I can’t take many more afternoons like that..

Lee Camp leads the lads in a rendition of the haka..

Bristol City – 2
Nottingham Forest – 3

A real emotional roller-coaster is the life of the Forest fan – what looked to be an uncharacteristically comfortable victory was cast into considerable doubt after the home side’s revival after half time, only for a winner to arrive thanks to a looping header from Luke Chambers resulting in a tense final twenty minutes until the game was over.

With results elsewhere very favourable to our cause it’s given us a little daylight between us and the chasing pack.  Millwall and Burnley have both overtaken Leeds, who lost to Palace, and sit two points beneath us.  Sitting-on-laurels time it most certainly isn’t – although with results as they occurred, both our remaining opponents almost certainly have nothing left to play for.

Scunthorpe United now require two wins and an 18 goal difference swing to escape an all-but certain fate of relegation, where both Doncaster and final day opponent Crystal Palace could technically replace them in the drop zone.  The upshot is that both teams we have left to play have nothing left to gain or lose this campaign – I’m undecided whether it’s a good thing or not.

So, on to our game.  Billy made a couple of changes – taking Gunter back to the bench in place of Konchesky, with Kris Boyd coming in at the expense of Marcus Tudgay up front to partner Earnshaw:

Moloney   Morgan   Chambers    Konchesky
McKenna   Moussi    McGugan   Cohen
Earnshaw   Boyd

It was right from the off that the Reds broke the deadlock – or the whites I suppose, resplendent as we were in our white away kit.  A McGugan free-kick from 32 yards was well-struck, but spilled by David James, with Kris Boyd on his toes for the rebound and he sprung to power the ball into the net from close range to give us the lead.

In customary fashion Forest immediately attempted to gift the side we’d scored against an equaliser, Morgan the perpetrator as he gave the ball away to Jonathan Stead who thankfully for us missed the target.  After this wobble, Forest did actually look pretty good going forward.  A decent ball from McGugan found Earnie whose shot from 20 odd yards was blocked for a corner.

At our end we were under threat from Clarkson from a tight angle – Big Wes got himself in the way of it and eventually Konchesky got it clear.  The home side continued to threaten though, and if it weren’t for a fantastic challenge in the area by Cohen then Jonathan Stead would’ve had an excellent opportunity to make up for his earlier miss.

Half-time approached and the game slowed, until Louis Carey felled McGugan in the box as the midfielder took the ball past him.  Both Lewis and Boyd went to grab the ball, Boyd arriving first and staking his claim – before calmly stepping up and slotting the ball powerfully past David James for his – and our – second goal of the game pretty much on the stroke of half time.

The great thing about scoring on the stroke of half-time is that we can’t immediately gift our opponents a goal.  Or can we?  Well, it would appear we can, because a mere three minutes into the second half and we’d conceded a Marvin Elliott header at the back post after more Keystone Cop style defending putting the team and fans alike on edge.

At the other end Lewis struck a free-kick just wide, but Bristol City were to have more bite post half-time.  On the hour it was all level when Spence was given all the time in the world to pick out Stead with a cross, Stead’s header looked to have wrong-footed Camp who got something on it but couldn’t keep it out.

Billy made an uncharacteristically early substitution in response – Boyd was withdrawn and denied his chance of a hat-trick and replaced with Robbie Findley, and shortly after were back in the lead.  Certainly Findley is proving a lucky omen – taking to the pitch when level and ensuring we end up winning 3-2, that’s not a bad omen to have!

The goal came from a Lewis McGugan corner, he’s not been picking out Chambers of late – but this time he did, and the number four caught it very well, looping it into the top corner despite the defender on the line who looked like he might’ve headed it into the roof of the net.  Right infront of the Forest fans too, this inevitably caused absolute pandemonium.

It really opened up as a contest – Campbell-Ryce caused Moloney a bit of a headache, but the defender bested him at the expense of a corner before being withdrawn by Billy with Gunter coming on to replace him.  Soon after McGugan – who appeared to be carrying a knock – was withdrawn for Julian Bennett, with Konchesky pushing forward into midfield.

