Forest use another ‘Get out of jail’ card: How many do we have?

Nottingham Forest – 2
Leicester City – 2

That difficult start to the season continues for the Reds, although it has to be said upon seeing the starting line-up, it wasn’t too difficult to divine the potential pitfalls we would encounter.  Steve replaced the injured Reid with Lewis McGugan, and opted to drop Raddy for George Boateng.

A frustrating afternoon for the Reds with a happy ending – to some degree – that goes some way to papering over the cracks of a spectacularly hapless first 70 minutes of the game.  Still, a point is a point.  Plus a bit of deja vu – a 2-2 draw with Leicester at the City Ground, with a stoppage time equaliser (that stoppage time brought about by cheatery and play-acting from Leicester players).  Some things will never change!

So, anyway, our initial line-up was a little something like this, and might disjointed it was too – as, frankly, I would expect anybody to anticipate from a cursory glance at it…

Moloney   Morgan    Chambers    Gunter
Cohen    Boateng    Greening    McGugan
Derbyshire    McGoldrick

The early exchanges were fairly flaccid from both sides – which was kind of what I expected from two sides that have hardly set the league on fire as yet.  It took a quarter of an hour for either side to sting the palms of a goalkeeper – it being, of course, Lee Camp called into action – making saves from a Nugent header, and then from Bamba – both from corners.

After 18 minutes all looked calm, the Reds were building from the back – the fullbacks were pushing on, Greening had the ball in midfield and played a criminally short pass to Chambers, it was intercepted by Fernandes who burst clear, but wide thanks to Morgan busting a gut to get across – he midfielder had the presence of mind to cut it back to the unmarked Nugent who put it in the empty goal.

Suspicions of offside, maybe – I thought Nugent looked a little ahead of play and the ball pulled back wasn’t square or back, but slightly forward – but that’s probably nitpicking really, plus the nature of the counter-attack thanks to our clumsiness on the ball meant the linesman wasn’t exactly in line anyway.  A real frustrating episode, one that Greening will be keen to forget!

It seems we don’t learn either.  It wasn’t long before it was two – and again, we were architects of our own downfall – with Danns latching onto a poor ball again in midfield, his effort was cleared off the line but it fell to the unmarked Fernandes who crashed it home from close range to capitalise on our extraordinarily generous play.

Naturally enough the Leicester fans (who did that daft “turn around and jump up and down” thing – I think it looks bloody ridiculous anyway, doubly so when only half the fans seem to understand what’s going on and join in) started to enjoy themselves, and the opportunity to goad the Forest fans.  Who, like me, seemed to mostly be being anaesthetised by an almost impossibly bad Forest performance.

Leicester will, and should, be looking back at this game and asking serious questions about why they couldn’t capitalise further upon our awful play.  Moloney was struggling at right back, our midfield lacked pace and bite, and Gunts – whilst giving 100% – isn’t a left back.  That said, he put in the one decent delivery of the half for us, finding Derbyshire in the six yard box who conspired to barely connect with a header to miss the target.

Half time was greeted with boos, and – whilst generally I don’t condone such actions – it’s difficult to argue against it today, we really were that bad.  Shambolic at the back, wasteful in midfield and non-existent up front.  A decent side would have been absolutely out of sight by the break, fortunately Leicester don’t quite look the finished article yet either.

As the second half drew near Robbie Findley and Ishmael Miller came out a little early to warm up with Haisselbank, and sure enough both were introduced in straight swaps with McGoldrick and Derbyshire.  It might be a little harsh, both strikers had little or no service, but it did seem to have made a real difference.

Leicester played their part in their downfall, with little forward impetus, content to sit and absorb the limited threat they expected Forest to pose.  A freekick was spanked into the wall by McGugan after Greening was hacked down by Wellens, a break from Danns resulted in a cross right across the six yard box and out for a goal kick.

To be frank, the change came for us with the introduction of Raddy, who replaced Brendan Moloney.  Gunter was restored to right back (as important a change as Raddy’s introduction), and Cohen pushed back to left back.  Suddenly the Reds sprang to life with about fifteen minutes of normal time remaining.

