Best game in history?..

Nottingham Forest – 5
Derby County – 2

Perhaps not the best game in history, but our best scoreline over Derby – who are the worst team in history – and one hell of a way to round off the Christmas period, so the pun was irresistible.  What a way to preserve our unbeaten home league record for the full calendar year of 2010.  Whilst the game played out more to form, this one always had ‘potential banana skin’ written on it, such is the nature of this.

A surprisingly unfeisty encounter – where a dispassionate and shambolic Derby side were summarily despatched with a – whilst handsome – scoreline, one that, if anything, is pretty flattering to our visitors rather than ourselves – as we spurned countless other opportunities to make the net bulge whilst conceding two incredibly sloppy goals – one a good finish, but poor marking, the other a scuffed freekick that shouldn’t have been given.

But still, these are but mere perfectionist quibbles in what was for Forest fans a very pleasant evening’s work from the boys in Red – not that there weren’t jangling nerves, that’s par for the course with this fixture!  Billy’s team selection as usual defied prediction:

Gunter    Morgan    Chambers    Bertrand
Ramsey   Moussi    Majewski    Tyson
Earnshaw    Tudgay

I was particularly surprised – with no disrespect intended – to see Tyson starting, until I saw that Derby had opted to put Dean Leacock at right back.  Aside from the fact he has no pace, vision or ability, it was of course Leacock amongst others who caused the whole corner-flag incident to, well, become an incident rather than just Tys running around with a flag!

Derby kicked off, and spooned the ball forward ending up with Lee Camp, the next touch they would get would be to concede a corner, which was expertly taken by Raddy Majewski – finding Chambers quite far out, and with at least three Derby shirts surrounding him, to plant a very well taken header into the roof of the net.

What is it about Derby and early goals?  2 minutes on the clock, one nil to the Reds.  However, the Rams struck back on 14 minutes.  Forest’s marking was pretty atrocious and a burst forward from Bueno saw the loan man feed a decent ball through to fellow loanee Luke Moore who was able to beat Wes for pace which hit the bar, I thought via a hand from Camp but it’s hard to be sure, and spun back into the net.

It woke up the Derby fans for probably their most vociferous spell of the game – although it also woke up Forest, Bertrand broke well down the left and crossed to Earnie, who miscontrolled initially before getting it back under his powers – but poking a fairly tame shot goalward which Bywater had no problem gathering up.  Raddy had a pop from range but it deflected and was ultimately saved to win us a corner.

The sustained Reds possession and pressure finally got us the lead back on 24 minutes.  Earnie looked to have gotten a bit lost taking the ball wide to the bye-line but did brilliantly to hook the ball over where Tudgay steamed in with a fantastic header that struck the bar and – according to the linesman at least – crossed the line, because I wasn’t at all sure at the time – looking forward to seeing the highlights!

Moments later and Earnie was one-on-one with Bywater but opted to loft the ball over the ‘keeper, and the goal, rather than simply sidefoot it either around or through the legs of Bywater, who was doing his best impression of a star-fish at that point so couldn’t have been too difficult to find a route past, we were desperate for him to get a goal to give him a much needed confidence boost.

With ten minutes left of the half Bertrand was withdrawn with what looked like a hamstring injury – hopefully I’m wrong, and regardless hopefully it’s nothing serious.  Chris Cohen came on to replace him and slotted in at left-back.  Meanwhile Commons, who’d been quiet so far, got a half chance from range which he kick tamely straight at Lee Camp from around 20 yards.

Tys, who was having a great game running at the hapless Leacock (who’d been booked early doors for a typically clumsy foul on Tyson) did well to trick his way to the edge of the area before putting the ball across the face of the goal but Aaron Ramsey and Robbie Earnshaw couldn’t quite get to it to get us the third goal.

It was Tyson who was the architect of the third goal though – a great burst down the left leaving the hopeless Derby defenders in his wake, before a frankly delicious cross into the area where Tudgay rose from between two defenders to plant a header into the net – no question of this one crossing the line.  As with his first goal, Tudgay accepted his teammates’ congratulations but didn’t celebrate – shows a bit of class, that does (take note, for later).

