Just when I thought I was out…

… they pull me back in!

Nottingham Forest – 1
Doncaster Rovers – 2

Okay, I’ll be honest, nobody really thought that we were out of it – but well, I needed a way to cheer myself up and what better way of gratuitously quoting the Godfather?  After a decent mini-run of results Cotterill made changes, some were enforced (not least the last-minute changes due to injuries during the warm-up), others less so – either way, from looking quite balanced and with options we suddenly looked, well, not even one dimensional.

Initially my aghastness at McCleary being on the left started to look like a potentially shrewd move with Chimbonda struggling to deal with him – but there were too many poor performances today.  With injuries to Tudgay and Anderson pre-match, and one to Elokobi during the game, we are looking worryingly thin on the ground in areas again – particularly up front where we had to rely on the hapless Robbie Findley.

Even Cotterill didn’t have his customary bizarre excuse post-match – he sounded just as baffled as the rest of us as to why the lads just didn’t appear to put in the effort.  He also left an intriguing nugget hanging in the air around Findley before stating that he doesn’t talk about things that happen in the dressing room – so we know there’s a problem with the USA striker, but not what it is.  So anyway, here was the team that lined up, at odds to the scoreboard:

Wootton   Chambers   Lynch   Elokobi
Gunter    Moussi    Guerdioura    McCleary
Blackstock    Findley

The early running was with Doncaster in possession – albeit not creating much of note.  Forest actually fashioned the best early exchanges – coming from Findley which missed the target, and a distance effort from McCleary from distance giving Ikeme an early easy save to make.  It was clearly a game between two sides low on form and confidence.  Dex did well to create some space in the box but shot straight at the ‘keeper.

Probably our brightest moment was courtesy of man-of-the-moment McCleary who ran forward well, cutting inside and blasting powerfully from around 25 yards – putting it just wide, it wasn’t really clear whether Ikeme would’ve got anything on it or not.  As the Reds were easily stifled from further attacking our visitors started to tentatively probe foward, Piquionne was ready to shoot but Moussi was on hand to clear the lines.

It was the debutant who gave Rovers the lead though – he carried the ball forward as Donny had three on two down the right channel.  Rather than play it to his teammates he unleashed an absolute piledriver unexpectedly from thirty odd yards – whilst it was powerfully struck and looked to be swerving it was also bloody nearly straight at Camp from my seat (need to see it again, really) but took the ‘keeper by surprise and was in.  A real sucker punch right before half time.

So what had looked a disappointing but not disastrous first half had quickly become something more approximating an uphill battle.  One bright spot of a disappointing evening was actually noticing somebody actually manage to kick the ball through the hole in the world’s most poxy half time ‘entertainment.’  Yes, goal aside, that was perhaps the highlight of the evening for us on the pitch!

To mount the challenge for the second half Cotterill restored Andy Reid to the pitch, sacrificing Wootton, who isn’t a rightback, and moving Gunter – who is – back to that position, putting McCleary on the right and Reidy on the left.  I can kinda understand why he opted to give Reid a rest but, well, he needed to put somebody on the pitch who knows how to kick the ball to his teammates, with only Guerdioura and McCleary really showing much propensity to do this.

As far as starts to a second half go, this was bloody shit, though.  A mix-up in defence presumably between Elokobi and Lynch as it was down the left allowed El-Hadji Diouf as much space as he could want on the right to pick out an excellently placed cross to find a completely unmarked Kyle Bennett to convert from close range into a practically open goal to double the visitors lead.

It was nearly tripled as well.  The dangerous Bennett again the danger-man when he hit a decent low shot that looked to have Camp beaten, only for the Forest keeper to make a belated dive to tip the ball onto the post and eventually gather the loose ball under supervision from Elokobi.  It was so nearly a very very embarrassing evening’s work, make no mistake at all about this.

After a renewed attempt to get forward the Reds were left with another enforced change with Elokobi left sitting on an advertising hoarding at the Trent End – he was replaced by Cunningham (who himself had been a late addition to the substitutes thanks to the injuries elsewhere).  Doncaster reverted to a spoiling and timewasting style, which is unsurprisingly really given their predicament, and the Reds had very idea about how to break this down.

