Reds in seventh heaven at Elland Road..

Reds heed the advert and host their party at Elland Road..

Leeds United – 3
Nottingham Forest – 7

Well, well bloody hell. It just goes to show what I know – doesn’t it? Ten players who put up a limp-wristed attempt to out-hoof Derby a week ago also started today and conspired to become the first team to put seven past Leeds at Elland Road. Certainly a result that defies prediction, and to a degree, explanation – one that of course offers much hope, particularly given the now seven point gap between us and the relegation zone.

A soft (read: not a) penalty after a positive start looked to be the beginning of a more predictable outcome after a promising start, but a thunderbolt from Guedioura and a late first half goal from McCleary saw us go in at half time a goal to the good. In a crazy second half it was 1-3, 2-3, 3-3, 3-4, 3-5, 3-6 and finally 3-7 as defending basically went out of the window and seemingly Forest were firing deadly accurate.

So, as noted above, Steve Cotterill (who must take his fair share of credit for this result – much as we lay into him when we don’t get ’em) elected to make one change – a surprising one. Forgotten man, ‘injury’ victim, Raddy Majewski was restored to replace the suspended Marcus Tudgay in a 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 type arrangement against Leeds’ more conventional 4-4-2 formation:

Gunter Chambers Lynch Cunningham
McCleary Moussi Guedioura Reid

The game commenced at a decent enough pace – and we weren’t far off opening the scoring right from the off with McCleary bursting down the right and firing in a cross which was met by Blackstock, in between the two centrebacks, but he couldn’t get his effort on target. So very early signs of optimism – which took a considerable hit moments later.

McCormack picked up the ball on the edge of the area, evading McCleary and Majewski and into the area – Guedioura moved to get out of his way, McCormack tumbled theatrically to the deck, the referee gave the spotkick. Soft decision, but kind of what you come to expect these days (except, of course, when it happens to our players!). Leeds captain Robert Snodgrass spanked it well into the top corner, sending Camp the wrong way.

Guedioura responded to what he clearly saw as an injustice in the perfect way – he picked the ball up and after a touch fired an unstoppable piledriver from distance giving Andy Lonergan absolutely no chance in the Leeds goal. The game calmed down somewhat after the goal, but Forest looked uncharacteristically composed – more good work from McCleary found Andy Reid who could only get a tame shot away straight at Lonergan who made the save.

The referee seemed to take an age to get his cards out in the midst of an awful lot of niggly play from the Leeds players – Paul Robinson had the dubious honour of picking up the first booking for a disgraceful challenge on Dexter Blackstock. Another decent cross from McCleary deflected taking its’ sting meaning it was difficult for Moussi to get anything on it, making it an easy save for Lonergan.

Garath didn’t give a hint of what was to follow with his first couple of efforts in the game – a corner fell to him 25 yards out and he volleyed it wildly off-target. Three minutes later he was closer after Moussi laid it back, but put a powerful strike just over. As the half closed out Leeds started to pile on a little more pressure – Snodgrass put in a cross to White who attempted a cheeky back-heel that missed the target.

Just as we got nervy again though the unexpected happened again – a Leeds corner had us worried when Guedioura broke with the ball and played a cross-field pass to McCleary who had found masses of space, he unleashed a decent enough shot which Lonergan was unlucky not to save, he got a strong hand to it but it still found its’ way into the net to give Forest the lead at the break.

Certainly deserved – Forest had been uncharacteristically positive against a leggy looking Leeds side, they’d done the scrappy stuff well, but also passed it around well and didn’t succumb to the series of niggly fouls particularly on McCleary and Blackstock. All in all, it was very pleasing – but of course, as ever with just a one goal cushion, a nervy time of it. Nobody was expecting a seven goal thriller of a second half.

