Nottingham Forest – 1
Watford – 0
The Reds ascend to second in the league thanks to Norwich slipping up and recording our sixth consecutive league win. A goal in the first minute gave Forest all three points, in an open end-to-end game (particularly in the first half) that you wouldn’t normally associate with a one-nil scoreline. A more physical and direct approach from Watford meant the second half was less absorbing.
Billy of course had to make a few changes to his line-up – the injured Guy Moussi was replaced by skipper Paul McKenna, whilst McGugan dropped to the bench in favour of Majewski. As I noted in the preview – the likely more open style of play the Hornets tend to deploy was probably deemed a good opportunity to make use of Raddy’s passing vision. So this is how we looked:
Gunter Morgan Chambers Konchesky
Cohen McKenna Majewski Anderson
So having swapped sides before the game the Reds were straight in the ascendency – it was just 50 seconds before we’d scored, Chris Cohen – still resplendent with a black eye – beat his man and crossed to Earnie, whose touch to control the ball and then tee it up for Tudgay was excellent. Tudgay kept his composure and slotted the ball in to the Trent End goal past Scott Loach.
We nearly lost the lead soon after though. Chambers horribly misjudged a header back to Lee Camp letting in Marvin Sordell, but Campy managed to get out quick and block the chance, finally getting the ball clear having ended up outside his area. The tricky Will Buckley got a teasing cross over after this, beating Gunts, Camp and – fortunately for us – anyone else in the area.
Some good work from Wes got the ball out to Cohen, whose cross almost found Wes again – but it was fractionally too high. The Reds built up a sizeable amount of pressure, but struggled to create too many direct chances – whilst Watford were dangerous on the counter. Sordell probably should have got on the end of a dangerous cross from Danny Graham, moments later Camp had to be alert to make a fine save from a Doyley 20 yard effort.
Scott Loach is also a well-regarded ‘keeper in this league, and not to be outdone he looked like he literally flew to keep out a Chris Cohen shot which was beautifully struck and looked destined for the top corner. Top goalkeeping all round. McKenna had a burst towards the area but was hacked down when pretty much clean through – I’m still not quite sure it wasn’t a red card, to be honest.
The resulting freekick just inside the D was taken by Robbie Earnshaw and curled wide of the right hand post – it looked better positioned for a left footer to hit it for me, and was hoping we might get to see a number 3 in a Forest shirt having a pop from a freekick. For old time’s sake, you understand. Konchesky did stand over it initially but soon moved aside.
It continued to ebb and flow with neither side really dominating until half time – which of course came with the Reds still one-nil to the good, in what had been a very entertaining half of football from both sides at times. Were in not for some poor composure, good goalkeeping and other factors it could really have been about 3-3 or so as we got to the break.
As the second half started we should have doubled our lead in the first minute – Tudgay burst into the area, backheeled to Cohen where with a degree of fortune it found Earnie on the edge of the six yard box, but from just five yards out he put it wide of the far post presumably trying to make sure he evaded the massive frame of Scott Loach. It has to go down as a pretty bad miss, though!
At the other end Danny Graham was proving a real handful for Chambers and Morgan, and at one point he turned Chambers before unleashing a decent effort that brought a diving save from Camp. Whichelow had a good shot saved by Camp before his follow-up was blocked by Gunter at the expense of a corner. Watford were starting to play much more direct and very physically.
Raddy had a run into the box and from my seat he looked to have been caught but took a tumble perhaps too theatrically and picked up a booking from the referee for his trouble. Oddly he stopped play and gave Watford a freekick to do this, which I’m not sure you’re supposed to do simply for a dive (as he saw it), but carry on play and book the player when there is an opportunity.
After making himself unpopular with the Forest fans it was the decent following from Watford that were upset at his decision – a Watford corner was eventually headed into the goal but the ref was quick to blow up for a pushing in the area (which was rife – from both sides – in every corner situation – but I was pretty grateful for him actually deigning to notice it this time around!).
Ando was withdrawn for the Reds having struggled to make a huge impact, and was replaced by Nathan Tyson who immediately started running at the Watford rightback. His first cross was cleared by man-mountain Taylor winning us a corner – this was whipped in well by Raddy and Chambers will probably be kicking himself that he didn’t hit the target, instead flashing his header just wide.
Might have my timings wrong but shortly after this there looked to be two decent shouts for a penalty for Watford in quick succession, the referee perhaps remembering his lack of sympathy for Raddy didn’t give them. Interestingly he didn’t opt to book the Watford players for diving though, just waving play-on, so I’m not sure why he singled out Majewski for special treatment in this regard.
Tys again was causing problems and a decent effort from 18 yards was saved by Loach – but really Tyson should’ve been looking for the square ball where he’d have found Earnie and Tudgay lurking. Play continued whilst a Watford player was on the deck, and any moral highground Watford might have wanted to claim in lieu of Forest carrying on was nullified when they too carried on playing as if there was nothing wrong!
Once the ball did go out of play two more of their players – including Loach – hit the deck suffering cramp. In the meantime Billy made two more changes, taking off Majewski and Earnshaw for McGugan and Adebola. Raddy had been putting himself about a bit and was at risk of picking up another yellow to go with what I think was a harsh first.
The remainder of the game was scrappy and as Watford went increasingly route-one Forest defended pretty stoutly. This style didn’t seem to suit our visitors players and the centrebacks in particular coped admirably with the largely aerial bombardment. The fourth official held up the board indicating five minutes of added time, about right considering the substitutions and injury stoppages.
Some nice work between Tyson and McGugan culminated in the midfielder having a decent effort from twenty yards or so, but missing the target. Eventually as the fans starting whistling the referee finally called time on the game having added around 7-8 minutes on in the end to cap off another fine result for the Reds, and propel us to second in the league.
Another solid game for Konchesky, Chambers recovered from a sketchy start, Wes was tremendous. Gunter had a tough time from Buckley but did well, and in midfield I was really impressed with McKenna and Cohen in particular. Raddy was doing okay but lost his head a little after his harsh booking, Anderson still just seems to lack that killer instinct. Lovely finish from Tudgay and another gritty hard-working performance, Earnie should have scored too – but he did set up the goal.
The subs were a good shout from Billy – Tys immediately gave us more attacking potency, and Dele generally always makes some kind of impact on a game. McGugan showed glimpses of class, but didn’t look massively interested (but needed to come on to spare Majewski the inevitable second booking from the idiot referee). All in all, very happy with a good team performance. I missed Camp out, who made some great saves.
Filed under: Matches