Late lapse denies Forest jammy win..

Forest's newest strike pairing...

Nottingham Forest – 2
Preston North End – 2

Oof. Where do you start with that?  A below-par (and that’s kind!) performance from the Reds, a niggling time-wasting diving performance from our desperate visitors, a serious contender for the most hapless official we’ve seen in some time (no mean feat!), a late 3 points game rapidly turned into a draw in the sixth minute of five minutes added on to the game.  It was certainly eventful!

From having the kind of bench that had opposing managers looking wistfully at our options to bring on as a substitute, we seem to be alarmingly low on numbers – only six named on the bench after late injuries to Earnie and Tyson – and they included youngsters like Nialle Rodney making up the numbers.  It’s difficult not to feel a bit grumpy, but as ever I have a fairly conflicted outlook after this evening’s game.

Billy’s line-up almost picked itself with the late withdrawals of Tys – with an ankle injury (expected to be out for two weeks) and Earnshaw (back injury – no timescale specified):

Gunter    Morgan    Chambers    Konchesky
Cohen    McKenna    McGugan    Anderson
McGoldrick    Tudgay

The game was delayed due to the late arrivals of the fans taking advantage of the £10 ticket offer, causing both teams to come back out to extend their warm-ups – hardly ideal preparation, and perhaps a pitfall in an otherwise decent idea to boost the attendance for a midweek fixture during half-term.  So it was 8:00pm that saw the game start rather than the scheduled 7:45.

It was a sluggish start but it was Forest making the early tentative running, with the visitors looking rather haphazard in positioning.  Four minutes in McGoldrick did well to get past a couple of defenders and get a ball into the box which after a bit of a scramble Iain Turner in the Preston goal was able to claim.  Later a lovely ball from Konchesky found Cohen whose shot wasn’t too far from finding the inside of the post but went wide.

The best chance in the first half for the Reds fell for former Preston skipper Paul McKenna though, and bloody hell he should’ve done better – a lovely ball across found him in the box in acres of space with the Preston defence at sixes and sevens, but he lacked composure and blazed it over into the visiting supporters.  A real frustration – at this point it looked like a goal would see the Lillywhites collapse, but of course, things change quickly in football!

At the other end Keith ‘Bambi on Ice’ Treacy managed to stay on his feet for long enough to whip in an excellent cross from the left which found Barry Nicholson in the box, he duly despatched a well placed header inside the far post and silence the home crowd and give the small band of fans from Lancashire the chance to cheer.

This perked up Preston and Forest just didn’t compete – Billy Jones had a decent effort from 25 yards that Camp needed to dive to save.  Meanwhile Forest seemed static and unable to string many passes together – the game descended into head-tennis which generally Preston won.  The visitors also started time-wasting as early as thirty-five minutes, the referee setting an early precedent by doing bugger all about it.

Gradually the Reds did start to build some degree of progress – a decent ball in from Konchesky found Anderson who shaped to shoot from a tight angle but his connection played it back across the goal, Tudgay was lurking and got a slight touch on it, but couldn’t react quick enough to turn it goalward so instead it gave Turner the chance to take an age over a goal kick instead.

Forget the timing but Anderson got floored in their area at some point from a corner – reminiscent (admittedly without having seen a replay!) of Chambers being hauled to the deck by his neck in the Cardiff game, predictably the referee gave nothing, but gave a series of freekicks to the visitors whenever their players went to ground regardless of any contact with Forest players.

The final chance of the half came to us when Cohen put a delicious ball in to the six yard box from the left, Tudgay got a good header on it which brought an excellent save from Iain Turner.  McGoldrick was lurking behind Tuds and might’ve had a better chance of scoring, but you can’t really blame a striker for having a go – and he brought a good save from the keeper of course.

The whistle from the referee was greeting by some booing – which, whilst the performance was below-par, is totally unacceptable.  Whether this correlates with the influx of irregular visitors to the City Ground lured by the cheap tickets or not I wouldn’t care to speculate (but sort of just have), but frankly, it’s not necessary, it’s not helpful and it’s not welcome – support the lads, for fuck’s sake!