A Chambers challenge set up a promising position for the Reds, getting the ball to Findley who played a lovely ball across to Earnie who put his header off target.  Again the trinity of Chambers-Findley-Earnshaw combined and with the same result – Chambo’s tackle on Campbell-Ryce was excellent, Findley’s lobbed through ball delicious, Earnie’s rushed lob not only cleared David James, but the crossbar too.  Disappointing.

There was almost the what increasingly feels like an inevitable sting in the tail when Brett Pitman had an excellent opportunity only to end up volleying wide.  It seemed worse in stoppage time when the ball ended up in the back of the net for Bristol, but fortunately the referee was alert enough to have noticed the rather blatant hand-ball by Marlon Jackson, and booked him accordingly.

It was us that had the final chance, Konch did well to beat his man and pulled the ball back for Earnie who again was in a good position, but again his finish let him down allowing McAllister to clear off the line.  The game ended with pressure from the home side but no direct chances, so a tense finish ending with apocalyptic style celebrations from fans and players alike!

The least said about the idiot Bristol pitch invader the better – but I’d better at least mention him I suppose.  Silly lad.

All in all, a very timely and exceedingly welcome result – the continued leakiness at the back worries me immensely, although at this stage results certainly count more than performances, the last thing that we want leading into a potential play-off lottery is a leaky defence, as we’ve seen in our last two ‘performances’ in that particular tournament.

I’m very pleased though, and I’m looking forward to hopefully an opportunity to try to consolidate things at home against Scunthorpe.  Those of you umming and aahing about coming, come down and let’s generate a great atmosphere at the ground, I can’t imagine too many Scunny fans will be making the trip, let’s spur our lads on to victory.

17 Responses

  1. Thanks for the report, as I can only make the home games these days they are always a great read. Noticed that Burnley v Leeds is a 12:45 kick off on Saturday, so that should make good viewing in the pubs around the ground before our game! And we’ll have a better idea of whether we can do it at home on Saturday rather than next week at Palace.

    I posted on your Facebook link after the Reading game that I thought our season was over, it’s sometimes nice to be wrong!

  2. I hope we can hang on to Mcgugan !!
    Everytime he had the ball there are at least three players on him,which leaves our team with the advantage If they can get the ball and use it properly. He also created the 3 goals !!!
    Poor Earnie had a shocker today.
    What should have been 5 0 to improve our goal difference to get nearer to Millwalls turned out to be 3 2 ! I hope Norwich get the 2nd spot so we have another go at Cardiff……

  3. Billys post match was exactly how I felt yea we won but it wasnt good enough really was it.Twice now we have nearly bottled it in games and it has to be sorted out .

    Sloppy passing not shutting down and missing sitters ruthless is the name of the game at this stage.But well done to the lads for keeping going its in our own hands now.

    Can we do a Blackpool ? funnier things have happened i agree nffc our defence worries me hugely also but another good win and we have momentum.

    Im a billy fan but I thought bringing boyd off was a mistake and look what earnie produced ????.
    Would love to see some pace back in the side we misss it .

    U reds

  4. Certainly was edge of seat stuff out there. We never do things the easy way and this was no exception. Goes with the turf being a Forest fan.

    McGugan is a worry as he’s starting to show some flashes of brilliance again. Lets hope his calf injury isnt too serious and he starts against Scunny,

    As you say NFFC, not sure if Scunny “technically” being down won’t allow them to play with more freedom. I would have preferred them still fighting for points as they would have had to attack us at the CG – leaving them open to our great counter attacks.

    Heres hoping for a bumber crowd and a great atmosphere. This business end of the season is not so good for weak hearts tho.

  5. My son and I spent the game sitting
    in our car on the drive listening the radio (it’s the only radio we have that is strong enough to pick up radio nottm from south leics).

    Agony. Compounded by the incredibly slow commentator whose voice suggests a clear cut brissle chance but takes an age to tell you they sent it wide.

