Reds rob a point at Boro..

Middlesbrough – 1
Nottingham Forest – 1

Phew.  That was a real ‘Get out of jail free’ moment – sort of.  An increasingly injury ravaged Reds competed reasonable well in the first half, but struggled in the second half – falling behind soon after the half time break, and relying on some goalkeeping heroics from Lee Camp to keep it to one goal before big Dele bagged an ill-deserved stoppage time equaliser.

Earnie was restored to the starting line-up, and McCleary’s impactful cameo at Millwall earned him a starting place – at the expense of Ando and Raddy, who both dropped to the bench.  McGoldrick retained his place, but this time with a partner.  Lynch’s weekend hobbling was deemed to not be a problem so he continued his covering of the leftback berth.  We looked like this:

Gunter    Morgan    Chambers    Lynch
McCleary    McKenna     McGugan     Cohen
Earnshaw    McGoldrick

The customary sea of red seats in Middlesbrough greeting the start of the match, just shy of a thousand Forest fans made the trip (yours truly had to miss this one due to work commitments 😦 ).  The home side were first to sting the palms of a ‘keeper – with Julio Arca firing goalward but denied by Camp’s parry and a clearance by Chambo.  Barry Robson had another go from 20 yards but again Camp was equal to it.

At the other end a fine cross by McGoldrick found Earnie on the move down the left – the Welshman beat his defender but the shot was tame, so no St. David’s Day celebration goal for Robbie.  McGoldrick created a decent opportunity for himself, getting past three men with a decent run but his shot too wasn’t able to beat Steele in the Middlesbrough goal.

Chambers is perhaps still rueing not doing better than spooning over from close range after Chris Cohen had put in a freekick from the right.  Then a calamity.  Joel Lynch started limping, and eventually hit the deck with less than forty minutes gone – to be replaced by Brendan Moloney who moved to rightback with Gunts switching sides.

Not the best of news – although post-match Billy hinted that Konchesky might well be fit for the weekend.  Let’s hope he really is, and we’re not just ‘making do.’  Boro put some pressure on after this, a corner fell for Taylor on the edge of the area who hit it goalward, only to be denied by a save from Camp at the expense of another corner to the home side.

Forest started to build possession and drag some half-chances out of somewhere, but reminiscent of the weekend’s trip to Millwall they weren’t able to capitalise on them.  Half time arrived with the score at stalemate.  Without something altering dramatically it wasn’t looking like our much anticipated game-in-hand was going to yield three points.

The start of the second half didn’t do much to dispel these fears – a home freekick after a foul on McDonald as struck well by Tony McMahon, but was kept out by Lee Camp with an excellent save.  The Forest number one was on his toes again to deny Leroy Lita from 20 yards out – but alas, despite his good form, he couldn’t prevent what was to come.

Forest gave away the ball in midfield, giving Middlesbrough the opportunity to break down the right.  Lita burst forward and found Robson, who put the ball across the box to Scott McDonald who made no mistake putting the ball into the roof of the net from just six yards out.  It wasn’t any more than they deserved really.

We continued to labour in the game, Billy introduced Paul Anderson for Lewis McGugan to try to change things around a bit – but it was the home side that continued to pile on the pressure.  Good work from Arca saw him lay the ball off for Taylor whose shot looked to be set to double the lead for Boro, but for further excellent work by Lee Camp in the Forest goal.

The final change by Billy was to introduce Dele Adebola with a little over twenty minutes remaining.  It didn’t stop the general ebb and flow of the game though – a rare foray forward found Earnie unable to twist his way around what looked like the whole Middlesbrough defence, not even mustering a shot.  It wasn’t looking good.

Meanwhile back at the busier end of the pitch Lee Camp was once again on hand to deny Taylor a goal from close range.  Lita had a pop from the edge of area but was blocked by Wes Morgan, and suddenly Forest actually started to look a little more lively – a freekick from Cohen found Anderson whose effort from six yards was blocked.

The home side continued to press though – an effort from Robson deflected off a defender and went out off the post. Nerve racking times.  At the other end Dele won a header and Earnie was close to stealing in before Steele could grab the ball – but grab it he did.  As the game entered stoppage time that bizarre swing in play started to occur and Forest made opportunities.

Adebola headed one straight into the arms of Steele, but a moment later he was in the right place at the right time.  The ball was lofted towards the edge of the area, Morgan won it and Dele was able to bundle it over the line to give Forest a pretty valuable but an ill-gotten point.  Frustrating, for sure – but as Billy says, there’s still twists and turns in this league to come.

Fingers crossed that over the next few days we get to hear some positive news on the injury front, or – dare I even suggest it – maybe even a loan signing or two?  It sounded post-match like Billy was considering headbutting Robin Chipperfield when he broached the subject of loan signings with the wee fella!

15 Responses

  1. I am a Manchester United fan, who has also been following the Championship this season, and I want to see Nottingham Forest back in the BPL. But, the way things are going for them, if the players keep playing like this, and if the manager is only satisfied with playoffs, I’m afraid history of last season may repeat itself. I hope they prove me wrong though, and clinch promotion, whether automatic or through playoffs. I stayed up for both matches (Chelsea vs Man Utd and Boro vs Forest) and when the home sides scored the 1st goal in the 2nd half, I went off to sleep, thinking that I didn’t want to kill my sleep seeing Man Utd draw and Forest lose. Whatever happened to those 6 wins on the trot for Forest, that defeat against Scunny changed everything. It was like not having a game in hand.

