearly found Bednar in the box but for a timely interception from Lee Camp.
Just as Ramsey was being prepared to come on for the Reds the home side took the lead – good work from Vassell saw him hold on to the ball under the attentions of three Forest defenders. His effort on goal wasn’t great, but it deflected across the six yard box off Camp and found Andy King unmarked in a great position to tap the ball into the pretty much open goal to give the home side a probably deserved lead.
Ramsey now did come on, replacing Cohen – and immediately had a few decent touches in midfield. Moments later Nathan Tyson replaced the increasingly quiet Lewis McGugan as the Reds went into ‘shit or bust’ mode. Unfortunately, all it seemed to do was disrupt whatever shape that we had had earlier in the game, and Forest struggled to fend off Leicester in waves of attacks.
King tried to add a second but opted for a nigh-on impossible looking level of curl to beat Camp. At the other end Tys burst well down the right (going outside the linesman!) and put in a decent ball into the box, but Anderson wasn’t quite able to beat his defender to the ball. Moments later a snapshot from Tys brought an excellent save from Weale.
Leicester had withdrawn Bednar for Steve Howard, who was on the end of a cracking cross from King but Camp was equal to it with a cracking save – and to Forest’s eternal lack of credit today we struggled to prevent Leicester continuing to put pressure on almost ’til the final whistle. A very disappointing performance – particularly in the context of recent excellence at Cardiff – against not particularly gifted opponents.
Another inept refereeing performance too – he rightly waved away two pathetic dives from Wellens in the area but opted not to book the diving bastard. He later missed what looked a more credible shout for a penalty for the home team – and another when Earnie was cropped in the area (the referee wasn’t looking, but his assistant was).
Having had a little referee moan, it wasn’t down to him we lost – we deserved to lose on today’s showing – Leicester wanted the game more and but for excellent saves from Camp and some solid defending from Chambers we could have been looking at more than a mere 1-0 deficit. I imagine the commemorative DVDs will follow for those Leicester fans who couldn’t make it judging by the empty seats in the ground.
A disappointing nights work indeed from the Reds – the few bright points being excellent performances from Camp and Chambers, and getting a glimpse of Ramsey who will hopefully have easier circumstances in which to contribute to the cause in the future. As for me, let’s look forward to the visit of Bristol City at the weekend and put this ignominious performance behind us.
And on the bright side, for we must look at that – I managed to escape Leicester in record time compared to recent visits, and avoid a slapping by any over-sensitive Tweeters on my way back to Nottingham. A scant reward, but one must be grateful for what one can get!