Back on track?..

Goldie: Matchwinner

Nottingham Forest – 2
Burnley – 0

Oof, for a considerable time this tie proved to be what the form table might suggest it would be.  The first half resembled a really slow brawl conducted by two men so inebriated they didn’t have the coordination to inflict any meaningful damage on one another.  To say I was a little bored would be an understatement.

From a Forest point of view the second half certainly improved – eventually you could actually tell which side was down to ten men after Bartley’s red card in the first half, and whilst Forest laboured ’til 73 minutes when substitute David McGoldrick broke the deadlock, there were a few more glimmers of hope in the build up.

Billy offered a few unexpected surprises in line-up, not least resting Gunts in favour of Moloney, the return of McKenna was bit of a surprise, but more so for me the inclusion of Moussi alongside him in midfield after he so obviously wilted latterly against Reading:

Moloney    Morgan    Chambers    Konchesky
McCleary    McKenna    Moussi    McGugan
Tudgay    Earnshaw

Before the game was a minute silence as a show of respect for Billy Gray, the recently deceased former Forest player who featured in the 1959 FA Cup win – I will take time later in the week to write more about him in due course.  The silence was immaculately observed by Forest and Burnley fans alike which is always good to see, and meant for a slightly delayed kick-off.

The first thirty minutes felt more like thirty years, both sides looked bereft of confidence and ideas, and struggled to keep hold of the ball for more than a couple of passes.  Burnley appeared to be set up to hit us on the break and/or go for a late run in the second half, whilst the Reds laboured to do something productive amidst groans from the crowd as passes went astray.

After the first half an hour suddenly chances on goal actually started to occur – the first fell to Burnley with a dodgy Wes clearance falling for Eagles, his shot looked to have fooled Camp who was forced into a good save with his legs diving the wrong way, the ball ending up over the bar at the expense of a corner.

Moments later might well have been the pivotal part of the game – it was hard to see what happened from my seat, but it appeared that Bartley went in stud-first on Chambers, and made considerable contact with him too – the defender was left down for a fair while whilst after the melee of angry players had subsided (perhaps a bit of an over-reaction?), the referee brandished the red card.

Forest’s first decent effort came soon after, a freekick from Lewis McGugan from an angle was smacked goalward-ish, but seemed to ricochet off Earnie and to safety.  As Burnley sat deeper it did offer the Reds more opportunity, a McGugan cross was heading for McCleary but for an interception from Duff giving the Reds their first corner of the match – on the 42 minute mark!

The final chance of the half was also from McGugan – a neat turn of his defender on the edge of the area opened up a shooting chance, his shot was reasonably well struck, but not with quite enough pace to beat the dive of Jensen who made a pretty comfortable save in the end.  A little more power and I think it might’ve slipped under him before he could hit the deck.

At half time we compared the beards we’d managed to grow and marvelled at how each of us had aged about a decade it seemed like we’d spent so long sitting there.  I exaggerate of course, but it was a half to forget for the most part probably from both fans’ perspective.  The hope was, of course, that we could make the extra man pay as the game wore on.

In truth, the second half started with more tempo – but in both directions.  A number of times we commented it was tricky to see where Forest were making the extra man count, indeed, without making the effort to count it was tricky to see which side was playing with a man less, such was Burnley’s workrate and Forest’s lack of creativity or mobility.

That said, there was more purpose than in the first half (not difficult!).  An early McGugan freekick was excellently struck toward Chambers who couldn’t quite get on the end of it, having to see it carry on and wide.  Lewis again was the architect, this time on the left where he beat his defender and crossed toward Moussi, but Jensengot there first.

The chance of the game so far came after – yes, him again – McGugan struck an excellent freekick from outside the box, Jensen made a cracking save, but parried the ball out to Earnshaw who appeared to be shoved as he headed it against the bar.  The referee waved away any appeals and, to be honest, even under attentions from a defender Earnie should be doing better there!

