Frustration mounts as limp Reds fall short again..

Earnie: Back amongst the goals

Nottingham Forest – 3
Reading – 4

A strange afternoon saw an end-to-end encounter that I’m struggling to describe as entertaining, because our defending was so shambolic.  A dreadful referee at least made dreadful decisions in both directions – but ultimately Forest didn’t have enough about them to deny Reading claiming a win they deserved.  As predicted, once Moussi went off (looking knackered, so fair enough), we lost the midfield battle.

Whilst the gap to the play-offs now sits at four points, a re-ascent into the promotion reckoning is by no means impossible, but having seen the kind of form we’re on, performances levels and the continued lack of options open to us – not to mention playing games against decent opponents as soon as Tuesday, then Friday, I’m about ready to give up hope on getting into the top six.

So, to the game, Billy brought Moussi back straight into the starting eleven, whilst Lynch got the nod over the recovered Konchesky at left-back, Earnie was restored to the starting eleven to partner Boyd up front…

Gunter    Morgan    Chambers    Lynch
McCleary    Majewski    Moussi    McGugan
Boyd   Earnshaw

It was a pretty positive start from the Reds, an early attack saw McCleary have a shot which deflected toward Boyd, who was offside.  Early on though it was the welcome back Guy Moussi show – he had a really positive start to the game, and really helped to show what we’d been missing since he suffered his injury.  Reading were certainly proving a threat though as the half went on.

On nineteen minutes Shane Long hit the deck with, and Shane Long fans might want to correct this, what I think was a variant 2 dive under the most minimal challenges by Gunts.  The referee thought it was a foul, and should therefore have given a penalty since I thought whatever had happened occurred in the box, but he gave a free-kick which Harte did really well to put straight in – although I think it’s fair to point a few questions toward Lee Camp.

Reading really dominated the game now, with Forest visibly wilted by going behind after their decent start.  Another dangerous delivery from Harte – this time from the right – found Manset in the box, but Moussi was able to get it clear.  Despite our early promise, the first shot on target game well after half an hour, and was a tame effort from Lewis, an easy first call to action by McCarthy in the Reading goal.

We did equalise though, on the 38th minute McGugan was *ahem* fouled by Leigertwood (didn’t look like it to me), Kris Boyd was quick to claim the ball, and confidently struck the ball into the bottom left corner, sending the ‘keeper the wrong way in the process.  This seemed to give the Reds a new lease of life, a venomous shot from McCleary from range swerved in the air forcing McCarthy into an awkward punch.

The rejuvenated Reds had a couple of forays down the right via Chris Gunter, but weren’t able to craft too many more meaningful opportunities, whilst at the other end Lee Camp made up for awkward positioning from another Ian Harte freekick which a decent save to tip it over the bar to give the visitors a stoppage time corner, which came to nothing, meaning we went in level at half time.

Forest came out positively in the second half, and immediately tried to probe the Reading defence but without much end product.  Reading were looking dangerous on the break, particularly down the flanks – Kebe in particular was making life incredibly difficult for Lynch (when he wasn’t writhing around on the floor in mock agony, that is!).  It was Reading making opportunities too, a Harte cross was headed just wide by Mayset.

Gunts in the meantime was exemplary in turning defence into attack, winning the ball to deny Reading a chance before bursting forward and into the Reading penalty area before being halted.  We did get the lead, too – the ball was played toward Earnie who dummied it beautifully allowing it to run through to McGugan, who spotted Earnie’s run into the box, picked him out and the number ten finished brilliantly with a low drive to the far post.

In recent Forest fashion though, the lead lasted a matter of moments – two minutes later and Reading were level, a very deep corner saw Camp ridiculously out of position, around five yards off his line, although that doesn’t take anything away from a brilliantly executed looping header from Karacan from the edge of the area which dropped just under the bar and in.

The match continued to be end-to-end, McCleary had done well to fashion a shooting chance for himself but was blocked off by a defender, McGugan pounced on the rebound but was also denied by a block.  At the other end Leigertwood sent Kebe clear who seemed to have all the time in the world but conspired to hit the ball wide.  Shortly after he did hit the target but Camp saved for a corner.

I think it was a 2-2 that Earnie showed echoes of Gary Crosby by cleverly nicked the ball away from McCarthy as he was making to clear.  Whilst it’s true the ‘keeper didn’t have the ball in his control having thrown it in the air, I’d be surprised if any referee would’ve tolerated Earnie stretching his foot up to nick the ball, round the goalie and net it.  Shame though, it was a nice finish. Earnie was booked for his trouble.