So half time and 3-1 up and playing very well with hopeless opponents.  Doesn’t sound too dissimilar to last season really, does it?  We were three nil up then at half time and had a rocky road to travel in the second half – so there was a mixture of cheeriness and a fair bit of nervousness.  Surely non-league Nigel would give them a rocket and get them fired up at half time?

Early indications would suggest not – Earnie again was one-on-one very early in the half but seemed to slip or stumble as he pulled to trigger resulting in an easy save for Bywater.  Tyson was still strolling down the left flank at will, eventually Clough decided, oddly, to switch Leacock and Brayford, marooning his one vaguely performing defender at rightback and leaving the hapless Leacock and Barker in the middle.

Tyson’s latest foray down the left wing culminated to him cutting in and going for the shot which – in fairness – wasn’t too far off, although I couldn’t help but look to the three or so red shirts in the box better placed to hit the target.  Of course, there would have been no complaints if Tys had stuck it in the net – if he had, I wonder if he’d have utilised a corner flag in his goal celebrations?

As if he sensed the frustrations of his last decision, Tys again on the left but this time opted to cross in to the centre of the penalty area where Earnie finally got the ball in the net, getting a toe on it to put it past Bywater to give us a three goal cushion and settle the nerves somewhat.   For a brief moment at least…

Used to play for a big club

Straight from the kick off Derby pushed forward and Commons fell over as presumably he ran out of breath, the referee interpreted this as a foul (I won’t slag off the ref though, by and large he had a very good game).  The chubster himself lined up to take it and, again, I need to see a replay – but he either scuffed it or it deflected, either way, it appeared to go under the wall and totally wrong-footed Camp and went in.

Unlike Tudgay who showed composure when scoring against a former club, Commons elected to goad the supporters in the Brian Clough stand with a display of ‘faux fat belly’ and badge-pointing.  The utterly shit Dean Leacock joined in.  It was a little bit like when Waghorn ‘shushed’ the Trent End after he scored the consolation goal in our 5-1 demolition of Leicester City last season at the City Ground!

At this point it’s fair to say that nerves were jangling and Derby did have a better spell.  It was whilst defending a corner (always a risky move in my book!) that Billy put on Kelvin Wilson for the excellent Aaron Ramsey, putting Cohen into midfield and Kelv slotting into left-back.  The corner ultimately came to nothing, so what do I know about making subs at that point?

The loss of Ramsey’s cool head in midfield did see us shaken for a while and Derby did have possession – although they invariably lost it cheaply.  They had one excellent opportunity where substitute Chris Porter got some space in the right channel and put the ball across our penalty area – Chris Gunter calmly dummied it (or missed it!) whilst Derby players slid in either side of him to try to poke it in the goal.

Tyson was our last player to be withdrawn – we guessed that by his switching to the right wing, and he didn’t exactly hurry off the pitch to be replaced by Paul Anderson.  This seemed to incense the Derby bench and shortly after a kerfuffle former Forest player Johnny Metgod was sent to the stand for one too many tantrums at the fourth official.  Tys was taking this piss a bit, but his departure still took less than the 30 seconds referees add on for subs anyway.

All that remained was for Tudgay to return Earnie’s earlier favour – the worthy man-of-the-match put an excellent cross into the area where Earnshaw was under pressure from Barker, but should still have done better than to put the ball over from close range.  He made up for it moments later though, blasting the ball in during stoppage time to make it 5-2 – as noted above, a scoreline that is flattering to Derby more than us!

A really excellent win, and a great way to seal an unbeaten 2010 at the City Ground.  Hats off to Billy for exploiting Derby’s many weaknesses – although I think any of our midfielders would have had a similar field day, special praise should go to those that were selected – a great performance all round that left non-league Nigel ranting at specific players in his post-mach interview, which further lowers the esteem I once held him in…

Barnsley up next on New Years Day – but I can’t help but have half an eye on the return fixture in three weeks time…

28 Responses

  1. Great post match report as usual.

    Have to say (& this does choke a bit)!! the sheep play a totally different game without Lily causing trouble.

    Twitching a bit at 4-2!!

    • Agreed, they had their moments after their second goal and if they’d got a third I think we’d have collapsed.