    • Yeah, it has been a bad run but we do have the players (when fully fit) to go on a stormer of a run towards the end of the season – here’s hoping we do!

      Fingers crossed see you in Prem next year!

  2. Aye fair analysis of the game and we did get off lightly.Lee Camp has been for me player of the year so far truly inspirational and i reminds me of shilton when I was a nipper watching Forest a true match saver.

    The board simply havent invested in enough experienced robust championship players for me.Our side is young and a bit lightweight at times.plays great football in patches but is being found out in these tough midweek games.

    Have we got enough to get over the line ?? if im honest my heart says yes we can but my heart says no.We needed a squad operating at maximum tilt a strong outfit that can go like for like with strikers who bang in goals.

    We need to get to the break and see where we are at.

    In billy we trust .

    U reds

  3. Meant to say head says no ooops !

  4. Listen to Non leage Nigels dig at billy in his interview after last night game on BBC SPORT .He really has contempt for billy and Forest I would love them to go down and him get sacked very soon.

    • He’s a sad bitter man isn’t he?

      • For a player that graced our club so well nffc and being the son of Cloughie it amazes me.Dont know if you were there but I went to see him at a night similar to the one Stuart Pearce did in Nottingham at the approach I think.

        I found him boring and after 15 minutes I had switched off and was feeling quite let down having travelled from Edinburgh.Now most Forest fans including me find him a very sad figure and I simply dont rate him.

        U reds

      • Glad everyone is coming round to my way of thinking! 🙂

        Seriously I think NL Nige has some issues. BUT I dont want his sacked….. Direby will never be any good with him at the helm.

  5. Great write up. I too feel the chance of top 2 is slipping through our fingers. We now have 2 points less than we did at this point past year, and would need something like 2 points per game on average, to get the 82 points we are likely to need. In perspective QPR have got about 1.9 points per game so far.

    I feel sorry dor Billy and even the AP. Dex being out and
    Findlay not even starting yet are bad fortune indeed.

    Whilst camp, cohen, wes and chambo continue to be reliable, we really need our forward players to show their potential. Earnie is having a poor season in terms of goals, radi seems a pale shadow of the exciting game-changer we got on loan. Goldie needs to show he is worth his transfer fee, and Tudgay McGugan need to show their early form wasn’t just
    a flash in the pan.

    Let’s hope we turn it around. Not sure my nerves can stand more playoff heart break.

  6. One of my rare ‘live’ games [hey, I live in Sunderland] and my view pretty much matches your report – but here’s a couple of comments.

    First off, in his posture, attitude and form, Camp really is looking like Peter Shilton. The save at the beginning of the second half was world class. A great free kick, low and round the outside of the wall, it was on the wall’s side of the goal and yet Camp got across and scooped it off the line right next to the post.

    My second point is another complement – kind of. In the first half we played football like Arsenal. One touch control and pass, lots of movement, little triangles in tight spaces [though heart-stoppingly, often in our own half]. Lovely to watch, but like Arsenal, no end product. Plus, and this is important, that is football for confident – and fit – players. Second half, Boro got closer, shut down McKenna [usually one third of every triangle] and scored a goal. Throw in a referee who seemed to be at a different game to me and so condoned the home side’s ‘brusque ’ challenges in the second half and any ‘footballing’ side has problems. And we are not good at long-balls down the middle [admit it, who’d have thought that when Billy was announced as our new manager?]. Though, ironically, that’s how our goal came – but my view was that the Boro centre half made a mess of it and gifted the chance to Mr Adebola.

    On the subject of the bloke in black. Towards the end, McCleary had a hissy-fit pushing-match with some Boro player. It was in front of me [yes, I was in with the home fans, but had plenty of space around me] and I watched the referee watch them swing their handbags until other players separated them. And yet he booked only McCleary. Harrrumph.

    And finally, that crowd. First time I’ve seen the ground staff have to clear tumbleweeds from the pitch before kick-off. However, Kudos to the few hundred Boro fans behind the goal who kept up the repertoire of 70s and 80s chants and general abuse [not necessary] for the entire game.

    As always NFFC, keep up the good work.

  7. I was there! A poor jaded looking performance. McGugan was totally out of sorts and McCreary and McGoldrick not up to it. On the other hand there was a blatant handball by a boro defender to push the ball out for a corner which should have been a pen. It brightened up the night when Adebola came on but the inconsistent ref firstly let Ade get away with anything then blew every time he got near the ball.
    A game to forget – Campy MOTM.

  8. Seem to remember me saying a couple of weeks ago about the need for a 20-25 goal a season forward,collective strikeforce not working one iota.NLN is a complete idiot, does he not remember what NFFC have done for him in the past.Without his career at NFFC we would all be asking who he was.Thank god Doughty didn’t appoint him instead of Billy.

  9. I think both our first choice strikers are 20 goals a season players if fit and selected regularly, which they are not. A telling statistic for me is that Earnie is the striker with the most appearances this season and he has only started half of the games.

  10. Thanks NFFC.

    Agree with Red Ric – Lee Camp has been outstanding this season and he’s certainly keeping us in the mix.

    Hopefully we can get back to winning ways asap.

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