A valuable point on the road for the Reds..

Barnsley – 1
Nottingham Forest – 1

The clinched game of two halves here – a strong first half saw the Reds deservedly leading at half time (as we’ve oft seen, a reluctance to take our chances meant a 1-0 lead was about right, probably – McCleary’s goal from nothing counterpointed by what looked like a blatant penalty claim just as half time approached – there’s a reasonable case for feeling a little hard done to, I suppose).

In the second half rather than a Forest relapse, it was more a case of Barnsley waking up – they’d offered very little by way of threat in the first half and managed to get back into it by offering a second half showing similar to the Reds in the first, plenty of dominance but not much threat – unfortunately for us they did manage to fashion the equalising goal, leaving us with a point that – on balance – has to be considered a good one.

Steve Cotterill was forced to make changes to his line-up, and it has to be said, was still able to name a line-up with a degree of balance which is testament to his signings.  Injuries to Higginbotham, Chambers and Moussi were the catalysts for the change, leaving us with:

Gunter   Wootton    Lynch    Elokobi
McCleary    Greening    Guerdioura   Reid
Blackstock   Tudgay

That we named no strikers on the bench neatly illustrates the change in emphasis for our squad issues – now well stocked in defence and midfield, we are struggling for fit forwards.  The game started at a fairly pedestrian pace, but it was Forest who created the first chance, Tudgay setting up Dexter to shoot, only to be denied by a block that allowed Steele to gather the ball safely.

A nice cross from Reid was met by a header from Blackstock but off target, but we were quite limited in creating too many clear cut chances despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession and territory.  A corner from Reid was punched away by Steele, falling to Guerdioura who – as we know – has an eye for the spectacular.  Unfortunately so far we’ve yet to see him execute it successfully, and true to form he spannered it well off target!

With well over half an hour on the clock the home side registered their first meaningful opportunity – a cross into the box was met by Scott Goldbourne but he headed over under the attentions of Chris Gunter.  Moments later Garath McCleary picked up the ball and went with it before smashing a shot which deflected off former-Ram Jay McEveley and ended up low and in the net to give the Reds the lead.

Forest carried on pressing – a flicked ball from Blackstock to the far post found Tudgay outjumping the defenders to put a header over Luke Steele in the Barnsley goal, but it hit the top of the bar.  Then the inevitable Darren Deadman fuck up (in fairness to Mr Deadman, it wasn’t exactly a bad game from him but for this) when Jonathan Greening had a shot which was clearly – from the other end of the pitch clearly – blocked by the hand of a defender in the area.  The official waved play on much to the disbelief of Forest fans, players and the bench.

Still, at half time life was looking rosy.  As results from around the country filtered through it was certainly shaping up to be a decent day for Forest in the light of how the struggling sides around us were doing.  Hell, even Derby were losing.

The second half started with the home side looking like they had a flea in their ear from the manager – a much more positive Barnsley side were immediately on the front foot.  Korey Smith had an effort which Wootton was able to get something on, whilst Matty Done went for a clever chip over Lee Camp but fortunately for us spectacularly failed to get anywhere near the target!

Much like Barnsley in the first half, Forest struggled to make in-roads in the second – it was beyond seventy minutes that were really caused them any problems from attacking, it was that man Garath McCleary again with a shot that brought a decent save from Steele and won Forest a corner.

Barnsley's scorer met a girl on monday, took a for a drink on tuesday..... scored an equaliser on Saturday, then chilled on Sunday. Oh, DavIES...?

It was proving difficult to stem the home tide though, and Barnsley finally notched the goal it’s fair to say their performance probably warranted.  With a little over ten minutes left, Craig Davies picked the ball up, turned and took it forward a little before smashing a decent striker into the bottom corner of the net.  A disappointment for sure, but the warning signs had been there for a while.

Cotterill elected to withdraw Reid in favour of some pace from Anderson, and the Reds seemed to find some renewed vigour with McCleary again leading the charge with a cross to Tudgay who couldn’t get a powerful enough connection with the ball that just looped fairly tamely into the hands of Steele.  Perhaps another example of Deadman uselessness was his issuing of just a yellow card to Stephen Dawson for his x-rated challenge on Joel Lynch.

As time was running out and there was still a risk of conceding Cotterill withdrew the tiring Blackstock for Greg Cunningham with a few minutes left, and as we went into stoppage time Lewis McGugan replaced McCleary.  At the death we could’ve snatched all three points when Tudgay played in a great pass for Cunningham whose shot from a tight angle brought a save from Steele that saw the ball ping high up in the area.

In the ensuing mêlée Anderson was bundled over in the area for one of those incidents that would be a foul anywhere else on the pitch, but in the area a decision the referees always seem to bottle, so I’m not going to count it as a Deadmanism as it seems to be a general refereeism.  Predictably an almost identical incident outside the area on a Barnsley player resulted in a free kick shortly after, before the final whistle eventually came.

Referee grumbles aside this is a decent point – Oakwell isn’t a happy hunting ground for the Reds and whilst it’s disappointing to have surrendered a lead, to have got seven points out of the last nine would have seemed spectacularly optimistic at the start of our recent run of games – so the team and coaching staff are to be congratulated as we now look to a couple of home games against sides struggling with us before the not inconsiderable matter of a trip to Derby.

