Forest won’t accept defeat..

Ole ole ole ole ole! Tudgay! Tudgay!

Nottingham Forest – 2
Portsmouth – 1

At half time I was already ruminating over a review featuring phrases like spineless, gutless, headless after a shambolic start.  Portsmouth have a small squad, but it contains players that belie their financial position – and an uncharacteristic slip culminated in Kanu strolling past Lee Camp and finishing well with three Reds players trying to block off his shot.

After getting their heads into gear after the goal more, Forest struggled to convert possession into chances until late – by which point Ashdown in the Pompey goal was equal to our efforts.  Until they succumbed to a late own-goal equaliser, and a stoppage time winner from Marcus Tudgay.  On balance, we deserved to win I think – but the timing makes it undoubtedly lucky!

Over on LTLF somebody finally won the ‘predict the starting eleven’ competition, so Billy’s selection was a little more predictable than recent games, clearly.  Only one person got it right though, so there’s still a fairly big margin for error in trying to second-guess the wee fella!

Gunter   Morgan    Chambers    Lynch
Anderson    Moussi    Majewski    Cohen
Earnshaw    Tudgay

Portsmouth won the toss and elected to swap ends giving themselves a bit of a helping hand from the wind which was mostly swirling in from the Trent End.  It wasn’t exactly a rip-roaring start, with both sides slack in possession and struggling to get any meaningful attacking moves off the ground.

It took a quarter of an hour for something of note to happen – and it was for us, Anderson burst down the right before feeding Chris Gunter to put a low ball into the area.  Portsmouth made a hash of clearing it initially before getting it away eventually.  Their first effort was a long-range effort from Hayden Mullins which was off-target.

Whilst we were lamenting our lack of attempts on target, there were some – not that they challenged Ashdown much.  The first was after 23 minutes when a poor clearance fell for Chris Cohen, he found Anderson who fired goalward from around 25 yards out, but it wasn’t a challenge for the Portsmouth ‘keeper to pluck the ball from the air.

Not entirely surprisingly it was literally a slip-up that gave us the opening goal of the game.  Gunter was looking to get forward but slipped in midfield with the ball breaking to David Nugent, who pounced on the opportunity to push forward into space before rolling it to Kanu in acres of space.

Kanu took the ball into the area, took it past Camp with ease – probably had a think about taking a tumble under Raddy’s challenge but ultimately calmly slotted the ball into the net with around three Reds defenders trying to get in the way of it.  It was a well-taken finish by the striker, but – even factoring in the unfortunate slip of Gunts – appalling defending from Forest.

It could have been worse too, Pompey had their tails up now and only a Moose foul stopped another goal-attempt, but ultimately facilitated another.  The resulting freekick was taken by the dangerous Liam Lawrence who looked to have put it in the top corner but for a fantastic stop by Lee Camp to tip it over for a corner.

Joel Lynch of all people found himself dancing through the Pompey penalty area at the end of the half, getting past around three defenders before ultimately being stopped in his tracks by Ward.  The resulting corner fell nicely for Tudgay but the striker lacked composure and put it over from close range.  Finally good work from Gunter saw the fullback cross in to Earnie who wriggled and turned before hitting a tame left-footed shot straight at Ashdown.

At half time it was consternation all round.  Whilst Forest hadn’t been exactly comprehensively outplayed, they’d offered very little against Pompey who had profited expertly from a moment of good fortune.  Of course, it would be a foolish Forest fan to write us off at half time only a goal down after the last few weeks, but some nerves were jangling.

And for a while it seemed like they were right to be – Portsmouth packed the midfield and tried to get either Kanu to hold up the ball or exploit the pace of Utaka (nearly doing so on more than one occasion) whilst Forest laboured to find a way through the middle of the park to try to bring our strikers into play.  Eventually we started to make some progress.

However, it wasn’t until Billy made changes that things really started to get moving for Forest – with around 57 minutes on the clock he introduced both Tyson and McGugan for Earnie and Raddy.  McGugan immediately took a corner but hadn’t got the measure of the wind so over-hit it completely.

Tys cut in from the right hand side well and had a pop from around 25 yards, it had the beating of Ashdown but didn’t dip quite enough so bounced off the top of the bar and into the Pompey fans.  It was a good statement of intent, though and started to wake the fans up a little.  Still Forest laboured to get the ball through the hard-working Portsmouth rearguard, though.

Adebola was the last change at the expense of Anderson to try to mix things up a little at the back.  Lewis struck an excellent freekick goalward (he’d earlier spannered one into the about-six-yards-away wall) which forced Ashdown into another decent save giving the Reds a corner.  Lewis had got the measure of the wind with a series of corners after, but whilst they caused some bedlam in the area, Pompey were able to clear or Ashdown was able to save.

At the other end Lawrence managed to get clear and – for reasons best known to themselves – the Reds defence opted not to close him down as he bore down on goal, his shot from long range was over fortunately.  He’ll be kicking himself he didn’t at least draw a save from Camp, obviously it would have had a big impact on the outcome of the game!

Another Reds attack saw Gunter cross well into the area to Tys, a tricky header for the striker went wide, though.  Just as I (oh ye of little faith!) was starting to wonder if there was a way through for Forest we were handed an equaliser courtesy of the otherwise excellent Sonko.  A pacey cross from Lewis saw the defender – under pressure from Dele – clip the ball into his own goal.

