Uncharacteristically deadly Reds tame the Lions..

Reidy seals the game, and a man of the match performance, with our third..Nottingham Forest - 3

Nottingham Forest – 3
Millwall – 1

It wasn’t pretty, but it did the job – the Reds relied on a fair degree of luck with the visitors rattling the woodwork on a number of occasions and a reasonable looking shout for a penalty.  At the other end Forest were uncharacteristically deadly in front of goal, there weren’t all that many chances created – so the conversion rate of those we did make was most pleasing for the home fans.

Unlike midweek, the team that Steve Cotterill went for wasn’t far away from what many of us would select, I think – a conventional 4-4-2 with people playing in their proper positions.  True, Elokobi missing through injury isn’t ideal, and I’m sure like me many fans might consider whether or not Chambers’ recent performances in defence justify keeping out Lynch or even Wootton on the bench – but all in all, I was pretty pleased.

Gunter    Chambers    Higginbotham    Cunningham
McCleary    Moussi    Guedioura    Reid
Tudgay    Blackstock

Millwall won the toss and elected to make us swap ends, so the incongruous sight of Forest kicking towards the Trent End started the match for us.  It was the visitors who had the first decent chance, too – James Henry (remember him? he played for us for about ten minutes whilst on loan from Reading) struck a shot from in the area, hitting the upright before Lee Camp was able to claim the ricochet.

Another opportunity falling to the Lions left us fearing the worst, the ball coming off Henry to Keogh whose volley was just over.  Forest started to awaken a little and some good work from Adlene Guedioura saw him get the chance to cross from the right to Dexter Blackstock whose effort was dragged wide.  It did start to see us liven up a little though and take the game to Millwall a little.

Gunter and McCleary work really well together down the right hand side – it was the Welshman feeding the ball to the on-form winger whose snapshot was almost diverted into the goal by Andy Reid, the ball ending up just wide of the post having beaten the dive of Forde.  We didn’t have too long to wait until we did manage to break the deadlock, though.

Reid picked up the ball on the left, and with no pressure from Millwall took his time to pick out a lovely cross to the back post where it found Garath McCleary lurking.  The ball in was too high to volley comfortably, too low to head standing – Gaz opted to practically get onto his knees whilst heading the ball into the net at the far post to give Forest the lead with their first shot on target.  Nice!

Spurred on by a buoyant City Ground, the Reds carried on attacking – Guedioura took the ball down the left and played it across the pitch to Gunter on the right.  He put in a decent cross towards Dexter, but Paul Robinson was on hand to intercept and get the ball clear at the expense of a corner.  Naturally, it being a corner – and us being Forest – very little of note came of this!

A second goal was to come though.  A decent run forward from Greg Cunningham was cynically cut short by a Millwall foul.  Reid delivered an outswinging ball towards the back post where it was headed up in the air by Chambers, falling fortunately at the back post to Danny Higginbotham who kept his eye on the ball and struck a fantastic volley into the net from a ridiculously tight angle.

Millwall reminded us they were still a threat though – James Henry again was causing problems, unleashing a powerful dipping shot from around the twenty yard mark.  I thought Camp might’ve got a decisive touch on it that caused it to cannon off the underside of the crossbar, eventually the ball was put out of play thanks to a poor shot from visitors.  I do think Kenny Jackett had his side briefed to ‘shoot from anywhere’ against the Reds.

We closed out the first half with Millwall trying to mount the pressure on us with little success – at one point (and I can’t quite remember the placement of it, it might even have been at 1-0) Garath McCleary appeared to clip Scott Barron – the defender’s overly-dramatic swan-dive perhaps costing his side the decision from the referee who waved away protests.  It certainly looked like a penalty to me.  Still, how many should-have-been-penalties have we not been given?

Funnily enough with goals to talk about and results elsewhere to check (kudos to County for being 4-0 up down at Charlton at this point) I must confess I didn’t pay any attention whatsoever to the kicking-the-ball-through-Victor’s-hole competition – so I couldn’t tell you whether or not it was managed this time around.  That is something that always bodes well!

A lively start to the second half saw the visitors again getting the first chance – a break culminating in an effort from Keogh which Camp was able to save.  Some nice work again between McCleary and Gunter saw the former flick the ball through to the latter – Gunter then crossed brilliantly across the six yard line only for nobody quite being able to get on the end of it to apply the killer touch.

Millwall responded positively by attacking – and a nervy clearance by Cunningham in a crowded penalty area gave Alan Dunne the chance to hit a powerful shot that Gunter was able to deflect out of play.  At the other end McCleary had a go from long range which – whilst straight at him – was spilled by Forde but he was able to regather it before any danger was posed by other Reds players.

Our visitors were good value for a goal at least though – and it arrived after it looked like Josh Wright was to be the latest unlucky player for them to hit the woodwork.  His shot deflected off Higginbotham and looped up and over Camp to strike the post.  Agony turned to joy for the Lions in an instant though, the ball rebounded to Darius Henderson who had all the time in the world to pop the ball in the net to get the visitors back in the game.

I was feeling pretty nervous by this point – but to their credit the bulk of Reds fans kept positive and vocally behind the lads – Forest were spurred on and Gunter again was well forward and crossed in towards Moussi but Robinson was on hand to clear.  As the game threatened to fizzle out the ball fell to Reid deep in midfield.  With nobody closing him down he carried the ball forward a few yards before picking out a delicious shot from around thirty yards into the far top corner.