Until Guedioura picked out a lovely pass down the right to Gunter who’d got well forward.  His cross found Blackstock who’d found some time and space in the box to put the ball high into the net to get a goal back for the Reds.  One of my season ticket neighbours was convinced that this would herald the comeback to get a draw, I struggled to muster much by way of optimism, to be honest.

I’m sad to say I was very pleased to see Robbie Findley withdrawn – I have no idea what issues Cotterill alluded to about the striker, but regardless of this he was shockingly bad this evening.  McGugan replaced him presumably to play as an advanced midfielder – he kinda just strolled about though rather than grasp the opportunity that we were obviously hoping he’d grasp like he used to under Billy when reduced to substitute.

McCleary again was our principle source of danger – he cut in from the left and hit a decent shot through plenty of bodies in the box – Ikeme spilled it but re-gathered just before the onrushing Guedioura could get on the end of it.  Gradually we ran out of ideas and our main idea of attack seemed to be to pass the ball to Chambers to launch towards the now-emergency-striker Lynch up front – it was predictably ineffective.

A really frustrating evening – unplanned changes notwithstanding.  A lack of effort from some quarters, a lack of quality from other – it all added up to a deserved win for Doncaster who lift themselves from the bottom of the league.  Indeed, win their game in hand over us by two goals and they’d consign us to the bottom three again.  Just as we’d dared to hope we might open up a gap from danger we’re back up the famous creek with a super-slippery-gripped paddle.

However, to offer some balance to proceedings I suppose, most of us expected us to lose at Birmingham and beat Doncaster.  I suppose the end result on the points front would be the same – the disappointment is that goodwill that was starting to develop and the momentum we’d built up is eliminated, and the gauntlet is thrown down now for the players to restore that on Saturday when Millwall come to town.

26 Responses

  1. Just got home from the game after my usual 90min drive home, a 90mins of boredom that was infinitely more interesting than that bag of dross served up by Forest. Frankly in keeping with the lack of effort shown by the players, I don’t think I can be arsed saying much more.

  2. From behind the goal, the Piquionne shot looked a peach, hit hard and curling away from Camp into the corner; the sort of goal you’d almost not mind conceding if we could actually score a few ourselves. The second one looked like a massive defensive shocker, though – not just allowing the cross to be made (happens sometimes) but what appeared to be a total absence of red shirts in the side the pitch the cross was aimed at.

    • I definitely need to see it again – from the corner roughly in line with Piquionne’s shot it looked like a (VERY powerful) snapshot that caught Camp out. Cracking hit no doubt.

      It’s all fairly academic now. Your summary of the second goal was pretty much as you describe. I believe the technical term might be ‘clusterfuck’

  3. As I predicted,the capitulation at barnsley in the second half continued into this game. Reid left out was warning enough of what was to come !
    All the effort beating birmingham away was thrown away today !
    No drive ,no workrate,no urgency, no desire from the start to thrash the living daylights out of Doncaster and improve our goal difference !
    Meanwhile Millwall were showing us what needs to be done to get away from the basement.
    I said I would take 3 points from the 2 home games as I expected us to beat Millwall….now I would be happy with one point !
    Lets hope we keep the away form going for a full 90 mins in our remaining games !!

  4. Great summary nffc.
    I’m sure the general consensus was that
    we would not be well clear if the drop
    zone by the end of this week.
    But another home loss……aaarrgh!!!
    What appeared to be a healthy & thick
    squad has suddenly been punctured with
    numerous injuries & also not forgetting
    that there are a lot of players hopelessly
    out of form.
    Strong efforts from Bristol C & Millwall
    clearly sends the message that we cannot
    rely on other teams to falter in order to stay
    I would go as far as saying Forest are better
    of trying to earn points away as they
    stink playing at home.
    Now we here about rumblings between
    player & manager in the dressing room…..