It was third time lucky for Kebe, a Reading corner was hit goalwards after a good turn from Khizanishvili – Camp made the save but was only able to parry the ball into the danger area where Kebe was on hand to hammer the ball into the roof of the net from six yards out to put Reading back into the lead.  Billy introduced Nathan Tyson for the visibly knackered Moussi, and Konchesky to replace the run-ragged Joel Lynch.

Tys had an early chance – Boyd had a shot blocked, the ball fell to the former Reading man but he characteristically blazed it over and wide.  Adebola was Billy’s last throw of the dice, replacing Boyd with a little under a quarter of an hour remaining on the clock.  McCleary had a strong finish to the game, another shot blocked from him fell to Konchesky whose cross found Chambers, but he headed wide.

Dele was fouled blatantly in the area by McAnuff but the ref waved away appeals for a penalty, moments later Gunter looked to have gone to ground rather easily and I can only presume the referee was evening up the earlier miss.  McGugan grabbed this one and put it the same was as Boyd had earlier, and again sent the ‘keeper the wrong way to give Forest an equaliser which, to be honest, was a bit flattering.

Alas, anyone who reads a Forest match report of late knows the script of late – for every Forest goal there must be one for the opponent soon after – and that’s what happened again.  The 90th minute saw a quick freekick release Karacan down the left, he struck a powerful cross into the six yard box which hit Chambers to go in for an own goal to give them the lead.

In stoppage time there was time for more controversy, a block from Gunter which I’m sure he made with his chest was given as a handball to give Reading an undeserved penalty (I actually don’t think any of the penalties the ref gave should have been given!).  With the visiting fans thinking the game was sewn up now they had a moment of discomfort after Camp saved Long’s penalty, but the Reds weren’t able to muster up anything approximating a threat in stoppage time and thus lost. Again.

As I said above, I think that’s it for us this season – but would love to be proven wrong.  Our strength in defence is eroding through lack of depth and – more crucially – lack of defensive cover in midfield.  Pretty much as Billy has always said, we lack the squad size to challenge – and, against what Billy says, I don’t think that we are excellent candidates for the play-offs, not without a BIG improvement over the next two games and beyond.

22 Responses

  1. My worry now is not promotion but the players we are going to lose in the summer. Wilson is off for sure, earnshaw, moussi, tyson, adebola will all leave on free contracts in the summer i’m certain of that. Plus we will lose paul konchesky, and boyd when there loans are up. Thats 7 players we will need to replace at least. Plus i think we’ll have a battle on our hands to keep hold of camp, cohen, gunter and mcgugan maybe other like, chambers and morgan. So this is going to be a massive summer for nottingham forest and i’m starting to worry where we go from here. If nigel doughty doesn’t want to spend money on new players and we lose so many first team players in the summer it will look very bleak indeed. I can’t believe we’ve allowed this to happen after all the hard work getting a very good young side. I hope i’m wrong and the club have a plan b but knowing forest we don’t and we end up in the shit. Full credit to reading on there win there came and attacked us and looked the better side. Not sure i want to watch these last painful 6 games but i’ll be there because i love nottingham forest. Come on doughty back billy in the summer please.

  2. Considering how open the game was I thought Lewis and MacCleary were woeful. McGugan in particular, such a waste of talent.
    BD was again giving him instructions and again he was shrugging and looking uninterested.
    Camp at fault for 2 of the goals, Wes was torn a new one by their number 45 and we couldn’t cope with the diving Shane Long.
    Imagine going up and having to contend with REALLY good players!!

    Heard some interesting stuff yesterday regarding BD…
    Apparently Forest have been offered a good few players this year, Billy has rejected them out of hand (not the board), saying they’re not good enough. Yet these same players are now playing very well indeed for our rivals. ( I was given 3 names that made rang true and made sense).
    I hope this is idle gossip, because Billy has won me over since ND appointed him. But if true then I see a very sticky summer ahead, looking for a new boss.

    I’m Forest through and through, home and away. But my god they can’t half frustrate!!

    • Macleary was woeful? are you seriou, he was probably our best midfielder, except for the Mousse in 1st half. He looked dangerous every time he got the ball, put some good balls in, couple of good shots and tracked back to good effect too.