      They missed Savage’s wind-up factor and passion without a doubt, they also didn’t have anyone to constantly mither the referee….

  2. What a night. The only thing missing was Lily Savage being present too.

    Man of the match in my opinion was Chambers. All bandaged up and produced a commanding display.

    Earnshaw is an awful footballer but by far the best finisher in this division and a massive fans favourite.

    Like Arsenal failed to do last night, we need to maintain momentum and beat barnsley on saturday.

    Billy Davies Red and White Army!

    • Chambers did have an outstanding game, Tudgay just shaded it for me overall. Nice dilemma to have though.

      Bit harsh on Earnie!

  3. Great report NFFC and nice Vid link. I could only watch the game via BBC ticker – hit refresh and we were 1 – 0 up, fantastic!!

    All set I was, had 5live coming through the laptop – pre match ints with NC followed by BD, commentator says we’re about to kick off…

    And the game was cut due to licensing / broadcasting rights.


  4. Credit where credit is due, i thought Wee Billy pulled a masterstroke with Tyson against Leacock. As you say not only is he sluggish, hes easy to wind up and probably why Tys had such a great first half.

    Where oh where have Wednesday been hiding Tudgay?? Maybe things didnt suit him in S Yorks but he certainly looks the part for us. Work rate and first touch, both excellent and goals to boot!!

    ALWAYS BRILLIANT to beat the Sheep and to dismantle them like we did is even better. I went to bed last night dreaming what the score might have been had we taken out half chances. BLISS

  5. Win the 2 games in hand and we are only 1 point off 2nd place !!
    That`s more like it !!
    Keep it up you Reds !!
    Happy new year to Everyone !!
    From Alan, Isla Margarita,Venezuela

  6. Thought that tudgay was a worthy man of the match and was gutted he didn’t get a hatrick just so that we could sing ‘tudgay is on fire’ to the tune of sex is on fire by kings if Leon. Let’s hope he signs on as it looks the beginning of a great partnership with earnie.

  7. Well 3 goals from 2 games, obviously we will sign him up. You know what, If Cohen can start to get back to form we have the basis of a challenge for the prem

  8. Earnshaw is not an awful footballer, what a ridiculous thing to say. He’s not been in the best form recently, and he got his feet mixed up for the chance in the first half, but his link up play and touch is for the most part excellent, and his hold play for a small striker is very good, as he was showing at the start of this season before injury. I think he’s just been lacking a goal, so hopefully now he’ll grow in confidence again.

    Tudgay played very well, great start from him to his reds career.

    NLN really got it wrong with his tactics though, Tyson destroyed Leacock, and god knows why he thought it was a good idea to swap him and Brayford round. I honestly think Tyson was selected to stop Brayford bombing on from right back, so I bet Billy thought he been giving a late Christmas present when he saw a centre half playing against him! In fairness Tyson smelt the blood and played really well, and with Findley coming in probably knows that if he wants a new contract he needs to step it up.

    Youuu Reddsss

    • With Earnshaw this season he’s been in the odd (very odd for him!) position of his overall play being good yet he’s not gotten any goals, when normally his overall play is non-existant but it doesn’t matter because he’s kept scoreing!

  9. Convinced by Chambers yet?

    As I’ve been saying over and over again he’s the best CB we have at the club.

    • He’s doing a fine job at the moment, I don’t think he and Wes compliment one another though…

      • That’ll be why we keep losing all these games then 😉

        • We are benefiting from our opponents for sure – love both of ’em for effort, but together they lack pace.. I like to have some pace in the centre of defence…

          … then again, I am a perfectionist 🙂

          • As my brother and I commented, Wes is currently the weak link in our defence – having been the mainstay for so long, he has recently been dwarfed by the imperious form of first Casual Kelv and now Chambo. Having said that, we ain’t doing too badly at the moment, are we? 🙂

  10. Re David’s point above about Tyson – BD thinks he’s awinger so Findley’s arrival should not mean Tyson will be on his way?

    So strange to have Nigel Clough, Jonny Metgod as the villains of the piece at the City Ground. But what a result!