Half time was a glum affair – particularly as scores from around the rest of the league started filtering through, with most of our promotion rivals doing somewhat better than we were being a goal down.  The promise of a Billy rocket at half time was our only solace as we contemplated what had been a disappointing performance from the Reds against a hard-battling Preston side scrapping for points.

As the game restarted it didn’t look like it was getting much better in a hurry – whilst there was more endeavour from the Reds the early exchanges were more of the same – with the referee increasingly baffling.  I don’t really blame Preston’s players for time-wasting and hitting the deck every five seconds because they profited from it every time by a very fussy referee.

I was just starting to contemplate the words of ‘Can anyone smell bananas’ on my match preview when suddenly the ball was played through to McGoldrick who turned well and found Anderson, his shot was blocked but fell nicely for Konchesky who emphatically volleyed it into the Trent End goal.  Not before time too, it really helped wake the crowd up and got Forest back into focus.

On the hour Billy replaced the increasingly ineffective Tudgay with Adebola from his depleted options on the bench, shortly after Konchesky (who was apparently limping – I hadn’t noticed!) was taken off for Lynch, naturally we assumed an injury and post-match it transpires he’s twinged a hamstring.  Just what we need, isn’t it?  Hopefully the Konch isn’t too seriously hurt – he was one of few players to come out of the first half with credit for us.

The Reds were on top now, though – McGoldrick should have made Turner work harder with a disappointingly tame effort from 25 yards out, however we were still open to threat from the visitors too, who whilst playing conservatively were foraying forward on occasion.  Luckily for us though the couple of efforts they mustered were off-target.

Nialle Rodney was introduced for McGoldrick with a quarter of an hour remaining, creating the dream strikeforce of Del and Rodney!  He probably should’ve scored a few minutes into his pitch-time.  A great ball in from Cohen to the back post headed towards Rodney and Adebola was met by the youngster – but his header clipped the outside of the post and out for a goalkick.  Gutting!

Forest were pressing now and Rodney looked lively and keen to profit from Adebola’s lay-offs, but it wasn’t quite happening for us.  A cross by Dele found Anderson who put it back across goal which won us a corner.  After this Rodney crossed towards his strike partner but Adebola couldn’t get much power on the header so it was a simple catch for Turner.

As five minutes of stoppage time was announced it looked like Preston’s time-wasting might end up biting them on the bum – a freekick was curled inswinging by Cohen.  I didn’t see a touch from him, but Chambers appeared to claim it – I thought it was straight in by Cohen personally and that’s where most of the Reds team, nay, all of them went to offer their congratulations.

That over-celebrating of course always looks daft with what we know was to come, but it probably created extra minute of stoppage time in which Preston were able to equalise.  Forest weren’t able to stave off pressure from the away side, we didn’t stop a cross into the box – Camp looked like he slipped as he came to claim what should’ve been a routine catch, leaving Jones to head over him into the waiting goal.

Very annoying because of the timing.  Having said that, we probably didn’t merit much more than a draw if we’re being honest.  I left the match spitting and ranting about Preston’s timewasting, diving and nonsense – but well, they’re fighting long odds against relegation and scrapping for anything they can get.  It’s the referee who should be spotlighted for doing nothing about it and giving so many ridiculous freekicks.

I’ll be very interested to see the ‘fouls committed’ column for this game – because every time a Forest player so much as breathed near a Preston player, if they went to ground they got a freekick.  Conversely, Preston had two pretty strong-looking claims for a handball in our area – which he didn’t give, so the visiting fans might well dislike the man with the whistle after today too.

It wasn’t until the linesmen seemed to take the law into their own hands that we seemed to get any decisions at all when our players were knocked around.  But, we were also the architects of our downfall, we started slow, we didn’t compete (particularly in the first half) and whilst the comeback showed good spirit, the lapse at the back was frustrating.

On balance I’ve decided to not be too grumpy – listening to the radio on the way home it seems my fellow Reds feel similar.  Some shit freekicks and over-fussy refereeing didn’t cost us the game – indeed, missing handballs in the area might’ve done us a favour really.  Our own performance was below par but the unbeaten run is intact.  It puts more pressure on forthcoming games against Millwall and Middlesbrough though, which isn’t ideal.