    The defence seem to be pressing the self destruct button lately, and it sounded like moussi had another shocker (he’s ona run of them). I am looking forward to seeing Boyd with findley for more if a game. Earnie too needs to look in the mirror. He didn’t do enough to justify his place yesterday, far too wasteful of precious chances.

    Another 3 goals is good, despite the creative forces of mcleary and majewski not being called upon….

    Finally the biggest positive. I can’t remember the last time forest scored without Lewis McGugan playing a part in creating the chance. Well done lewis. Stay fit, cos if you get crocked we’re toast!

  6. Happy Days as we are back in the mix; although we do need to quickly address the collective weak mentality that can turn a positive into a negative very quickly. This has seriously undermined us for quite a long time.
    Nevertheless, if we do manage to squeeze into the play offs everyone’s limited expectations may just help us & it’ll give the Moose enough time to get his radar in-tune & Findlay precious game time. Whatever happens; the Reds deserve our full support as ever!! You Reds.

  7. Good report as usual but whilst I can understand the frustration about our defensive frailties, but can we all just think back just a few short weeks to when we were all worried that our strikers couldn’t hit a barn door and now by my count we’ve scored 12 in 5 games, and we all know that goals scored wins games, especially playoffs, ask Cardiff and Blackpool fans which was more important last season.

    • In fact, it’s 8 games ago against Donny since we failed to score, and thats a VERY positive statistic

  8. I’ve everything crossed that Lewis’s injury is not serious and he stays fit for the rest of the season. All 3 goals created by him, yet again. Attitude or not, we’d be mid table at best without him.

  9. Good report as usual NFFC. I was one of those in the “pandemonium” after Chambo”s goal. I thought Cohen was the “Man of the Match”, unwavering in his search for the ball, and always available, broke almost every Bristol attack up, he was just like the proverbial, horse sh1t, everywhere. It”s always been nerve “jangling” supporting Forest, none more so than at this time, so looking forward to more “edge of yer seat stuff” on saturday.

  10. not bothered about the goals conceded, just want a win at all cost! deserved or not. i just hope we dont slack off against scunny! weve slipped up against worst teams this year sadly……..would not want to go to palace needing three points. thats tough as hell!

  11. As previously stated (repeatedly), Forest should:
    1) sack billy
    2) build team around mcgugan
    – that is all

  12. the club have just announced reduced prices for Scunny, it is the responsibility of EVERY RED to buy tickets until none remain, the club have done there bit now lets do ours, see you there trickies, COME ON YOU REDS lets make it white hot on saturday.

  13. Nottingham Forest…the cause of premature greyness, balding and strokes.

    Its different slant looking at it this year. Yeovil, Sheffield United, Blackpool …we were fancied in all of them and now people are questioning us.

    Lets get to wembley and then hopefully the 40,000 forest fans can be the 12th man.

    • totally agree david. if and THATS a still big if we get in the play-offs, were not fancied to do anything. actually were fancied to get walloped by whoever we play and pundits will probably say it was just good enough to be int he play-offs! i reckon being the underdogs might just suit us… we seriously have nothing to lose IF WE GET IN THE PLAY-OFFS! all eyes will be on norwich and especially cardiff if the dont sneak in 2nd.

  14. Unfortunately its a long way to go for reduced ticket prices from here in New Zealand.but if I could Iwould have all three boys and daughter as well to cheer the lads on.Good report as usual will miss them in the close season having watched the highlights yes we did seem to be on a bit of a self destruct mode but as long as we score one more than the opposition at this point in the season that will do. I would, if we get to the playoffs fancy us against any of the others especially as we will not be expected to do much and I agree that could work in our favour.Has’nt the fixture list worked in our favour with the big team up north playing Burnley and our other rivals for the last spot playing Swansea. Fate has dealt us a winnable hand here’s hoping we take the oppurtunity.

    Enjoy the match Saturday we will be listening to Mr Chipperfield at 4 in the morning.

    Come on u reds

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