  11. Chambers, plus his family, has taken some stick from the reds fans since his arrival and its pleasing he has proven the doubters wrong, me included but… now he is playing in the position he was at northampton (cappo as well) why did calderwood buy him, as his previous manager, and never play him there MUPPET
    Tudgay is the type of player i love at Centre Forward hold up play brilliant, control brilliant and he scores goals, marvellous
    i hope Blackstock is watching as his control and first touch is very poor however a good player and can score
    Is Tyson bloody injured again, Billy’s body language when he came off was not good

    Any news on Bertrand’s injury?????
    BC would be furious if he saw his son’s antics last night, what a moaner what a spoilt brat, he was provoking all the game and Method was even worse
    Billy kept cool and at the end thanked the 4th official for the sending off and for keeping NC in his place-just
    He is brilliant at the wind up
    Bring on the tykes

  12. There’s a good photo in the Sun today that confirms that the second goal was indeed miles over the line. And for Earnie being ‘awful’, it was his cool head and class in the area that set up the second goal. Every red played out of their skin yesterday. Commons was right in front of me when goading the fans. Why didn’t the ref do anything? Surely it equates at least to Tys with a corner flag?

    • The ref had a pretty stern word with him, personally I don’t see much wrong with a bit of goading, part of the game (much like there was certainly nothing wrong with what Tyson did!)…

      Ultimately it was a consolation goal so he looks like a bit of a tool for over-celebrating it regardless!

  13. So there it was, Forest, Derby,
    Tyson had them on the run,
    Chambo, and Tudgay scored,
    And Earnie joined the fun….

  14. Interesting facts…….

    Tudgay after 2 starts is already our joint second highest goalscoring striker……

    Sheep had lilly missing, but remember we had no McKenna, who really does provide leadership and orchestrates midfield – it is a testament to how far the squad have matured that we didnt miss him like we did when he was out last season.

    Robbie scored as many goals AGAINST derby last night as he did in the whoe time he played FOR them. He has scored 1 goal for every £67k we spent on him in transfer fees, whereas he scored 1 goal for every £1.75m the sheep spent.

    We have now scored precisely twice as many goals per game at home (1.8) as away (0.9) – something I hope we will address in 3 weeks time!!!

  15. Your still shit

  16. Good report nffc, though you took your time with it!

    Poor BC will be so disappointed in Nigel if he’s looking down. What a spoilt, petulant brat he’s become. He’s hardly gracious in defeat, is he. Showed no class whatsoever, much like a good number of his players. I heard his interview on Radio D*rby and would suggest his man-management skills are somewhat lacking. There were at least 4 players named and shamed on a number of occassions.
    And Metgod. What on earth was going through his head? What a total tool, he was berating the officials and swearing at them from the first minute. Shameful.
    Glad to see Forest fans are coming round to Chambo. He’s a real team man, thats obvious from his body language and that of his teamates, who all seem to really get on with him (unlike Wilson who clearly doesnt want to be here any more, take the money ND).

    Did anyone see Billy talking the the fans behind him towards the end? Guy near me decided to moan and groan his way through the 2nd half as usual, which culminated with him shouting “there’s only one team playing football Billy, sort it out”
    Billy gave him a proper glare, and when Earnie scored the 5th he turned and asked “where is he, where’s he gone ha ha ha”.
    The guy had left 2 mins earlier!!!!

  17. Earnie is a good Championship striker but he is the highest paid player at Forest by a mile and I don’t think he is value for money.

    It would be a good move to get him off the wage bill, and I don’t think he will get the contract offer he is hoping for.

    Tudgay looks like an excellent player.

    I thought it was a bit odd putting Wilson on at left back, I’d have left Cohen there, the team looked more balanced with a natural left sided player there. If he had to bring Ramsey off (and I’m not sure he needed to so early) then he could have brought McGugan on.

    Why was McGugan a sub? Was he injured? I’d be well peeved if I was him, missing out on such a big game after the form he has been in….

  18. regarding my comment about earnshaw. he is the best finisher in this division. hes the only player to score in premiership, championship, league 1 and 2, and fa cup and league cup…

    but hes not a great footballer, the amount of times we all moan and groan when he miss controls it.

    i would keep him tho cus hes quality finisher! FACT

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