      • Yeah, maybe a bit harsh on Macleary.
        I am actually a big fan of his, I’d love for him to have a proper run in the side.
        On Saturday he’d have benefitted from Cohen and Moose doing the graft while him and Raddy pulled the strings, considering how open Reading played.

        Not changing my mind on Lewis though!

        • i’d agree Lewis was disappointing at times, but did have a spark now and again but doesnt work hard enough for the team ,especially when we’ve got no midfield cover at all.
          Macleary has been a bright spark the last few weeks for me, definitely benefitting from some starts and more minutes on the pitch. certainly has a lot more to his game than Anderson who for me offers very little.

  3. hey matty boy …who’s the players then ??????????????????/

    • Few years ago I had a fair say in a supporters club and got to know a couple of chaps within NFFC quite well.
      Bumped into one of them at the weekend and in conversation he mentioned Harewood, Bannan, Woolford, Michael Brown and Van Arnholt. BD said no to all.
      While those names are not a shock, I must admit I was a little surprised that this person said them out loud! I don’t mind putting them in print as he is far too old to be an internet warrior so doubt he’ll read this!
      Obviously the only 3 people who ACTUALLY know the truth are the Owner, the MD and Billy.

  4. I think we are all hurting at the moment I hear it in your report well done for even writing one.I felt it was over about 3 games ago to be honest we have been way of the pace and are a shadow of our mid season form.

    Are we good enough to go up ? my answer is no

    Is our squad robust enough for the premier leage ? no

    Does expectation and the big time charlie attitude play a part in our constant implosions ? I think yes

    Whats the answer ?

    Missing out in 3 transfer windows has cost us dearly I feel Doughty has tried to get promotion on the cheap.

    Billy is a good manager but hasnt been given the resources needed or the money to get what he wants.All these loans arent the answer and we need more robust experienced pros in our side 4 or 5 players need to go no question.

    Beating the sheep twice has been great its the only trophy we are going to have this season FOR SURE.

    U reds

  5. It was like the play semis against Yeovil and Blackpool. Loads of blood rushing to the head meaning we lost shape, lost the ball and ultimately lost the bloody game.

    Billy has been proved right tho. The squad is too thin and thats cost us at this crutial point of the season. Moose, as good as he was, wasnt match fit and normally wouldnt have played surely?

    I feel we have lost our way now and the season is over in regards to the play offs. Sad but I’m convinced its true.

    The rumour mill kicked in already I see….. Billy going and Houghton coming in was previously posted too. My, my arent we in for a summer of discontent!!!

  6. First of all, all those forest fans on the radio who said Billy should go are stupid!

    2nd, we play Burnley who are getting battered lately too. If we beat them, surely some confidence will come back to this forest team that is showing such complacency at the minute.

    3rdly, and its a moan at Davies. Ive always said Davies is the right man to lead this team forward and still believe it but he chats some crap at times.

    He said before the international break after swansea defeat that the form would defo change as the players were knackered. He said post match again that the players are tired. well reading played tuesday night billy! It was a valid excuse with all our games in hand but it cant be blamed now!.

    Just show some passion forest and lets give it a good go in these remaining 6 games.

    U REDS

  7. I agree watching the match on Saturday, really felt like that play off experience ! Makes me wonder why we still want to get there !!!

    Time to hold our nerve.

    It has been a disappointing run, but not unexpected. BD has been saying for months that our squad was too small. However, despite the last two results, there were positives.

    Leeds we played well until going down to 10 men.

    Reading we lost the midfield battle, but we knew that would be the case as McKenna injured, Cohen suspended and Moussi not match fit. Twice we came back from a goal behind. Boyd is improving, Moussi will get fitter and Cohen will be back soon.

    If we beat Burnley, we are still in it.

    We can beat Burnley, Leicester and Scunthorpe at home and a draw at Bristol, that is 10 pts, that might get us over the finish line for the playoffs on 70 pts.

    Leeds have to play QPR, Reading and Burnley.

    Leicester we can finish off ourselves.

    Milwall are probably the main threat for the last play off place, their run in is easiest, but will they handle the pressure ?

