Up against Hull, it’s gonna be dull..

Raddy: Came closest to scoring with a snapshot from range

Nottingham Forest – 0
Hull City – 1

It’s the third time we’ve played Hull in my lifetime, and I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that for whatever mystical reason these are games I’m not destined to enjoy!  Three games, no goals for and two goals against – one point earned.  Whilst there were shots on target, there weren’t many genuine challenges for either keeper – the one that did come was for our visitors and it was taken expertly and that was that.

A frustrating afternoon – Nigel Pearson had done his homework on Forest and set out his stall to invite Forest to try to break them down, and to be frank, we didn’t do a very good job of it.    Cotterill handed a debut to loanee Greg Cunningham at left-back, which enabled him to reshuffle Gunter to right midfield, and have Greening move inside to cover for the suspended Guy Moussi:

Chambers Morgan   Lynch   Cunningham
Gunter   Greening   McGugan   Majewski
Miller   Tudgay

Wes led the team out with the armband on to commemorate his 400th appearance for the Reds – a fantastic achievement, and at just 27 years old there’s still room for a few more games for the big defender.

A chance early doors came from a McGugan cross which found Tudgay whose header was just off target.  Moments later a cross in from Greening was aimed towards Miller, but Basso was on hand to claim it ahead of the striker.  Whilst the Reds carried on dominating possession, those early shows of intent were proving difficult to build upon.  A cross from Radi looked to be heading towards Gunts, but a defender got it clear.

Hull worked their way into the game and Cairney had a tame effort that was easily dealt with by Lee Camp.  A freekick on the right was played in dangerously by Brady but went wide – but certainly the previously closed-off visitors were starting to have a bit more of a look at going forward, but Forest did haul themselves back – a snap-shot from Lewis from distance ended up just over the bar.

The Reds built on the pressure, Majewski fed the overlapping Cunningham who put a decent ball into the box which was put out for a corner by a defender.  From that corner – probably the only decent delivery from a corner we mustered all game – Wes won a header but was only able to place his header directly into the arms of the Tigers goalkeeper.  The last chance was another long-range effort from Lewis, which this time was just over (he had taken an earlier freekick that was on target but an easy save).

During half time both Adebola and McKenna warmed up for the visitors and were both afforded a great reception from the Reds fans, which was great to see.  Indeed, I even heard Forest fans chanting the name of Paul McKenna – which is more than they managed to do when he played for us!  He came on straight after the break to replace Cairney and was warmly applauded by the fans including those who’d been in the concourse during the break.

It seemed both managers had stressed the need to inject a bit of pace into the game – the upshot of which was both teams frantically scrapping about and making very little progress early in the half.  Freekicks from range seemed to be our only chance to get a shot on target – Lewis had another chance at this, but this time struck the wall – the rebound fell for Gunter who had a glimpse of glory and unleashed a shot that was, well, best forgotten – well off target!!

Hull introduced Adebola to the mix who had a similarly good reception from the Reds fans, his first contribution was to concede a couple of fouls!  The chance of the game from Forest fell to Majewski, who hit a lovely effort from long range with his left foot – but Basso, who let’s face it hadn’t had masses of difficult work to do, was alert enough to get across and tip the ball out for a corner.

Forest took some heart from this – the hard-working Tudgay found Raddy in the box who worked well to get himself a shooting chance, at which point he only seemed able to prod the ball gently towards Basso.  The increasingly ineffective Miller – who did appear to be moving awkwardly – was replaced by Robbie Findley, and – as seems to happen but I’m not sure it’s because of – Hull nipped down the other end and scored.

Remember those clipped balls forward that some of you used to groan about when McKenna did them?  Well it was one of those that unlocked the Forest defence, he clipped it over the defence to find the run of on-side Aaron McClean who took the ball into the box and struck a powerful shot under Cunningham and beyond Camp – the first clear-cut chance in the whole game, well worked, well taken.  For all their hard work and possession, 1-0 down for Forest.

Cotterill introduced the still rather-large looking Reid for Greening, and not long after Tudgay was going to be replaced for Derbyshire – but either an injury or some cramp saw the plan changed at the last minute to take Cunningham off instead.  A promising debut from the young fullback.  As has been the case for managers before him – Wes Morgan ended up as an emergency striker as Forest pushed to try to get the equaliser.

Well, I say pushed – Hull did a real job on frustrating our endeavours before they became anything approximating a threat.  We got the ball regularly to the final third but I can’t recall a single significant chance to score from the Reds.  Begrudgingly you just have to take your hat off to our visitors for their defensive work, and also perhaps start to point an accusing finger to those of our players who should be providing more opportunities to threaten the opponents goal.

I do think the referee bottled an absolutely shocking challenge late on by Fryatt on Andy Reid though.  It wasn’t going to be a game changer, but tackles like that are a red card in my book.  Particularly given that it was deep in our own half – so there was no bloody need for it even from a nullifying any tiny threat we might have caused from possession in that area of the pitch.

Disappointing, but at least Cotterill has had a chance to see some of the forward-moving frustrations we suffer from and think about how to go about putting these things right on Tuesday night.  As for me, the excitement I had at the idea of finally playing Hull last season is quickly turning to that sense of dread we used to have when facing Walsall – it’s not because I have any issue with the Tigers, but we just don’t seem to be able to perform against them!