A flick from Miller on a Camp kick put Findley almost through – the American’s shot was good but Schmeichel – who’d had nothing to do up until now – was equal to it, parrying it back into play where Findley couldn’t get the rebound on target.  A minute later Miller did well to hold the ball up back to goal at a tight angle, and turn and shoot – again, the Leicester keeper was up to the save.

The change in mood on the pitch was echoed in the stands – as the fans started to realise an effort was being made, and repaid the favour – and the breakthrough came on 79 minutes when a Gunter cross richocheted around Findley, Mills and Schmeichel.  The eagle-eyed referee spotted a handball by Mills, on seeing the replay, I’m not convinced it was deliberate.  But you have to take what luck you can get!

Schmeichel was booked for acting like a prize arsehole before the kick was taken, as was Mills for the handball itself.  The penalty was taken expertly by McGugan – the keeper dived the right way, so it needed to be right in the bottom corner which it was.  Schmeichel probably sealed his man of the match award for Forest by hurling the ball away in disgust – and being booked for it, and therefore obviously sent off!

A pause while the visitors put on their reserve keeper – ironically it was the man who gifted us three points last season, Chris Weale.  He replaced Neil Danns and Leicester retreated into a world of defending and falling over and feigning injury a lot.  Even their fans joined in by refusing to throw the ball back right away when it had found its way into the away end.

With normal time almost at an end a freekick on the edge of the box was lined up by Lewis – it looked decently flighted by clipped the wall at the expense of a corner.  The previously gloating visiting fans were incredibly quiet by this point, despite the goads of quietness during the time they had a two goal cushion – and this nervousness was reflected in their team as well.

Five minutes of stoppage time was announced – probably about right with the number of substitutions, the red card kerfufflery and the amount of ‘injuries’.  It was in the fourth minute of this time that a Cohen ball in evaded Weale who looked badly positioned, and fell to the back post where I fancy it was probably a Konchesky own goal – but undoubtedly Boateng looks to be claiming it.  A real relief.

What this shouldn’t do though, is paper over the cracks of what was another – for the most part -bloody awful performance.  A better team than Leicester would have really put us to the sword today – and, indeed, on another day we’d never have got that penalty and the referee might well have seen a push for our second.  We got very lucky.

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Hearing McClaren in his post-match interview he seems well aware of this, at least – let’s just hope that he can work a way through it.  He spoke of wanting 2-3 more bodies in – and even uttered that fateful phrase ‘stellar signings’.  We really do need to add some penetrative attacking players into the mix, because at the moment we’re about as much use as a dildo made of sponge.

16 Responses

  1. I was appalled and ashamed at the booing of McGoldrick when his name was announced before the game.

  2. We only appear to be turning up for the second halves of games. Simply woeful in the first 45 and wasnt much better for the first 15 minutes of the 2nd. Only the penalty turned the game in our favour and so we were damn lucky to salvage a point.

    As for Leicester, I’m not sure they would have scored had we not gifted them 2 goals. Sven, like Schteve, has a lot to do!!

  3. Agree with your assessment. Fester had Forest on the ropes, although much of it was Forest’s own doing. Poor passing and positioning from the midfield put us in some tricky situations and ultimately cost two of the sloppiest goals I’ve seen Forest concede outside of a play off semi final! On a positive note, Boateng, whilst sometimes guilty of being a little slapdash in possession lee the Reds rally well at the end and deserted his goal. Miller and Findley were instrumental in getting Forest playing more in the Fester half which allowed the midfield and full backs to get forward. Plenty of negatives but hopefully the positives of the last 20 minutes quickly become the standard. Can’t say I heard booing of Mcgoldrick before the game in the Upper Bridgford. To be honest, he did nothing on the ball again and tried that damned back heel once more! He needs a move away on loan quickly as he looked really lost today. Majewski looked ready to come back in from the cold today which has been a long time coming.

  4. Mmmmm will take the point and happy not to have got turned over but there are issues in our side.The balance of the team is wrong again players well out of position WHY on earth cant Forest sign a left back its bloody ridiculous ?

    The boro old guard are not the answer in this leage they are players well past there best and it shows.McClaren is up against it he has to get the balance right and bring in the quality needed or he will be under pressure very soon.

    Must improve Forest this is a pile of crap……………?

