Royals rise, Reds survive to fight another season..

Reading – 1
Nottingham Forest – 0

That feels better, doesn’t it?  Championship status secured.  Sure, we lost – and it was a disappointing defeat too in a game where we made a decent show of ourselves, but you know what?  It’s been a while since I cared less.  In snagging the win Reading secure promotion, so huge congratulations to them, whilst we can thank Millwall for securing the win that ultimately decided our fate at the Ricoh Arena.

So, to our game – Forest started strongest and repelled Reading early doors, the home side began to press before half time, and the second half blossomed into a more open encounter with both sides creating but failing to convert chances – until the late winner for the hosts which, by this stage given the later kick off time, didn’t really matter (although I’m sure it did on the pitch!).

As promised Steve Cotterill made some changes to the side, although only a couple, giving the left side a break with Cunningham and Reid dropping to the bench to be replaced by Elokobi and Wootton, giving us a slightly lop-sided looking midfield..

Wootton   Chambers    Lynch    Elokobi
Gunter    Guedioura    McGugan    Anderson

Very early in the game the Reds were looking to strike, with Gunter and Majewski combining well to feed McGugan for a strike from an angle, but it ended up just wide of Federici’s goal.  Whilst Reading retained the ball well they struggled to muster much by way of attack, whilst McGugan was looking dangerous for Forest, he picked out Gunter with a lovely pass but unfortunately the makeshift winger was just offside.

Reading did have the ball in the net after 20 minutes, but it was disallowed owing to the fairly obvious foul on Lee Camp leaving him prone and unable to guard an empty goal from Jason Roberts converting.  Guedioura had a powerful strike from range on target, Federici couldn’t hold it and it fell for Blackstock but the Reds striker was offside.  Dex had the next chance too, a ball from Lewis sent him clear with a nice turn, his shot to the far post lacked power and gave the Royals keeper a simple save to make.

As the first half came to close the home side did start to build the pressure – culminating in a decent strike from outside the area by Leigertwood which was well saved by Camp.  The remainder of the half was basically Forest repelling increased pressure from the home side – there weren’t any real scares though.  At half time we were still safe – Coventry were level, we were level – safe.  For now.

The second half kicked off and Reading were very much on the front foot – Kebe crossed to Hunt in space, who conspired to miss the target with his head from ten yards with no defender near.  A dangerous ball in from Ian Harte followed, but Elokobi was on hand to head it away, ricocheting off Hunt and giving the Reds a goal kick.  Big George showed a touch of class at the other end too, connecting with a corner by the means of an overhead kick from around twelve yards, just missing the target.

Forest started to build pressure upon the home side – but much as Forest had in the first half Reading showed they could repel the borders effectively too, despite some promising positions Forest weren’t even able to muster a shot on target.  The home side were dangerous on the break too, and combined with a slip-up by Joel Lynch it could’ve given the home side the lead when in-form Adam Le Fondre got clean through against Camp, lofting his shot over the ‘keeper but mercifully wide of the goal.

This seemed to galvanise the home side somewhat – despite attentions from both Guedioura and Gunter – Shaun Cummings was able to get a shot away, but it was considerably wide of the target!  Forest had their own spell in attack, and it was a McGugan corner that gave us our closest chance – with Elokobi again connecting but this time hitting the bar.  Guedioura and McGugan combined but the end effort was well over.

Then the deadlock was broken – a cross from the left evaded everyone but Leigertwood who put the ball in from close range.  There followed a kerfuffle with Forest players complaining to the referee presumably believing a foul to have taken place.  Certainly the referee didn’t seem to think so, and simply booked Lee Camp.  A win of course would secure automatic promotion for the home side, which saw some potentially premature celebrations kicking off in the ground.

Majewski was ready to try to quell the partying but his shot from the edge of the area was over the bar.  Cotterill made a triple-change as a last throw of the dice – Reid, Tudgay and Greening replacing Wootton, Majewski and McGugan.  The substitutes almost conspired to spoil the party, a great ball in from Reidy found Tudgay whose goalbound header was cleared off the line by Alex Pearce.