  5. Weirdly passive and passionless last night. But every time SC drops Reid it ends badly. Partly because there’s barely anyone else in the squad who can unlock a defence, and partly because dropping Reid usually also involves a classic Cotterill remix that leaves the team as a whole looking clueless.

    Another recurring feature of this season is that every time we put a couple of results together and get the optimism going, there’s another shocking performance right around the corner just waiting to slap us in the face.

  6. Worst home record in the league says it all.

    In fact we’ve been so bad at home that even if you look at every other teams away record you’ll see that there are only two teams who’ve only more on the road than we have at home!!

    What gets me are comments from Cotterill saying things like Doncaster have “got some good players, most of them have played their careers in the Premier League” as if we shouldn’t have expected anything less than defeat!!

    I expect we’ll just stay up but what bothers me is that invariably they’ll be many changes in the summer and as such next season will be one of “transition” where the excuse is that we’ve made wholesale changes and now we need stability etc etc all of which results in a season stuck mid-table without hope of the playoffs nor fear of relegation 😦

    • In fact we’ve been so bad at home that even if you look at every other teams away record you’ll see that there are only two teams who’ve only LOST more on the road than we have at home!!

      – sorry, missed a word!

  7. Time for defensive changes for starters .Lets drop Camp, he is just not bothered.Chambers is just not on form, get a new captain. Cancel Findlays contract. Moussi cannot pass to red shirt if it is more than 1 yard from him. I never thought I would say it but Greening is a better option, how about him as captain ?
    For goodness sake SC start the match with Gunter at right back, McCleary on the right wing and Reid in the middle.
    For Saturday how about ; Smith, Gunter, Lynch, Wooton, Elekobi , McClearty, Guideora, Reid, Greening, Radi , Blackstock, Tudgay ( if fit)
    Subs Anderson, Lascelles, McGugan, Moloney (if fit) Camp

  8. utter utter shite again!!!

    Craig do u really think:
    1) we’ll stay up?
    2) that we can hope for mid table obscruity next season if we do with these players ?
    3) this guy Mester Cock-up is a complete and utter dipstick. Has SAF got something over him cos Wotton isn’t a full back thats for sure?

  9. I think yet again the board at the club need to take the blame for what is happening on the pitch,its there choices of manager yet again that has proved such a fuck up ,the thing is the latest waste of space has got a long contract so if we stay up or go down we are stuck with the twat ,because the cash aint there to get rid…………a big thanks yet again to those in charge.

  10. Quite how Cotterill was handed a 3.5yr contract is beyond me, especially considering the previous incumbents have lasted less than 2 years each, and in some cases, less than 150 days. Grayson, Eriksson, Megson (haha) all sacked by teams in better positions. What makes Cotterill so unsackable?

    And I know we all love uncle Frank Clark, but Cotterill is (allegedly) HIS man. We should get rid of him before he takes us down… but I fear it’s too late. I’m sure a Cotterill fact is that none of his teams have ever finished in the top half of the championship. Amazing.

    I’m also totally bewildered about how unbalanced the squad is – does Mark Arthur as CEO not have some responsibility here? Has he not noticed that we have about 40 misfiring forwards and about 4 defenders. If I ran my company like this, I’d expect to have been removed long before now.

    The incompetence on and off the pitch is unforgivable, and we as fans are expected to pay for it financially and emotionally.

    Same old shit. Different season. Audible sigh.

    • Marl Arthur has no idea about football or it appears business
      He left Notts CC with a bad reputation (i can prove it) as soon as he left they won the Championship
      He had to ask others why supporteres were not turning uo – the Manager was Megson need i say more

  11. appalling football appalling manager appalling results why on earth give this idiot 3.5 years contract-scandalous!