  5. I wasnt there but equally appalled if Mcgoldrick was booed, i think it has been said before Messi would struggle up front for Forest.
    i do fear Mclaren is not going to improve things, we seem to be starting all over again, he is quoted as saying he has a 3year contract by which time we will be in the premier league. Well to me we were 2 years into the last 3 year plan and we sacked the manager, with another year and financial support i believe we would have been promoted. The old 3 year plan has now become a 6 year plan. Also listen to Mclaren on radio Nottm after the game and he talks about 2 or 3 stellar signings-as NFFC points out in his report-where we have we heard that before? Billy upset Marthur and Doughty and they sacked him, they did not have the interests of this club in mind by sacking Billy Davies, ego’s and arrogance got in the way.Although you have all the money Nigel Doughty and you call the shots your record of appointing managers is woeful, i dont think Mclaren is in the same category as Megson,Platt,Kinnear, but he isn’t half as good as Billy Davies.

  6. No point booing McGoldrick – our so-called midfield couldn’t get the ball out of our own half. It was a struggle entirely of our own making (well Steve’s own making) – but fair play to him, he did put it right at the end. Just a shame we had to give them two goals first.

  7. Watched the game through the internet (commented but an annoying b#$%@&d that was pro-Foxes from beginning to end!) and agree with everyone, woeful performance in the first half but I’ll take the points, thank you.

    What is puzzling me the most is the easy mistakes we make from midfield back. This time we were much better at set pieces, but giving the ball away like we did in both goals means an inexplicable lack of concentration. Moreover, I can’t understand what is happening with the Wes & Chambo partnership that did so well last season. I remember them almost colliding with each other at some stage after Leicester’s second goal!

    I don’t think that Moloney was that bad, ok the boy is not Gunts and he needs to work of his forward passes, but he was active and involved. People still have a go at Boateng’s passing, forgetting how much he ran today and how many holes he filled in midfield and sometimes right wing!!! at 36 (I don’t think Moussi’s passing was better last season, was it?). As for the boo boys, I made it a personal challenge to sit and watch the game to the end despite the first half’s abysmal show just to be able to unload all my venom on them after the game. Call it excessive and unfounded optimism if you like, but yes, I DID believe our fate could turn around. I hope all the moaners and DMG-booers went home unhappy, that’s what they deserve. (Having said that, none of our first-half strikers had any service whatsoever, only Matt should have done better with that Gunt’s cross).

    I understand SMC admitted he has made mistakes (I haven’t heard his full radio interview). Excuses are losing their value game after game though, and he may be “still learning about the players and the division”, but I hope he’s smart enough not to repeat those mistakes. I also thought Majewski made the big difference, I believe he should start the next game. Miller showed again that he can be a real handful, and so did Findley, whom I would prefer to Lewis when there’s a question of filling in for Reidy. I’d go for a 4-2-1-2 format, maybe trying to give Radi Greening’s role and restoring Lewis behind the two strikers. And I certainly believe we should play our strongest team (minus only Smith for Camp, you HAVE to have your second keeper ready at all times) next Tuesday at Wycombe, because it is more than obvious that we won’t have too many chances to reach the perfect mix.

    And a joke to conclude: I know who provides us with the “Get out of Jail” cards. It’s the away fans singing “Sacked in the morning”! For the second time (after the Pies), this song has turned Schteve’s fortunes around, and no, he ain’t getting sacked! Anyone know any Hammers fans to spread the word? lol

  8. Hahaha meant 4-3-1-2 of course!!!

  9. I’m going to the wycombe game on tuesday, and i hope we play our strongest side. I want to see, camp, gunter, morgan, chambers, cohen, anderson if fit, mcgugan, majewski, derbyshire, miller, findley in a 442. That side should rip team’s to bit’s. Rest boateng, greening, mcgoldrick and reid they look like they are lacking confidence and need to clear there head’s.

  10. Yeah its not been quite the start to the season that we all expected is it?!

    Its difficult to defend how poorly we played yesterday but having been at Keepmoat on Tuesday I had a bad feeling it was coming. I had hoped that Miller would start yesterday after a good 20 minutes towards the end of the Donny game. Yesterday I saw from him what I was noticing on Tuesday – he wants the ball and he wants it quick! When he does get it he looks to turn and create something or have a shot – much like you expect your strikers to do… which highlights one of the problems with Messers McGoldrick, Tudguy, and Garner.