The final whistle heralded scenes of celebration from thousands of pitch-invading Reading fans, with a few Forest players left battling their way to the away end to applaud the visiting fans.  On face value, a disappointing defeat in a game where we gave more than just a good account of ourselves – however, given the bigger picture it seems churlish to be too down about not picking up a point (or maybe even three).

Huge credit is due to Steve Cotterill and his team, the players and the supporters – sure, there’s been plenty of mistakes made over this season but certainly the direction of travel for Forest is a vast improvement, as has been the quality of performances.  With our Championship status assured it will hopefully ‘grease the wheels’ of the takeover discussions that are supposedly already underway with a number of interested parties.

All in all, a massive sense of relief.

26 Responses

  1. My second away trip of the season and certainly a lot better than Bristol away, even if the the result was worse. In spells, with the ball on the deck, we put together some good phases and threatened a very average Reading side (or at least a very average performance). We just lacked a little width, given our squad, not surprisingly, with most play going down the right and fairly poor delivery throughout. But it’s the end of a season where we’ve been through the ringer, with an unbalanced squad and huge improvements have been made.

    As for the players Guedioura was everywhere and big George kept popping up in good positions and was defensively sound. Good to see both him and Gunts brave the pitch invasion to applaud the away fans at the end. I think Steve has to take a massive slice of credit for the uptrend in performance and the several key players he secured. We’re safe, so time to look forward with optimism.

    Big congrats to Reading too, will be interesting to see what they can do up with the big boys. Maybe they won’t have to turn up the sound-system to 11 to generate an atmosphere as much?

  2. Yes – relieved but at the same time disappointed: not just because we more than matched them last night but also because I don’t think there’s a team in this division that we’re not capable of beating. Reading are up because they’ve had stability and a good coach in charge; their players are nothing special. We’ve massively underachieved even by our long-term underachieving standards. It was embarrassing hearing the chants of “staying up” next to the Reading fans celebrating promotion. I’m fed up with watching smaller but better-run clubs outperform us year after year.

    Who knows what the summer’s going to hold, and what will happen next year, but I hope I never have to watch Elokobi and Anderson trying to impersonate an effective left-flank operation again (or indeed Gunter ahead of Wootton on the right – didn’t work yesterday and it never has before). Guedioura on the other hand was outstanding: sign him up please, new owners, whoever you might be.

  3. Much credit to Cotterill for ignoring some quite vocal criticism at times qnd doing what he thought was necessary to get the results Forest needed. Although the two full backs on the right of the pitch experiment must end!
    Lets hope now our position has been secured, the offers for the club will be made official. Time to consign this season to the depths of the mind, other than the emergence of McCleary, a fine return to fitness and form for Blackstock and Majewski.

  4. Phew we limped over the line!!! We can all relax til the next crisis at Forest and you know it will come.

    At Christmas I thought we had gone. I thought mester cockerill was out of his depth. I was wrong on one count and the other I will reserve judgement if thats ok. I will give him credit for changing things around, and his inspired loan signings. Still not sure about his tactics at times, his making subs with 5 minutes left when a game is difficult to change, playing players out of position. I would also like to mention SOD he has made a difference.

    Congratulations to Reading, they have been the form team in this division for 18 months and deserve their moment in the sun. Thanks to Meow for beating Coventry.

    We can watch football in a relaxed manner again and see IF we are bought!

    Keep the faith……..mine has been stretched to the limit this season and I doubt if I’m the only one.

    My player of the season has to be Adlene for the first time in years we had a real box to box player prepared to work and with skill who realises that there is no I in team.

  5. Listened on the radio but a big “up” to the Tricky fans that made the shite trip to the Maj Stad on a Tuesday night.

    SAFE – my intial reaction is thank God for that. All in all its been a pretty poor season and now watching 95% of my games at the CG, its not been good to watch! Its been a long time since every time I entered the CG portals, I had the feeling of impending doom.

    But time to move forward now. Time to reshuffle the pack. I’d love to keep Pep, Danny and Big George and from what I’m hearing they would love to stay. Lets hope they do. Certainly time to lose Derbyshire, Miller and Greening but I’m sure they would be glad to go.