What looked like ‘one of those’ chipped passes forward from McKenna actually turned into a cracking ball to Earnie, who found himself clear of the last defender, but with the not inconsiderable hulk of Jensen closing him down – the big keeper did really well to smother the opportunity almost as soon as Earnshaw had the ball under control.

Burnley had opportunities too – Dean Marney had an effort from range which at least made Camp a bit uncomfortable, but he was able to dive and cover it relatively easily.  With the Reds still struggling to break down Burnley, Billy made a double-change with Raddy coming on for Moussi, and McGoldrick on for Tudgay.

An early foray down the right gave McGoldrick his first time on the ball, the second was put the ball in the net.  Lewis won a freekick after being cynically dragged back by a Burnley defender wide on the left, he took the freekick himself which deflected, falling for Goldie who swivelled and finished excellently to give the Reds the lead.

But for more excellent goalkeeping from Jensen it could’ve been two as well – McKenna found McGugan’s excellent run, which saw both him and Earnie against one defender, Lewis cleverly took it out wide and smashed a viciously swerving shot, alas it was a little too close to Jensen who made an impressive save.  Earnie was looking for the square ball, but to be honest I think Lewis was within his rights to have a pop.

Billy chose oddly to withdraw Brendan Moloney at this point to put Chris Gunter on, I thought the youngster (ha, I say youngster – I’m pretty sure he’s older than Gunts!) had had an excellent game and didn’t appear to be tiring.  He received a great ovation from the home crowd, and even a bit of a chant – which is nice, but harsh on many of the regular players who don’t have chants!

There were signs of calamity Forest at times, Burnley were increasingly gung-ho in their play as the game wore on, and we can be pretty susceptible to that at the best of times.  A late aerial assault culminated in Chris Iwelumo thankfully heading not quite over-Camp enough to prevent the Reds keeper catching it without falling back into the net!

The security of the second goal came in stoppage time – again McGugan was heavily involved down the right, he found Earnshaw on the left, who gave the ball to McGoldrick who put it into the top of the net from thirteen yards to secure the points, and hopefully secure some much-needed confidence for the games to come.


Spot the ball: Bartley goes in on Chambers, Eddie Howe things this is a tackle. Go figure.

As the scores elsewhere were confirmed (did anyone else feel dirty about cheering a Derby win?) it was a double-bonus, leaving us just a point away from the play-offs which certainly feels better than the four points adrift we found ourselves on Saturday.  Eddie Howe has kicked off about the red card so it will be interesting to see it again, as noted above, I couldn’t see it clearly.

Having said that, having been critical of a certain other red card lately I’ll reserve judgement – one thing I will say is that I was disappointed in the way some of the Forest players reacted (although they had a fine lesson in what that can achieve recently).  However, what is undeniable in this instance was that the ball was miles away and there was considerable contact from the player.  And Billy Davies stayed in his technical area.

A much needed win – hopefully a big confidence booster ahead of what is a very very tough trip to Norwich on Friday evening, once again where the TV cameras will be there to allow a nation to scrutinise our demise.  Or perhaps we might give the viewing public a surprise like we did all that time ago against West Brom.  Ah, how one of those performances would be welcome now!

17 Responses

  1. I like the ties being played at this time of the year as in NZ we are on winter clocks and I can listen to the match with my cornflakes and my boys before taking them off to school just in time.
    I agree from the commentary the first half was dreary but that let me get on with making toast. Wasd far more impressed in the second half Billy had obviously had a polite word at half time and the desired result was achieved. Well done McGoldrick that may keep the doubters at bay for a little while as he has probably doubled his tally in one match.

  2. To continue We may be back on track but I personally am not looking forward to our so called 3 easy matches at the end of the season as they will remind me of our games in hand.Maybe we will do better. Well Done!!! Derby for slowing down the march of that big team 60miles to the north on there quest to play their biggest rivals Man U on a regular basis. Looking forward to breakfast with Norwich.Keep the reports coming you do a great job in keeping us exiles in the picture and the imparting the CG atmosphere.

