Inching closer to safety..

Cotterill has almost fulfilled his mission to guide the Reds to safety

Nottingham Forest – 0
Blackpool – 0

It wasn’t a massively memorable game, but certainly it was one in which Forest dominated chances and possession and perhaps ought to have notched all three points against a surprisingly lacklustre Blackpool side.  That said, there were only a few clear-cut chances for either side – having said that, it justified more than the minute and Tangerine-biased coverage the Football League Show deemed fit to show.

Steve Cotterill stuck with the same system that has been paying dividends lately – making just the compulsory change he needed to due to Garath McCleary’s suspension, restoring Paul Anderson to the side on the right, and also sticking with the late change he made at Peterborough, with Lewis McGugan retaining his midfield spot in place of the injured Guy Moussi.

Gunter    Chambers    Lynch    Cunningham
Anderson    Guedioura    McGugan    Reid

It was Dex who perhaps was the man who should’ve been the one to break the Blackpool resolve – not least because I had him on my betting slip too!  As early as two minutes he had a great chance after a nice pass by Andy Reid played him through, he rushed the shot from the edge of the box when he had time to take a touch closer and compose himself.  The result was a shot off-target.

The visitors had a bit of play too, Chambers and Camp did well to thwart Dobbie from doing us damage after Guedioura had given the ball away.  Man-of-the-moment for Blackpool dragged an effort wide from 25 yards having cut in side.  Majewski had an effort on target after nicking the ball from Baptiste, but it was straight at Gilks.  Dex again was wasteful after either an amazing or fortuitous (I suspect the latter) put him clean through, but he lost his footing and put his shot over under pressure from the recovering defender.

A rare effective corner from Andy Reid was deep and towards a decent header from Paul Anderson of all people, bring a decent save from Gilks.  Dobbie was posing problems at the other end, as he tends to do against us, he got past Gunter to have a shot that was saved – but the ball came back to him, fortunately Chambers – looking much more composed than of late – was on hand to marshall him to take the ball out for a goal kick.

Greg Cunningham – having a cracking game coming forward, did well to cut into the box and have a powerful shot to the near post that was saved by Gilks.  Whilst I can’t blame him for having a go, it was regrettable he didn’t think to square it beyond the ‘keeper where a number of Forest players were laying in wait to pounce.  It was Cunningham again who created the best chance of the game – whipping a delicious cross in to Blackstock who met the ball well but headed straight at Gilks who made the save.

This save seemed to take its’ toll on the ‘keeper who required a chunk of treatment afterwards – with no reserve stopper on the bench it was a concerning moment for the visitors – but he last out ’til half time and presumably was able to get further treatment then.  The last chance of the half was again the Cunningham-Blackstock combination, this time Blackstock got his header horribly wrong and put it well wide.

So, half time.  One thing that struck us was the odd obsession the Blackpool fans seemed to have with us – chants of ‘Where were you in Premier League’ and, bizarrely, ‘how shit must you be, we beat you four times’ were quite common-place, and four-finger gestures harking back to two seasons ago when they of course beat us on four occasions (not, ironically, the number of points we’ve won against them this season).  All in all, it was a bit bemusing.  Still, if it keeps ’em happy!

Forest started the second half well by forcing a couple of corners – of course, a corner for us is as good as giving the opponents a goal-kick these days.  Blackpool threatened from he corner too – Dobbie whipped the ball in and found the tricky Thomas Ince at the back stick who headed goalward only to be thwarted by Lee Camp at the expense of another corner whic was this time cleared well by Chambers.

The referee, who’d been largely okay, missed what looked a pretty obvious trip on Gunter in the area by Phillips – he wasn’t having it though (having said that, Dobbie was clipped a couple of times in the area earlier in the game, and I’m sure I saw a couple of Forest players handball it, so maybe we shouldn’t complain too loudly!).  Blackstock again was set up with a chance to shoot at Gilks thanks to a great pass from McGugan, but he was unable to beat the Blackpool ‘keeper.

Forest continued to press, but struggled to create many clear-cut chances – giving Blackpool the opportunity to break, Dobbie again was the danger-man but was only able to direct his shot straight at Lee Camp.  Taylor-Fletcher perhaps could’ve done better with an effort after a poor punch from Lee Camp fell to him, but he was only able to put his effort wide of the far post.

Cotterill responded to the increased danger posed by the visitors by introducing ‘He’ll eat you alive’ George Elokobi for Andy Reid, pushing Cunningham further forward and putting the substitute left-back into defence.  Greening followed, replacing McGugan, about ten minutes later as the game rather fizzled out with neither side really haivng many ideas to try to break the deadlock.