  8. A Reading fan made a good point for me on the way out of the CG saying that we don’t seem to be able to cope with the faster pitches that spring brings. We get run a bit ragged. Rings true for me as it’s close to about a million goals conceded in the last few matches. Reading, like Leeds and Swansea recently just had a bit more decisiveness about their attacking play and got in loads more decent efforts on goal and so got the win. Oh for a striker with the power of Collymore, the guile of Roy and the finishing of PVH! Even a Jack Lester could do better than the current lot? Moussi was tremendous and is the one player Forest need to get signed up if we’re to build a decent team.

  9. Another great report when I know it must be difficult and frustrating for you.

    In a way I am glad that I can’t get down to the CG these days, just watching my team implode from a distance is bad enough.

    I wonder though is it actually time for a clear out at Forest? Some true rebuilding? Here I am not just talking about the team, but management and ownership too.

    Perhaps with the exception of Moussi its not a bad thing that so many players are out of contract come the end of the season. Most, in my very humble opinion would not cut it in the Premiership or even in this league, at least not under the current management set-up.

    I quite like BD, BUT he can’t really cut the mustard can he? He might be OK at Championship level and I am fairly certain he can keep us in that league but that’s not ambitious enough for the majority of the Forest faithful is it?

    Which leads me round to ND and the level of ambition(which might also read future investment) he really has. I sometimes feel that we are his plaything as an aside to his real business interests. Some might even say a tax break!

    Yes, I know, before anyone says it, I am just an arm chair warrior who lives on the other side of the globe, but I am still and will always be a Red Dog.

    It just saddens me that our once great club and I don’t just mean the European stuff, is destined to continue in obscurity unless something drastic is done.

    As I said above time for a clear out I think-sorry to be so negative but that’s how I have felt for a couple of seasons now.

  10. cant see billy being around in the summer, if you were given a job to do as he was, firstly keep us in the championship which he did, then eventually get us into the prem, wheather it be a two,three,four year plan, then have the rug pulled from under him in the transfer activities needed to effect the premiership plan. An argument against this is he must have known the structure at the club before he came,,my thoughts are he wanted to prove his previous employers wrong, and what better way to do it than with their biggest rivals but doughty and co have held onto the purse strings which will deny us our best manager since the late great one come the summer,,,great read as ever

  11. I thought we played alright on saturday but were undone by poor defending. Camp was culpable for goals once more, is he perhaps in a comfort zone knowing that Billy’s never gonna pick Darlow ahead of him? I’m a fan of Camp but he’s looked far from imperious just lately.
    I was surprised at how many long balls Reading played though, I had thought they were a footballing side, but more disappointing was how effective they were, as their strikers got hold of them every time.
    On balance of chances Reading probably deserved to win but again the ref had a big influence, stonewall penalty on Dele not given and never a free kick given against the big man which lead to Reading’s 4th.
    I still think we can do it but its looking further and further away; we’ve played a lot better in the last 2 games and should take heart from that.

  12. Billy and next season? I think the key was an interview Billy did before the international break saying, basically that there is a 3 year plan to get Forest into the Prem, and if we get there this year it will be one year earlier than planned, but if not, we’ll do it next year.

    This gives me a little hope that there will be one last throw of the dice for BD. Keeping the right players and getting some replacements will be key.

    Reading player said before the match “we have 2 players competing for every position”. Forest need to do likewise, if we are to thrive. And where our fringe players arent good enough to provide genuine competition we need to replace them.

    The positives, however this year are….
    Lewis – from zero to hero. Not yet the finished article, but great progress
    McLeary – I was his biggest critic, but he seems to have got over the ‘fancy boy tricks’ and started to look a genuine championship player.
    Chambers – Was getting all kinds of stick last year, but now rivals Wes for our best centre back.
    Finley – the great unknown,but at least it’s extra fire power.
    Tudgay – Most likely a good capture, but will depend if he can reproduce his loan form rather than settling down. Definitely has the ability.

    Midfield battler and leader, plus the usual left wing problem, and a genuine left back remain the big gaps. McKenna’s age seems to be catching up with him – he isn’t an automatic first choice any more and that will only continue.

    I do think that Halsey has a lot to answer for. His bias led to 3 points lost in not one game but at least 2 (and please God not 3 / 4) because Cohen would have been the difference on Saturday.

    Gloom. But we march on.