Five of those goals came within fifteen minutes – the first saw Reid nick the ball from Snodgrass and whip in a bloody brilliant cross to the back post where Dexter Blackstock was on hand to head home. Then came the sucker-punch, scrappy defending allowed Snodgrass to get the ball across the area where a ricochet made it fall kindly for Becchio who managed to stay on his feet for a chance and put the ball in the net.

A minute later and it was 3-3. What looked to me like a foul throw saw the ball launched into our area, it was half-cleared but only as far as Michael Brown who hit the kind of goal that – had it not been for Gued and McCleary – would’ve been a real talking point, a well-taken half-volley on the outside of his right foot. A cracking finish, for sure – but a mere tap in compared what was to follow (well, not quite, but this is a day for superlatives).

With fans reeling Forest yet again showed they had a real sting in their tail – in five minutes we’d have scored five. McCleary scored what for me was the pick of the goals – a long ball found Gaz wide out on the right and with little support from his teammates he simply smashed it over Lonergan and under the bar from an acute angle – a bloody amazing piece of technique from the in-form winger.

Garath got his hattrick minutes later – Reidy again was the architect with good work down the left before cutting it back for McCleary to finish low from inside the area. Leeds were briefly stirred into life again – Snodgrass brought a cracking save from Camp, and substitute Danny Webber perhaps ought to have done a little better from the resulting corner, heading just over.

It was a mere flash in the pan though, Forest again picked up the initiative – and it was McCleary again, this goal was reminiscent of the one he scored at Elland Road last season. He picked up the ball on the right hand side and dribbled into the area, cutting inside and smashing it into the goal with his left foot to give us a three goal lead and send the visiting fans into raptures.

The rout was completed with around nine minutes left – Blackstock had more than a whiff of offside about him as he latched onto a great pass from Guedioura, it was a cracking run though and a lovely finish to calmly get the ball past Lonergan and inside the post. Moments later he was similarly very-close-to-being-offside but this time the assistant referee opted to raise the flag. Leeds offered little other than a McCormack miss, and thus the game finished 3-7.

So, our first win at Elland Road since 1996, a first EVER team to score seven goals there against the home side, the first time we’ve scored seven goals away from the City Ground since 1995 (also in Yorkshire – remember that one?), the first time we’ve had a four goal hero since we beat Stoke 6-0 in 2003. As I type, today would’ve been Brian Clough’s 77th birthday – 7-7 would be the aggregate score between us and Leeds this season.

We win on away goals.

Anyway, enough gloatery – with results elsewhere as noted above we’ve amassed a seven point gap between us and the drop zone. It would be fantastic if we can take the confidence from this result into the weekend game against Brighton at the City Ground, and of course into our game in hand at Leicester City next week. Despite the exceptional scoreline, this isn’t our first unexpected good result – now we need to master getting a good result after the Lord Mayor’s Show.

As noted above, a huge congratulations to Steve Cotterill and the team. Difficult to pick a man of the match but obviously McCleary is up there – but Guedioura and Reidy were pretty instrumental, Blackstock played a blinder. Not man of the match, but it was good to see Majewski back in the fold. The goals are below, for as long as YouTube keep them there!

This one’s for you, Chris Cohen.

16 Responses

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

  2. What a game to have missed, BUT, I’m in Leeds tomorrow (well, today) on business – should be a fun day!!

    COYR! 🙂

  3. Hows about that then !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!What a difference a rest makes ! I couldn’d believe it listening to the radio…. Lets hope the same attitude and workrate apply on saturday !
    Guediora has to be a priority signing for next year if possible,although with Wolves back in the championship they may want to keep him.
    We need a new owner Fast !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Well played Forest ! Keep it going !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Wow!!!
    What a super result!
    7 well taken goals too. Well spotted Nffc
    with the dodgy throw in for Leeds’ equaliser
    at 3-3. That delivery was more befitting
    the opening ball of an ashes series!
    Didn’t matter in the end as forest put on
    a carving clinic.
    Great to see McLeary really stepping up
    every week. He is now a marked man but
    keeps producing! A true sign of a very good
    Can’t help but have a crack at Neil Warnock.
    The way he stated Leeds were poor, tired
    & leggy. Failing to mention that the opposition
    were far too good on the night.
    Clearly Forest’s most satisfying display all
    season. I wonder what SC is thinking about
    his negative approach to the game v Derby?
    Keep it going Reds!