Forest laboured forward, and good battling from Blackstock against two defenders saw the ball fall for Cunningham who again hit the target but was unable to beat Gilks.  Majewski was the last player to be withdrawn, replaced by Marcus Tudgay with a couple of minutes left on the clock.  Lynchinho could’ve sealed it with an amazing goal – he chested it down, beat a couple of players but was wild with his shot and put it off-target.

As the four minutes of stoppage time wound into six minutes plus, Blackpool started to pile on pressure and I must admit I was feeling pretty nervous we’d see yet another example of chucking away a game where we’d not deserved it.  Fortunately the opportunities they had late on from freekicks were both off-target, leaving the game to finish all square.  I thought we’d done enough to win, but then again, it was our own poor finishing that cost us!

So, we’re still seven points from danger – there are nine left to play for.  It ain’t mathematically close – but it’s close.  Doncaster of course succumbed to relegation in a controversial game against Portsmouth, who face a monumental challenge to stay up themselves.  With tricky looking trips to Reading, then Hull, it would’ve been nice to have got the win that would’ve all but guaranteed safety this weekend, but such is life!

7 Responses

  1. Cannot believe that after that performance the Football League Show gives 1 forest attempt on goal and 2 of Blackpool’s :s

  2. Nath, the Football League Show – indeed BBC football, has consistently misrepresented Forest games as its run by ex-Bin Robbers jealous of our achievements; their greatest achievement is being associated with a crisp packet!

    As to the game, its almost a pleasure being a Forest fan, some of the football we are playing now is sublime. I say almost because they still make us suffer nervy times. Whilst there is hope, and be I’m thankful there is because for much of the season I didn’t expect there to be any, we are not safe yet. We have been profligate in attack and porous in defence for most of the campaign but do seem to have solved the latter but still struggle with the former. Bristol, Posh and Blackpool saw us waste so many good opportunities and that is still a worry – had we taken them we would be safe by now. I won’t knock Dex, he is an inspiration and a sterling striker but we need someone up there with him with pace to be more clinical and work alongside him. Boy we have acquired some poor strikers in recent years

    Hopefully Milwall will do us a favour and beat Coventry but whilst I’d rather be us than them, Cov are also having a good run. Let’s hope we wreck Readings current run but to do so I think we need more steel in the midfield than what was shown by Lewis, Reidy and Ando – I’ll forgive Reidy because he has been inspirational in our change of form. Fingers crossed but I’ll be there come what may to shout for the boys.

  3. Anderson and Mcgugan are shockingly bad, surely their days at Forest are numbered. I’d sell Mcgugan and wouldn’t even attempt to resign Anderson to a new contract this summer. Lynch needs offering a new contract along with McCleary, Chambers we should try and resign but not break the bank to do it. I’m confident we’ll stay up but can’t rest easy until it’s impossible for coventry to catch us. Also i think Steve Cotterill needs a big well done for turning things around, he isn’t everybody’s cup of tea but he’s been very professional in a very hard time for the club and never made excuses or moaned and proved us all wrong. Well done mr cotterill and the players that have helped turn things around because if we had to play players like Harewood, Miller, Mcgoldrick, Findley, Mcgugan, Derbyshire, Boateng, Anderson we would be down without a fight by now. So well done the players who have rolled up their sleeves and shone over the last 7 weeks we know who cares and who doesn’t. And one thing we can honestly say about Cotterill is that he really does care.

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

  5. I opened up the page to ask NFFC how he thought Lewis played this week and there was martyn_reddog’s comment almost answering my question before I had asked it.I know that some players illicit different reactions from different people and so would still ask in general is he a keep or is the best thing for the club to sell and use the money to tie up other more deserving of the red jumper every week.Lynch McCleary and to a certain degree Chambers are existing club players who deserve a new contract but Cunningham,Guidora and Higginbottom seem to fit the requirements as well and will they be considered.A lot of these questions will be answered if and when we get new owners and find out in which direction they want to take the club. Given our results over the last 6 or 7 weeks with the same team and management we could be comfortably challenging for playoffs next season.

    Lots of unknowns to ponder which all started with is Lewis a keep or sell?

    Comments Gents!!!

    • Sell Mcgugan,and possibly Chambers will go ,and unfortunately Mcleary as he will receive offers too good to turn down. We Must try to keep Cunningham and Guediora and Higginbotton,particularly if Chambers goes. I’m sure Cotterill and O Driscoll have some players lined up to replace the departees !

  6. Lewis is an enigma within a riddle!!! He has all the talent in the world BUT he will do something then needs a rest for 5 minutes and the game passes him by. He looks like “can I be bovvered”!

    Time for him to move on. He had a good season last year but all the good bits were free-kicks weren’t they?

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