    With new owners imminent I guess the club is in for another period of change – the only constant seems to be change at our beloved football club and I think its time we had a period of calm, a period of stability so we can go back to concentrating on the activities on the pitch and start doing what us Trickies fan desperately want to see. Some good football.

    I’m ready for next season already.

  6. I like all Forest fans are extremely relieved. I was convinced at Christmas time that we were down. I think S.O`D has had a massive impact as before his arrival we were playing hoof ball. An interesting few months ahead.

    Normally during the closed season you are very quiet with this blog, However, I sure many Forest fans would appreciate your comments about all things Forest over the coming months.

  7. We played well last night, and were unlucky, I thought. I agree that Gunter looks like a fish out of water playing on the wing instead of full-back. Guedioura was by far the best player on the pitch again. I’d love it if we could sign him, but I suspect he’s much too good to end up with us permanently. Have Wolves got so many talented players that they can afford to let a player of his obvious quality out on loan? I don’t get it. And here’s a thought: If we aren’t lucky in the ownership lottery then there’s a reasonable chance that none of the guys in our defence yesterday will be playing for us next season. My biggest worry though is Blackstock – whilst he’s done OK since coming back and retains the talent he’s always had he clearly lacks sharpness and power. I am concerned that he might never be the player he once was again. On the other hand, next season we’ll get Cohen back.

  8. Malwood: great point about having Cohen back next season! His engine will be most welcome.

  9. It could be argued that this is just as much of an achievement as when BD took over from Calderwood. Billy essentially inherited a good dressing room which needed a few players adding to it, which he did well and was able to build a decent side.

    SC has had to deal with much more turmoil. SMc doing a far worse job than Calderwood did, leaving the team in a mess and noses out of joint in the dressing room. Plus the fall out of ND passing away and players not knowing their future. SC might not be the most technically or tactically adept but you’ve got to give him credit. A good manager surrounds himself with people who are better at the things he isn’t good at and SO’D is better at getting sides to play good football. SC got him in to do that job and credit to him for it.

    I can’t look forward to next season until the summer is sorted. There’s got to big changes not just in playing staff but with the club as well. It will certainly be interesting. I only hope SC and SO’D have a settled side and a good pre-season so we can build on what has been pretty good form over the last 10 games or so.

  10. We played well last night and didn’t deserve to lose. Its all history but last few games we have more than matched most of the teams in the top 6!! If only from the beginning of the season??
    Before the goal the linesman was definitely flagging but the play continued and he didnt keep the flag raised. Poor officials -goal should not have been allowed.
    Good luck to Reading but I think they have a big ask to stay up.
    What a season for us, like many I heavily criticised Cotterill but credit where it is due. Great credit also to bring in O’Driscoll he has made a big difference and it cant be coincidence results/performance changed when he arrived-also with the loan players.
    Time to look forward but like others have stated it is very difficult to watch other teams getting into the premier league who in’ theory’ are less equipped than Forest, this is not arrogance or a belief we have a right to be there, its just that if managed correctly with a stable long term plan we should achieve this, we certainly should not have been in a position of fighting for survival for most of the season.
    Great support from Reds fans last night, thanks to players for fighting their way through the pitch invasion to acknowledge us.
    keep the faith COYR

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

  12. At last some relief after a season of woes. When we went on that run of firing blanks (9 games out of 10?) i thought the writing was on the wall for both our Championship status and Cotterill’s job. Credit must go to him for the loan signings but I am also still totally unconvinced by his managerial capabilities (typified by his embarrassing touchline antics from minute 1 of every game). But at least SOD seems to have had a positive effect.on our style and overall performances, But no time to dwell too much now on the past. Let’s hope for new owners asap and some clarity on money available so we can get some of the loanees & those out of contract signed up (at least Guedioura please!). If SC learns from his mistakes, then there is no reason why Forest cannot build on this disaster of a season, invest in the right players at the right prices – that dont break the bank, and ultimately perhaps mirror the achievements of Reading, Swansea and Norwich for example. COYR and here’s to a summer of positive developments and a (much) more successful 12/13!

  13. Cotterill out

  14. Seriously, let’s getting planning for the many challenges of 2012-2013 right now: let’s get rid of Cotter-nil and install Sean O’Driscoll as manager; and cancel the contracts of Miller, Greening and D*rbyshire. Etc.