  5. I can’t think of a team more deserving of a thrashing. I’m so glad Forest got to delivery it.

    7 points off the drop and with the threat of goals to boot, this result will hopefully mean we fans can worry a little less about the drop. Brilliant result. Amazing, it sounds like we actually battered them. McCleary’s stock continues to rise though. We should think about keeping him.

    U reeeeds!!!

  6. Whilst I would echo your comment that Steve Cotterill deserves some credit for the performance, and result, I suspect that Sean O Driscoll is having a positive influence with regard the style of play. All we have ever asked for is football on the floor, last night we got that, we created history, and we reminded everybody just how bloody good Nottingham Forest are!!

  7. What a difference a week makes! No doubt we’ll have the torrent of dirty Leeds fans on this blog bemoaning the seventh goal was off side and wanting the result over turned…..

    Lovely to see Leeds their usual dirty cheating selves, truly a marriage made in heaven with Colin at the helm, just makes putting SEVEN past them all the sweeter!

    Only downer for me is the only Leeds fan I know was a true gent when they thumped us at the City Ground so I now have to do likewise, dam.

  8. well done to everyone including and especially Cotterill who I have been critical of many times. an amazing result and performance-
    warnock will only praise opponents when he beats them-typical

  9. I criticised SC after giving the players 3/4 days rest after Derby, looks likehe’s proved me wrong after this result. Didn’t go to the game, but sounded like we were actually passing the ball last night instead of hoofing it. Maybe this will prove to SC what these players can do if we play to their strengths, which to their credit, is playing the ball on the floor the proper way.

    Cracking result would love to have seen Colin Wanker’s face.

  10. Fantastic game and result for the Reds. I too have been highly critical of SC but credit were credit is due. Mcleary really is producing the goods at the moment and long may it continue.

  11. If you look at that side put out it has skill and balance in it. Players playing exactly where they like to play. It sounds so bloody obvious doesn’t it?

    A win at Leeds playing well would of been exceptional given the inconsistency of this season but 3-7 is just nuts. I’m not complaining though.

    I think SC has got his head round the fact that when he plays Reid and McCleary in the right positions the team produce results. If he can carry that thinking through to a few other positions, ie Madjewski or even McGugan playing where they play best it could get better. McGugan’s attitude is questionable but their is no doubt what he can do when he is happy and playing in the right position.

    For me the most important bit though is having leaders on the pitch. Higginbotham is the type of player we need more than any other to galvanise the talent on the pitch and keep them going when its good or bad.

  12. Play McCleary on the right; Reid on the left; get rid of cloggers like Tudgay… and hey presto: not rocket science. All we need now is Radi or Lewis to start every week. Not rocket.

  13. Amazing result. Some additional points:

    Still too much long ball
    Dex is back to his best
    Majewski ran a marathon considering his game time this season
    Moose and Chambo would do better just standing on the goal line at times
    McLeary won’t be playing for us next season

  14. Proud to be a Forest fan again what an amazing result and even better against Dirty leeds eh ….

    The talent in the team is there for all to see we need to kick on now and finIsh the season well.

    Well done all @ NFFC

  15. Huge thanks for the video link. Almost impossible to find Championship goals down here if you don’t subscribe to FOX aka Sky…. I am gloating over the resident Leeds fan at work 😉

  16. Normally when we play dirty Leeds this fantastic blog is over-run by arrogant, vitriolic Leeds fans; I notice an absence- You Reds!!!!!!

    Well done all @ NFFC & it can’t be all Cotterills fault when we lose and all O’Driscoll’s doing when we win. Maybe both together going forward is the best option?

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