  12. Basic problems, Cotterill is out of his depth, why tinker with the team all the time
    Camp-we have a goalkeeping coach why doesn’t he get on Camp’s back about quickly throwing the ball out
    Back four
    Lynch-out of form and didn’t get a game under other managers
    Chambers-stuggling to get a higher standard than average Championship
    Elokobi- a bit kick and rush but ok
    Gunter-why move him up he’s a right back, often only front man in the goal area and he can’t head it. Passes back too often (hence goal last night)
    Moussi – good work rate but a bloody liability at times
    Guerdioura- good player but we are gradually bringing him down to our level
    McCleary- could not get a game under others, short spells but the only positive and that shows how bad we are, can’t head and close people down consistantly
    Blackstock – tries hard but surely flicking on to nobody is something a good pro does not do. moves out of position so no forward in box
    Findley- can’t even bring myself to talk about him couldn’t trap a bag of cement
    Reid- only decent footballer we have and Cotterill leaves him out, play him from start if he gets exhausted poor lamb we may be 2 up by then and then defend
    Mcgugan- a disgrace to the shirt, mardy and does not want to play for the manager or any manager it seems
    Where is Raddy
    Isn’t it odd that all the experienced highly paid players are injured or not playing
    Some players were bought with well known sick note problems (eg the Cf from WBA)
    poor team, poor manager, dreadful tactics, too much kick and rush no control or passion
    Too cautious and defensive
    Donny showed us how to play football, on the floor, quick throw outs from keeper
    Oh i nearly forgot about my usual rant about The CEO and his team, and that is the real reason i will not be there next season after 53 years

    • For many and varied reasons I know that in the A-block next year, myself, my good lady and my mate are not renewing – and the 4 chaps who’ve sat next to us for about 8 years, they’re not renewing either. We’re just going to pick and choose the games.

      A worrying trend Mr Arthur?

  13. I don’t know how Cotterill or the players
    will lift themselves in 3 days time against
    All the talk of growing confidence is clearly a load
    of shit after that performance.
    Don’t really care what happens this season
    now. Just want it to end.
    Wherever Forest are next season they will
    be in all sorts of strife with the current
    board & manager possessing no F*****
    idea on how to steer a steady ship.

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

  15. I am at my wit’s end! The midfield for the next match should be: Reid, McGugan, McCleary and (reluctantly) Greening! And everyone in their correct positions! Cotterill is worse than Kinnear and Megson combined! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

  16. Ian

    Mcgugan doesn’t want to play for us anymore he shouldn’t be allowed into the City Ground. With you midfield none would do any work to win back the ball.

  17. We’re going down. Get used to it.

  18. NFFC I think the performance of the team is now impacting the half time entertainment as you say – non of the contestants seem bothered or fit and no one seems to have the basis balls skills to be able to get the ball through Victors hole ! . This is a crisis and needs addressing immediately otherwise there is nothing at all to come down to the CG for anymore .

  19. …the club are to blame for the sickening decisions they have made ..sacking Billy Davies was a disaster…he could come back ..and would not need to sign any players ,,hes a manager ..hes got fight and that fight he will put inside the players ..this is whats needed to save us ..frank clark ..your a waste of space and money ..your in the position to save this club ..everyones making excuses ..its boring ..BILLY MUST COME BACK !

  20. McGugan may well want to leave – and I’d quite sympathise, because he’s been treated disgracefully. He must be losing the will to live after seeing both himself and Reidy – our most talented footballers (with nods to McCleary and Radi) – repeatedly left out the team in favour of completely talentless personnel such as Moussi, Findlay, Tudgay, etc. Christ: even McGugan with no ‘chasing back’ skills is more effective than most of our squad. Am I arguing for him to be ‘indulged’? I’m afraid I am! If we pack the team with talentless workhorses we’ll end up in the non-league! Every team (even in the Prem) can and should indulge a McGugan: it’s these sorts of players who make me want to pay my money. Jeesus: I despair with most Forest fans sometimes.

    • I agree that he is a talent but he doesn’t show it every manager has had a problem with him Davies included
      I’m afraid he is a sulky young man who has had everything given to him on a plate
      I know for a fact that he messed calderwood around terribly came into training when he felt like it had loads of duvet days

      I’m afraid it all started when pearce said he was one for the future the rest of football knows what he is like hence no bids
      However I would like to see him in the centre of midfield and Reid and raddy but can you play them together don’t think so
      Creativity with cotterill –
      No way

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