The real concern is how thin our squad is suddenly looking – Billy sounded oddly positive post-match despite this, not bemoaning lack of transfers and reiterating he will only bring in quality loan signings if available, and acknowledging that’s a tricky ask.  I’m starting to worry that we will find ourselves once again limping over the finish line when some of our fellow promotion contenders have added depth to give them momentum.

Fingers crossed the quick withdrawal of Konchesky proves to be more precautionary than necessary.  We welcome Majewski back from his suspension from Saturday which is something positive, and await more concrete news on the injuries to Tyson and Earnshaw, but it’s looking a bit of a worry that we are short on bodies at this crucial stage of the season.

As for Preston, I’ve made my peace with their shenanigans tonight – I hate time-wasting (including when we do it!) and diving, but the referee positively encouraged them with his absolutely shocking performance.  I wish them well in their battle against the drop – certainly with Norwich, Leeds, Swansea and Cardiff still in the list of their teams to play they could yet do us a favour!

And if we’re going to cast our final strike pairing as Del Boy and Rodney, then there was only one person on the pitch who was going to play Trigger, and that was the referee!

23 Responses

  1. Was out of home, was aware of the 1-1 result, turned my pc on, saw 2-1, then couldn’t believe my eyes. But this happens in football. Maybe the fatigue factor is settling in in such a thin squad. But then, I thought the same after Scunny and the lads proved me wrong. I hope they do it again, because we have lots of hard games coming up, including Swansea, Norwich and Leeds, all away!
    Keeping the faith! U Reds!

  2. Perfectly summed up as usual nffc. We were below par today but, with the amount of games we’ve played recently and our ever decreasing squad, it’s inevitable that results like this one, and the one against Scunthorpe, keep happening. Especially as those two teams are fighting for their lives at the wrong end of the table. It’s no excuse but I have to say the referee was absolutely awful tonight. No protection from their constant fouls and nothing done about their gamesmanship. Final mention must go, regrettably, to the fans who booed at half time. Please don’t bother coming again. You’re not required down the CG.

  3. I think Billy was right when he said its going to go down to the wire.

    Ive always said in my mind, Swansea are our biggest threat for 2nd and I still believe this.

    Id glady take 4 points from our next two games vs millwall and boro if they were offered now.

    One thing is important though, lets still back forest home and away and give as much support to the boys as possible to push us over the line, as I for one cant cope with the playoffs again!

    DEL AND RODNEY chant tried 2 get going against scunthorpe away lol but we were losing and sulking ha!

  4. When we are 2 1 up ,why on earth did we not keep posession of the ball for 2 minutes instead of kicking it away into Prestons half and giving them the ball to go on and score the equaliser !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Christ, we make it difficult !
    Other crazy results around too…Thank goodness !

  5. Sorry nffc, but I dont share your empathy for PNE.
    If you get a chance, watch how and where Browns mob celebrate the equaliser. It was absolutely disgusting. They all charged INTO the Forest technical area and were fist pumping inches away from the faces of Ned, Julian etc. I suppose that lack of respect and dignity was typical of the way Brown and his number 2 (dont know his name but had a familiar face?) had been cheating, moaning and berating the officials all game.
    It left a real sour taste for me.
    I agree that Preston deserved a draw, but after those shameful scenes I hope they get relegated.

  6. What a cluster f@#. Earnshaw, tyson and konchesky all picked up injuries this week. With the size of our squad a promotion run was always going to depend on avoiding injuries. Hope it’s not as bad as it looks …

  7. Agreed with all the sentiments here. But thought we had the chances to win it and were it not for Camp slipping at the vital moment we’d have all been saying how well we’d done to win despite playing shite!
    I was too busy celebrating myself but does anyone know what Wes was booked for in the aftermath of our second goal?

    • The lino brought to the refs attention that Wes committed the heinous crime of….kicking the ball up in the air as part of the celebration.

      I may have to eat humble pie regrding my earlier comment, as it turns out our staff were a little exhuberant following our goal, too. Though I doubt very much it warranted THAT reaction.