With a half-feeling of vindication of our dominance and feeling a bit lucky with snagging a late equaliser the home fans came to life and urged the team onward – Moussi put one just wide after another excellent McGugan cross, and then the ground did have the chance to erupt completely when the winning goal finally came in stoppage time.

McGugan again was involved, whipping the ball in to Marcus Tudgay who was able to put the ball over Ashdown and into the net from ten yards – it had been a tricky game for Tudgay, but he showed his worth by being in the right place to finish off this late late chance.  It’s great to see Forest in this kind of ‘never say die’ performance and pick up all three points.

Bizarrely we drop a place in the league thanks to Reading’s convincing win, but it’s still spectacularly close up there – particularly if you make some bold assumptions about our games in hand (something I generally avoid, I might add!).  In the meantime our next opponents, a certain Derby County, had another defeat this time at the hands of Watford.

This time Nigel Clough blamed the wrong choice of footwear for the Vicarage Road pitch…

15 Responses

  1. Great comeback & as I was posting on FB, that OG went in – (U can ck it 4 yourself ;)). Suddenly my phone rang & my cousin was like me going mad. He said to me we’ll win 2-1. Well….

    Bring on those Sheep now….But on a serious side, we really do need to be careful. Derby will have a lot 2 say next week….unless we put on Silence of the Lambs part 2 on. 😉

  2. Great report NFFC and even better result – good to hear the team fighting til the last. Bring on the D*rby!

  3. You know we have a poor record at prideless park, maybe we can actually win next week considering the players currents attitude. It looks like they really want to win, hungry for 3 more points

  4. On balance we deserved to win? NFFC I can’t agree. It was a smash n grab at the death, like a certain other club that play in red. I’m not complaining at the points, but to be honest I felt we didn’t deserve a point, let alone 3 as we were woeful: lethargic and stuttering in the first half, and with no answer to a slightly lucky goal against us. Pompei defence just shut the door, an we had no answer til the 3 subs came on.

    Credit billy for changing things earlier than he usually does, but I think he got the initial team sheet wrong. Earnie and madge were never going to do well against the physical size of Pompey.

    Today was a classic case of “win ugly”. Sweet to get undeserved points but we need to be more creative and clinical to have a chance of the top 6. Having seen us play a 4-6-0 at Ipswich (thanks to mcgoaldrought’s lack of positional discipline) yet somehow end up with 3 points, plus today’s exploits, I have a feeling we’ve used up out quota of luck for the next wee while.

    Big positives though… Tudg shows his early form wasn’t a flash in the pan, despite being quiet all game he came up trumps where it counted. Lynch – was one of our best players today with much better distribution and some good use of the space he was given…. And that man mcgugan – stillshowing he’s a class apart. Perhaps billy will restore him to the starting eleven soon.

    But ultimately 3 points is 3 points. They all count. Sympathy for coterill but serves him right for talking arrogantly in the build up. Bring on the derby!

    • When I say ‘on balance’ I take into account the bad things (there were many) – but ultimately Camp had one tough save to make aside from the goal, their keeper made 3-4 not including the two we finally snagged.

      Wasn’t a great performance for much of the game, but it wasn’t from our opponents either – hence why, on balance, I think we were actually good value for three points 🙂

      But it’s all about opinions!

  5. I’m just glad we won i thought our unbeaten home run had come to a boring end lol

  6. Wee billy knows our young side will be hit or miss at times thats youth for you.But the spirit in the group has improved and is now quite strong we have to win ugly at times and we will in the coming months.

    I rate Tudgs he is a handful and has a real eye for goal but we need more physical presence in our side.We got bullied a bit yesterday and I feel that is where we will come up short this season if we dont bring in bigger more robust players.

    Brilliant 3 points

    U reds

  7. I thought we were poor but did deserve the 3 points because Pompey offered absolutely nothing second half and just parked the bus. They sat so deep they were asking for it.

    What I can’t understand is why pretty much our only creative player McGugan is on the bench for home games like this? Things happen when he is playing, they don’t when he is sat on the bench – simple as that. If he is fit, he has to start!

    Billy got out of jail because his starting line up was completely wrong.

  8. Agree with gloucester red – Lewis should really start over Raddy at present , but having said that he is now fresh for next week at Shame Park . Tyson also changed the game as did Dele . They will all have a part to play next saturday .u reds !!

  9. Altho i unfortunately wasn’t at the game, i too think we were good value for the 3pts. Pompy had nothing second half and from the commentary, i just had that feeling we would sneak an equaliser. We just seemed to be camped in their half for the last ten. Then to get the winner was sweet as. In a division as tight as this one, this 3pts could prove so valuable come the end of the season! Nice one reds, i kno it’s a cliche, but that never say die attitude has never been so relevant. Altho, what else should we expect from such highly paid athletes?!? We’d be cursing like mad if they sat down and waited for defeat! YOU REDS!

  10. Anyone else pleased with Lynch’s performance – he may not be a permanent answer to our LB ‘quandry’ but it does release Cohen into midfield and enables us to be closer to playing “square pegs in square holes”!!

    Also, though Lawrence and Nugent were both excellent – wouldn’t mind us ‘acquiring’ either ……

  11. Now another world cup international coming in.
    He has obviously got a good left foot if his goal against Mexico is anything to go by
    .Please sort out a left back too !!!. Get Bertrand back from Chelsea. They don’t need him !!

    • With a nickname of “Shabba” and an agent called Jazzman Mahlakgane he’s my favourite player already.

  12. Another 3 points due to the ability of McGugan. How many’s that this season ??

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