Where things had felt beyond hope not all that long ago, there are some green shoots of optimism if you look carefully, but there’s also a great deal of work still to do.

13 Responses

  1. Yep couldn’t agree more, Tuesday we must win and all but relegate donny in the process.

  2. A good point on balance, but it’s a shame that they couldn’t seal the win and leave us 6 points clear of the drop. And while it feels like Forest are on the verge of heading out of trouble altogether, there is still the danger that Forest fail to kill off teams when they have the chance. Aside from the penalty claim, Forest had a whole load of half-chances in the first half which could have made it that bit more easier to hang on in the second.

    Looking at the run-in though, Forest will decide their own fate, as they play Doncaster, Millwall, Bristol City and Portsmouth at home. 4 wins and we can feel the relative comfort of mid-table mediocrity. So it’s all up to them. Tuesday and next Saturday are massive games. 2 wins and we’ll feel a whole lot more safer. For the first time this season however, it is beginning to feel like they actually might win them both.

    Off the field, I guess nothing will happen but with Forest officially up for sale according to the Mail, I hope there are no repercussions before May. On a brighter note, Coventry failed to post their accounts and have been embargoed. They might be in trouble too.

    U reeeeds!

  3. Good point 7 from 9 is spot on and the form is encouraging we still need a more clinical striker .Many twists and turns lay ahead still this season we need to be very string at home and the fans need to get a grip when things get tough no damn boooing.

    I firmly believe O` Driscoll and his coaching has improved us no end plus the players SC has brought in are up for the fight.We need to show grit and determination each game mixed with a little quality and I believe we will make oh and bring on the sheep I think we will beat them.

    U reds

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

  5. Barnsley ,with 6 first team members missing,decided to wake up in the second half and they beat us 1 nil…..
    Whatever happened leads us to two nerve wracking games which we are expected to win !
    Nervous ? You bet I am !!
    I pray for 2 wins,but will be grateful to beat Millwall !!

  6. Ps what happens with the Portsmouth game if they don’t exist ? I know only 2 teams get relegated but what happens re points lost or gained with Pompey?

    • IF they can’t complete their fixtures then all points gained by all teams who played them are deducted from those teams’ total.
      We’ve played them once and lost, so we wouldn’t lose any points.
      (We play them as our last game of the season)
      But other teams who played them twice and say, won on both occasions would lose 6 points.
      It would be a nightmare to compute how it’d all work out.

  7. Good post Nffc.
    I have lost count of the amount of games
    forest were in a winning position this season
    & have failed to kill it off.
    Nonetheless a point gained & 3 games
    unbeaten is solid form. Haven’t seen
    footage of the ” cast iron ” penalty shout
    but probably best I don’t see it as it will
    add to my frustration.
    Especially the god damn soft decisions
    favouring West Ham when we played them
    Again 2 winnable games confront Forest
    but I hope the squad is very much switched
    on as Donny & Millwall will be just as
    desperate for points.
    Long long way to go before we can breathe

  8. NFFC: Is your stance towards our hapless manager softening a little? 😉

    • A bit yeah, he’s playing people in sensible positions – and reaping the rewards. Still a way to go ’til fully won over – but happy for him to keep making progress on that front!

  9. Why is McGugan not being picked? Where is Radi? Why is Greening still in the team?

    • Radi is injured (whether that’s a real injury or a ‘Kelvin Wilson Injury’ is debatable)
      Greening got his forst start in ages due to Moussi being injured.
      McGugan was on the bench & isn’t being picked as he’s a lazy, ‘big time Charlie’ living off one good season. He has the excellent Adlene Guerdioura showing him what a midfielder does.

  10. Obviously next 2 games are the ones that Forest really need to win. But for the first time this season I think they can. (which probably means they won’t). The run in is good and they are playing a lot of the teams around them. Form and confidence are also good. I think we can stay up.

    Next season however, is going to be interesting. What players will be around from this season? Anderson, Joel Lynch, Paul Smith, Chambers and McCleary are all out contract. They won’t be offered improved terms. Gunter, McGugan, Radi, Miller, Derbyshire are all likely to be moved on. Boateng and Harewood won’t be around. We could also sell Camp. Out of that lot I’d probably only want Gunter, Camp and McCleary and if Forest get an offer of 3m+ for Gunter then they will take it.

    Given that Forest are up for sale and they will have to manage budgets without any extra financial help we may be forced to rely on the one asset we do have. The Academy. This is very similar to the situation Paul Hart inherited, except his crop were probably better than what is available now. There is one big difference though. No money and no Nigel Doughty to get rid of managers when it starts going wrong. This isn’t a slur on ND, its simply stating the obvious. ND made decisions like a fan would and that may of been his biggest failing. Someone like Frank Clark is a football man and can make football decisions. As a former manager he knows more than most that time is key in letting a manager on limited resource shape a team. As fans we think we know football and demand results, now more than ever. But we don’t know football like the people working in it day in day out. If Steve Cotterill watched you once a week at your job do you think after a couple of years he’d be able to do it better than you? Of course I don’t want to see Forest struggle and lose every week but I am willing to be patient and see a trajectory of progression each year rather than the blips of near promotion followed by fighting off or actually getting relegated.

    …Next season will certainly be interesting.

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