    Yesterday, certainly in the last 20 minutes, despite attacking Leicester and being more positive there still seemed to be too many times where players didn’t want to take responsibility by taking a man on or trying anything barely creative. Too many times we seemed to slow an attack from the wings to pass it sideways to Greening where he was in the 30-35 yard area in front of goal having received the ball from the left or right at which point he should’ve looked forward and tried to release someone in front of him so they could have a shot!

    Once again the left back situation didn’t help and I don’t think it is something that is helping McClaren’s cause… Gunter is a better right back than Moloney, keep him there and then you’ve only got one problem – left back! Move him to the left and you’ve two problems, left AND right back since Moloney doesn’t go forward like Gunts does and Gunter almost never pushes the ball forward to put a cross in from the left because he’s got no left foot.

    That all said lets remember we’re watching a Forest side 5 games in under a new manager and prior to this we were watching a Billy Davies side of 2 and a half years. The disappointment is obviously that under Davies we often looked at the poor finishing as the reason why we weren’t higher in the league where as now the focus is on the fact that the chances just aren’t coming!!

    There isn’t a great deal of time for us to sort this out, but by god a left back and a winger being signed would certainly help!!

    After Wycombe its only going to get harder… West Ham followed by 1st and 2nd in the Championship – Soton and D*rby!

    Fingers crossed!

  11. I couldnt help feeling as we toiled away yesterday how much Marhtur is responsible . Schteve is doing his pre season now rather than in July ….and we remain short of match fit , quality players . The players actually did tremendously well to get back in this match .
    once again the ‘Late Acquisitions Committee’ has wreaked its havoc …MARTHUR OUT !!!!! HE IS A LIABILITY

  12. Well done nffc – another excellent match report and summary of yesterday’s “events”.

    I’ve been a season ticket holder for 30+ years and I can’t remember a more disjointed and insipid performance from a Forest team than we witnessed in the first 45 minutes. The players seem completely confused; clearly SMc is seeking a more attractive, “keep the ball on the ground”, passing game, but the majority of the players still have Billy’s plans lodged in their heads and the result is confusion.

    That said, we have to give SMc credit for the 2nd half substitutions which gave us a different formation, much greater spirit and ultimately a point from a game which we could (and should) have lost 4, 5 or 6 nil!

    Billy used to say “judge us after the first 10 games” and more than ever, that will be true this season. SMc has talked about this being a 3-year project, if we get promoted this year; fantastic, but we are clearly going to have to continue to be patient!!

  13. Craig makes a good point. We’re watching a Forest side 5 games in under a new manager with a load of new players. They have got more points than this time last season.

    It is frustrating though as so many can see that Raddy makes a real difference and by swapping one out of Boateng or Greening you get more mobility and better passing. GB has demonstrated he is fit enough, just get him in front of the defence to break up play and give the ball to either Lewis or Raddy who can do something with the ball.

    Its clear that Garner is not going to get a game and McGoldrick may benefit by going out on loan. I suspect when Dexter is back Garner will be sold in January. Dex/Miller/Matty/Findley are a strong quartet to pick from.

    Cohen is too good a midfielder to be pushed into leftback which for me makes this the most important position to fill. I don’t understand why its acceptable not to have an ACTUAL leftback in a professional football team? And for over two years now! Get a decent one in and you’d bring a balance to the team that stops all the chopping and changing with Gunter/Cohen/Maloney. Tell me if I’m taking crazy pills here but I think Jules would of brought a better balance to the team as it would of meant you could play Gunts and Cohen in the positions they are best at.

    Surely next game Miller will start with Derbyshire with Findley to come on as an impact sub 20 mins to go or so.

    This is all about finding the right balance and as Red Rob says it does look like we are doing our pre season as SMC tries to find this balance.

    One thing we have to be pleased with is the spirit and fight has not gone and while Forest search for the best combination of players this will be even more important.

  14. I agree with previous comments, i certainly think Julian bennett could have done a more than adequate job at left back, certainly at least we purchased someone, its only taken 2 and a half years, so far and we still havent got one.
    if you read Doughty on twitter he firmly believe we have enough options at the moment! for left back. Given S Mc is more of a yes man this is worrying because he will do what his paymaster says.

  15. I am available to play left back if Schteve wants to ask?

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