  3. Mcgugan was feeling good,was up for it, …and we won !
    He is the key to the rest of the season.
    If he is still with us next season we should build our team around him like Warnock did with Taarapt.
    His value will increase with performances like today’s.
    A draw at Nervous Norwich will do on friday !!

  4. Didn’t sound like the best of games and we really should have stepped up to the mark much earlier after the sending off but IMO it’s 3 valuable points & a clean sheet, so who caares!

  5. Credit to Lewis McGugan, who I’ve been highly critical of lately, he had his best game for some time. If only we could find a more central position for him….
    Wes and Chambo also much improved. Tudgay his best game for some time, too.
    Do you think they’ve had a b*llocking?!
    Moloney had asked to come off, nffc. He was suffering with cramp. A shame as he’d done well.
    Boyd was annoyed, he’d been told he was coming on for Earnie!
    I thought the sending off was debatable until I saw your photo, terrible tackle. The guys expression says it all, really.

    All in all, a decent game and great result.

  6. I sit in the Trent End and as the picture shows, it was definitely studs-up with the second foot following through. A harsh but ultimately fair red card.

    I didn’t like the reaction of the Forest team either, maybe they “learned” something up at Leeds. That makes me feel a bit dirty…

    Moloney cramped up – after he came off he sat on the floor by the dugout and just couldn’t move. An excellent shift by the Irishman 🙂

  7. Maloney was immense.

  8. Moloney

  9. Mcgugan definitely man of the match. If he could only sort out his woeful first touch, he is an exceptional talent. His work rate is up, and he was at the centre of just about every goal threat.

    Didsy getting 2 goals. Fancy that. I’m pleased for him, but he was in truth very poor in every other respect. I wouldn’t be surprised if billy plays him on Friday, if nothing else but to teach our other front men a lesson in taking your chances.

    Not sure we r back on track just yet. If we are less than 3 points behind Leeds after the weekend then maybe.

    Keeping everything crossed.

  10. Great win! Much needed at this time! I also heard former Forest striker Holt may not feature on Friday due to injury? I hope we can beat the Norwich and keep heading up the table. Come on you reds!!!

  11. Great result! Good performance!
    Let’s now focus on carrying out this performance to Norwich City on Friday, bag another priceless 3 points, and get back in the top 6 at the earliest!!
    That is must win game #3. COME ON, YOU REDS!!

  12. A vital win with results going our way as well.
    Its vital we get something against norwich,a win would be amazing but a point would be useful.

    Ive always said mcgugan is the key to us this season. Davies must play him for 90mins in every game. No tiredness excuses.

    U REDS

  13. […] the original post on Through the seasons before […]

  14. Grolt looks like he might be out of the Norwich Game- which is good as if he plays he’s bound to score at least one against us….

  15. Forest don’t half struggle when they have the numerical advantage! They are capable of playing some good footy but it comes in fits and starts too much. The foul on Chambers was pretty bad. Not an obvious one as they were close together. Don’t agree with it being a red, though. Ruins games, (as we well know), when a yellow and final warning would’ve be far more appropriate. It was the first foul of the game too, it was that lifeless, as far as I can remember. It’ll quickly fade from the memory banks but could be the win that brought the Trees back to life… Good to see Moloney getting a go. Have always rated him. Findley close to a return according to BD-v Fester would be nice, please! Unleash him on strange Sven and the bin robbers.

  16. A huge win a point at Norwich would be huge plus we need to go there and match them.We are capable and have the players to hurt them its all to play for….

    U reds

    • We should not go just to get a point. We have to aim for three, and contain Norwich (Palace – worst away record – did it. Why can’t Forest?). I really hope Billy’s got a plan to win Friday’s game, not just draw, because it’s gonna be massive. We have to win to get back in the top 6 at the earliest, so we can at least mount a push for second. We have to do our part and get another six wins in a row to make up for that horrible slump. Then if results go positive for us, who knows? You might see Forest running away with 2nd place.

      Believe in miracles, my friend and “anything” can happen!

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