    • Coterill may be better at man management? but O driscoll ,I”m sure ,has created the way our team have played. We certainly need to keep him !!Guediora must be signed when we are sorted out. He wants to stay here so he can put in a transfer request when he knows we have the money available to buy him ! An interesting summer awaits !

  15. Serious question: what is Cotter-nil adding to NFFC that O’Driscoll cannot add? The latter is palpably better in all respects. Why is Cotter-nil not being sacked? His interviews are totally nuts.

    • There’s an article somewhere online (I’ll post a link if I can find it) that is about SO’D from his time at Donny. It was great reading & illustrates the benefit he brings to a club when allowed to impose his football philosophy.
      The one thing though that this article made very clear, was that SO’D’s was uncomfortable with the media side of football management. This is why I think that SC & SO’D as a team are greater than they are individually. SC may have come accross a bit buffoonish at times in interviews – but I believe this is just to deflect attention from the players. SC is a very good man-manager as we have seen with the resurgence of Raddy& Reid as well as the way he has improved McLeary & Lynch.

      Keep them both.

  16. Perhaps we should install Mcgoogle as manager Ian at least he’d get a game every week……….another carp performance last night? He is the david beckingham of Forest!

  17. I think Lewis McGugan is a sh*t suggestion for a manager. He’s too young and has a questionable attitude, in the eyes of quite a few Forest nutters.

  18. Ian

    You think so? Then I’m one of the nutters!!!

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  19. I’d like to see the league table post the January transfers, that’s what SC, SOD and FC should be judged on.

  20. Thanks for your even-tempered and very readable reports through this miserable season, TTSBU. Teriffic reading, and I have been in the journalism game 30 years, so I know. This is a great site for us Tricky expats.

  21. Hear Hear, credit where it’s due, this blog keeps me going out here in the gulf and is checked on a daily (sometimes more!) basis. Happy to be returning to Nottingham in June for what may be a permanent move but will continue to keep this as one of the first things I do when I log on everyday.

    Thanks TTSBU.

  22. SAFE!!!!
    I wonder how many clubs would have survived the absolute turbulent wave that ripped through the city ground this season?
    A massive congatulations to SC & staff for creating stability in what looked a helpless cause for long periods. Now for the culling of excess stock….. It will be ugly!

  23. I echo the sentiments of the other expats who view your site on a daily basis sometimes at work as well as at home and find your opinions and views to be informative and from a sup[porters point of view very helpful to know what is going on at the club.Thanks for that and please keep it up.

    As far as next season goes we have to start planning now instead of our usual wait until end of September 8 games into season before we are ready.A lot of this will depend on our new owners as we can then get on with securing the contracts of players we need to keep and the permanent signing of some of the loans if possible as in my opinion they were the difference between relegation and safety.

    With regards to the so called dead wood

    Findlay and Miller started off well , even looked at times like Harewood/Johnson and may need to be reintegrated into the team with a wipeout of all that has gone before and a few harsh words from the management reminding them of what they are there for.

    Derbyshire needs to put up or ship out. The constant falling over and wingeing has to stop or he must be down the road.

    McGoldraught must go to get him off the wages.

    Harewood contract is finished so no problem there and I believe Boteang is in a similar position.

    Greening I am not sure about but from comments on here and general opinion is split.

    And on to Lewis. he needs an arm round the shoulder and told to get a grip,grow up and if its not going well work hard get fit and fix it.

    We will already have our first new player next season when one of my personel favourites is back and gets his engine up to speed I mean Mr Cohen.

    There will be a lot of watching this space and the papers and net media over the next few months to see how it all shapes up hopefully it will sort it self out.

    Keep the Faith

    U reds

  24. ……….one solution ..get rid of Marthur ! lower the price of season tiokets so we can fill the stadium and only have minimum number of seats available to visiting support….out the silly stewards who try and stop you singing , supporting your team….replace with forest support minded ones ! and put someone in charge who understands the meaning of a contract !……..bring back king Billy ………………………. .billy davies and S ‘O Driscolls …red an white army !!!!

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