See below…

Nottingham Forest – 0
Cardiff City – 1

Just like dogs can resemble their owners, I’m starting to get concerned that a football team can resemble the manager.  There was endeavour and effort (perhaps excepting ‘I’m already gone’ McGugan and Matt Derbyshire who were both terribly lethargic), but no quality. No end product – no difficult save for their ‘keeper to make.

Our visitors, on the other hand, offered very little – however brought one decent save from Camp in the first half, saw Miller miss a gilt-edged opportunity to open the scoring, shortly before he – well, did.  We blustered and huffed and puffed but ultimately did not make any significant or meaningful assault on the Cardiff City goal despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession and mounting a fair amount of pressure.

Mixed news at the start on the injury front, Dexter is injured, but Lynch returned:

Gunter    Chambers    Lynch    Cunningham
McCleary    Moussi    Greening    McGugan
Findley    Tudgay

A bright start from Findley saw him brought down having touched the ball past the Cardiff keeper – he certainly wasn’t clean through and it was a heavy touch past him too (does he do any other kind?) – so a booking was probably fair.  Shortly after that after going up for a header he stayed down and was subbed for Matt Derbyshire – deja vu there, an early substitution due to injury.  Not ideal.

As for the match, same as usual really – promise, some degree of endeavour – but lacking in final balls or strikers prepared to gamble in the danger areas.  Tuds is, bless him, too slow and I’m sad to say that I’ve all but written off Derbyshire.  He’s lightweight, has poor anticipation and doesn’t seem to have a particularly strong work ethic either.  Most attacks came via the useful looking combination of McCleary and Gunter down the right.

I’ll be amazed if we don’t succumb to one of the inevitable offers for Gunter in the January window – whatever Cotterill says in the papers about him wanting to stay.  I’m sure he does, but I’m sure he’d like to play in a better side too whilst probably earning more cash.  It’s easy to point the finger at players we’d like to see moved on – more difficult to imagine who on Earth will oblige us by taking them off our hands.

A special word should be saved for a particularly bad referee as well.  He wasn’t biased, just mind-bogglingly poor with his decision-making.  Cardiff didn’t look up to much either – full of gamesmanship, play-acting and diving which surprised me since Mackay has taken over – but proved they had the quality necessary to convert one of the limited number of decent chances they made.  As noted above, for all our bluster we failed to draw one decent save from their keeper.

The introduction of a spirited Bamford from the reserves was perhaps a slight glimmer – he put himself about a bit and caused some problems, perhaps an earlier introduction might’ve paid dividends (indeed, Derbyshire might as well have not been on the pitch anyway).  Hopefully the mediocrity surrounding him doesn’t detract from the good performances he’s been putting in in the reserves and we get to see a bit more first team action for him.

Listening to Steve Cotterill suggest post-match that we’re not in trouble if we’re only losing 1-0 and not by 4 or 5 is infuriating.  I do realise an element of his job is to remain positive, and I also realise that he is massively hamstrung in how he can operate here – but I regretfully have to say that I really don’t believe he is capable of achieving what is looking increasingly like the impossible and dragging us out of that relegation zone.

Naturally I’d love for him to prove me wrong, but I shan’t be holding my breath.

A big Happy New Year to you all, let us hope for some miraculous turnaround in 2012 to see us start to pull in the right direction.  Alas all I can foresee is the very likely impending relegation of the club – and a probable trip into administration.  Who would’ve thought that this mess was on the cards this time last year?

Finally the Goal of the Month competition for December has been a hotly contested race for Forest, with really only too main contenders.  In a close vote it was decided by a narrow margin that the Trent End goal was just preferred to the Bridgford End goal, because it’s the one our lads do the warm-up in.

Ipswich up next.  They’re the last team we scored against!