  13. I may get pelters for this, but i fail to see why people lay the blame at the chairmans door?
    He is a red like the rest of us, however, what costs us tens, hundreds or possibly thousands of pounds each year costs him MILLIONS.
    MARTHUR IS THE WEAKEST LINK and is very fortunate to keep his post, but is Billy the manager he wants us to believe?
    Paul Lambert has spent buttons, as has Brendan Rodgers, both of their teams play free flowing footy, whilst we have Campy hoofing it all day, nearly always conceeding possesion in the process, and does anyone think that bringing EVERYBODY back at corners is a wise tactic?
    Nigel Doughty must wonder as we do, whether or not we do have the right man at the helm, and those who suggest Billy is the best since Cloughie, have clearly forgotten the fantastic team Frank Clark put together. Anybody who thinks that another billionaire is out there waiting should go and speak to Everton supporters, there simply is nobody who will ride in and throw money at it.
    Our chairman loves our club, the only fault with him is that he has appointed the wrong people to run it, but as a supporter he cannot be faulted, surely?

  14. I’m surprised no-one has mentioned Joe Garner, 2 more goals on saturday against the league leaders! Well done to him but surely a big mistake from Davies not to have given him a chance up front for us.

    A telling statistic is that there are 20 championship clubs who have scored more goals than us away from home. Does that sound like a team challenging for promotion?

  15. I agree with “apwarren”: Billy has had absolutely incredible backing in the transfer market, and he has most fans’ support (outwardly anyway). The person we should all be pointing the finger at is Billy, specifically his endless tinkering with a successful side during most of the season, and his patchy record with incoming transfers/loanees.

  16. Great review as usual. Right, I’m hating my footie at the moment. On Saturday we lost to a team that was in form and better than us. The first Reading goal was a penalty the ref was carp! But they deserved the win.Mcleary was very good in the second half what’s happened to lewis wallowing in his own crapulance again?

    So what do we do? The TAP and Billy must take some brick batts, “only if he improves the team/squad”? Frankly at the moment a warm body would improve the squad! Konch signed but IF we make the pray-offs we cant play him.In other words Stella signings no just good ones please! Talking championship players not premier league ones. Boyd? had his best game for Forest on saturday but Billy why take him off? When will Billy EVER see that lynch isn’t and never will be a left bacK? Will Billy change things when thinks aren’t working?

    At the moment I don’t feel like renewing my season ticket for next season and this is because I HAVE LOST FAITH IN THE MANAGEMENT of this club. The PR from the club is appalling, lord D seems to think that a statement once a year when the financials are announced and its “what a wonderful guy he must be to throw a further £6+ million at it” sorry it’s a broken record and getting a little thin.

  17. We’ve been here before a few times now and not just under BIlly. Paul Hart’s team has a whiff of this one. Do we not think, simply put, they’re weren’t good enough when needed. Blaming ref’s is a little desperate now as they didn’t cost us against Preston, Scunthorpe, Sheff utd, Leics etc etc. Forest simply played badly. If the game against Leeds had been a cup match you could say that the Ref had a big hand in costing us the tie. But not promotion over the course of a league season. We should of took advantage against teams in the bottom 3, we should of played better at leics. That is all on the team. They weren’t good enough then and aren’t good enough to get promoted let alone survive in the prem.

    To be honest part of me wants to miss out on the playoffs as its only going to prolong our anguish.The team isn’t good enough and also BD has to hold his hands up and say he’s dropped the ball on a few occasions too. Who said Faster pitches? Sorry but I think that is Bullshit. This is a BD team characteristic even by his own admission. Slow start, good up until Jan, struggle from then on. If you look at it Derby was the only Blip as he actually got them promoted. He’s not done that with any other team. I’m not saying he should go and I do think he’s been the best thing to happen to Forest for about 8-9 years. He’s kept us in this division and turned us from near relegation to near promotion in one season. It seems that already the days of Megson, Kineer and Calderwood have been forgotten. Well I haven’t forgotten them and I’m grateful we’re not battling relegation, we have produced good football and we still have a slight chance at promotion. It seems expectations from the fans once again far out weigh the talent within the squad.

    As people have suggested on here already. We could lose a few players but there is also every chance that they will stay. What’s to say that every player still wanted coming to the end of his deal hasn’t been told.”look we’d like you to stay but we wont offer anything until we know what league we are in next season” That is a little risky but have you heard any of them complaining? Even Tyson who hasn’t been told a thing would probably still sign for us if we presented him with a contract.

    Lets see what happens against Burnley. This run of form has got to end soon. You never know what difference a win could make.

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