Millwall continued to battle – Robinson should’ve done a lot better with Bouazza’s cross but he conspired to head it over from close range.  Forest wound some time down by using the fairly limited options on the bench – first Wootton came on for Tudgay, the substitute lining up in midfield.  As the stoppage board went up revealing five minutes of time added on we made two more changes, Lynch replaced Reid who got a great ovation, and eventually Miller came on for Blackstock who hadn’t spotted it was his number up.

By this point Millwall had all but given up really trying by this point so it was a relatively stress-free close out to the game not least thanks to the two goal cushion afforded by Andy Reid’s strike.  It feels good to be celebrating a win, it feels very good to have a better points cushion from the drop-zone and puts me in a much more positive frame of mind for the trip to Derby on Tuesday.  That’s our game in hand on everyone but Doncaster.

Whilst we should always celebrate three points and acknowledge the good things – so let’s do that, well done Steve and the boys.  Reidy, Higginbotham and McCleary in particular (and not just for their goals) stood out.  However, there’s still plenty of room for improvement and a side less wasteful in finishing, and with a bit more luck with efforts off the woodwork or with refereeing decisions could’ve seen this result be different.

But it wasn’t, which would explain why I’ve had a few well deserved celebratory pints!  You Reds!

12 Responses

  1. Cheers ! I hope Andy gets his vitamins and is fit for tuesday !I too would give Chambers a rest.
    I would have more faith in Lynch.
    I expect Lynch to be with us next year while hopefully Chambers will be gone.
    Maybe I am being too harsh on him and he may improve without the burden of captaincy.
    Rams fans must be more apprehensive regarding the result on tuesday following recent results !
    I’m certainly glad it was postponed until now !
    Come on you reds !!!

  2. I’m torn. Having flown out from San Francisco to see the Derby game, then having it canceled I was upset. Quite upset. Now that we’ve got a bit of form together, I’m now left wondering if it was for the best that I took one for the team, so to speak. COYR!

  3. Gee wis oliver San Fran I get irked about having to travel from Edinburgh good on ya fella.Well best result of the season for me we have played really well in games and got nowt thats football its all about goals and results.

    We are up and down as a side its going to be like that until the end of the season 3 more wins and I reckon we are nearly safe.I agree regards chambers I simply dont rate him he has a lot to say but is often found wanting and never a captain.

    Our spine with this selection is good ,


    All good solid pros I fancy us against Derby we have nothing to be scared of lets go and rattle them.

    U reds

  4. Im going to stick my neck out here and comments are welcome I have a theory.None of us are aware regarding the arrangements that ND put in place regarding the club after he sadly passed away.

    I can recall his last interview and him saying he didnt want any repayment regarding his loans to the club thats incredible.Could it be and its a big if that any prospective buyer has very little to repay and is willing to invest the 11 mil a year or so to keep us going and get us back on track clear out Marthur etc and get a certain billy davies back on board .

    Wishful thinking but maybe not that far off and we would defo need to stay up this season before any move I reckon .Only time will tell Nigel made some terrible decisions but as a lifelong Forest fan I can only have total respect for his humanity and loyalty to Forest. Wthout his kindness and his familys support we would be like Rangers totally in the poo poo rest in peace Nigel we forever owe you a debt of gratitude.

    U reds

  5. Really pleased for Reidy. He has struggled to gain some form this season but always looked like he cared. He is getting some reward for his efforts now. Having a zippy winger on the opposite flank who is getting marked by two is releasing a lot of space on his side of the field and the team are reaping the rewards. More of the same down the A5-2, please?

  6. Here here red ric.
    There are a lot of dodgy owners in the
    football world & when they get swamped
    in their own mess, they drag a lot of
    good people down with them.
    Thankfully ND didn’t fall into that category.

    Derby next up. Although Forest played well
    against Milwall, I hope some fresh legs
    are injected ( if available? ) into the starting
    11 as the quick back up didn’t suit us
    last week.
    We are right on the cusp of surging clear
    of the death zone so a good performance
    at Derby would be a huge step towards
    Especially as it is our catch up game.

  7. Iv’e had a £50 bet with a sheep fan at work that we’ll beat them tuesday. And after yesterdays result i’m feeling confidant he’ll be the one paying up. Come on Forest don’t let me down boys.

  8. Well put Red Ric great credit and thanks to ND and his family for all they did and are doing, incredible generosity and support.
    Also spot on with your comments about performances and goals.
    I saw Forest play Brighton off the park at the Amex and we got nothing from the game! .
    I am not a SC fan but credit to him and the team yesterday and best of luck to all for Tuesday COYR

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

  10. I am pleased that repitition is still considered as one way of learning and what I mean is that SC has started to work out that if he keeps the same shape team he gets better results.Left winger playing on left wing right back playing at right back etc etc.Very pleasant result as it will give the other teams around us something to worry about with only a bad result in the last 5 matches. 10 points from 15 is promotion form. Pity season is almost over before we discovered it. Still can’t have everything. A win at the sheep pen will be a large boost to our survival hopes and I will even accept that a draw will be acceptable as any points are good points.

  11. Right winger on the right; left winger on the left; 4-4-2 = Forest win! Not rocket science.

  12. A Derby season ticket holder at work is very worried about tomorrow, he says they are looking terrible at the moment and that Agent Nigel doesn’t seem to have a clue. No counting chickens yet but maybe his dad knew what he was doing when he got it to snow a few weeks ago…..

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