      It’s not all doom and gloom people, we are still right in the mix.
      Poor performance yet no defeat.
      Cohen or Konch for MoM, forgot Ando was on the pitch for 20 mins of the 2nd half!, and though Camp couldve done better for the first goal. Also, why did him take him 70 minutes to realise that his kicks were going straight to their defenders and that by throwing it out we kept the ball longer??
      That said, we didnt lose and are still in the hunt….

  8. Maximum respect nffc for taking the time to right such a thorough report after that gutting result.I share your sentiments and fears I believe we are missing the commanding influence of the moose now.

    QPR showed tonight why they will win the leage they have that little extra quality and composure under pressure on tough nites like these.

    We have players dropping like flies OUR TOP PLAYERS NOT GOOD.But if you want to go up you really have to beat teams like Preston no excuse.
    Davies lamented the lack of depth in the squad and HE WAS RIGHT he also said last season we werent ready HE WAS RIGHT.This season he says we are a good bet for a play off place I hope your right billy I also fear we might limp across the line.

    Fatigue has clearly set into our side and I fear for us in the coming 3 or 4 matches. I just dont think we have the quality in depth.

    U reds

  9. The starting eleven should have been good enough to get a result,same at scunny,but yet again after a cracking result against a team round us they fail to deliver,we seem to worry to much that we only can name 6 subs,to be honest unless of injury these should not be needed if all the players are doing there job.I think people in todays football luck for to many excuses instead of just getting on with the task in hand,Billy is in my mind the best thing to happen to this club since GOD left us in 1993,we cannot afford to many more below par performances,i dont fancy the play offs again……………Great peice yet again NFFC.

  10. I missed the Preston staff running into our area when they scored, it does seem a bit much. You’d have thought if they’d run anywhere they’d go towards the players, in the other direction!? Never mind, i’ve never really thought much to Phil Brown anyway.

  11. I guess it sums up the haplessness of the ref when he books Morgan for kicking the ball in the air for our goal celebration – yet faied to book Jones for taking his shirt off in their goal celebration.

    Actually. Dor hapless – read biased!!

  12. I think their man did get booked for taking his shirt off didn’t he?

  13. Well its 14.30 the following day and I still feel gutted,hardly done a thing at work.Couldn’t get to sleep last night either going over the match,havn’t felt like that since the last time we lost to the sheep and this was only a draw.Are well onwards and upwards,injuries taking their toll though.Yes Jones was booked and the referee was an intolerable twat.Having said that we didn’t play well enough on the whole so a good point in the end.

  14. Thanks for the write up NFFC.

    I could only ‘watch’ this game via the BBC Videprinter and to be fair I’d settled for the 1-1 and then it flashed up that Cohen had scored 90+2 saw me jumping around our apartment – much to my wifes amusement!

    Thought we had it in the bag then, back to second and all that.Then 90+6 and they’d pulled one back!

    Ho Hum!

    • Have you paid for forest player so you get live commentary on every match ?It’s worth it if you haven’t.
      Regards Alan

      • Only just seen this – thanks for the tip Alan, will check it out. A friend has offered to set up a ‘proxy’ for me though seems like it’s a bit of a hassle!

  15. Scunny and Preston are playing well and may stay up. D…by look likely now to go down…..Shame.
    ..We could be 2 divisions apart next season !!

  16. Great review of the match as always! Just one thing though; the impression I got at half time was that the people around me (Brian Clough Upper) were booing at the ref, not the players. As I recall we were all shouting at some of the refs earlier misdemenours when he blew the whistle for half time, hence the booing. Certainly that’s how I took it!

    • There were a lot of boos for the ref, but at half-time from Upper Trent End there was a lot of grumbling and no small amount of booing just for the fact that we were losing.

      I can only ascribe that to some (hopefully just a vocal minority) of the part-timers; one of the things that Billy has subtly worked on is bigging up the fans to be positive, the atmosphere in the ground has been consistently better as a result. Just a coincidence that this was different on a night when there a lot of non-regulars?

      Finally, we all saw how distraught Chrissy Cohen was at full-time. How likely was it that the booing and negativity, directed at players or ref, would have made him feel any better (especially as he was arguably MOTM on the night)?

      This is not an attack on you, merely some observations…

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