Thank goodness that’s over..

Dexter caps off a great recovery from injury with a brace against relegated Pompey

Nottingham Forest – 2
Portsmouth – 0

A pointless game played at generally a little above walking-pace by two sides who’ve endured a torrid season.  A decent  but quiet home crowd, and spirited going-to-have-a-good-time-no-matter-what made for a strange atmosphere, but a reasonably good-natured one.  A largely forgettable first half was goalless, a Dexter Blackstock brace snagged the points for the Reds putting us 19th in the final league table.

I believe that’s one place higher than where we were when Steve Cotterill took charge of us.

I’d half been expecting to see fringe players chucked in, but the gaffer stuck with the formula that has enabled us to limp our way out of the relegation picture, and ultimately it delivered a rare home win, but well, it wasn’t one that will live long in the memories, that’s for sure!  Funnily enough, nobody wanted to pitch invade (that magic tape worked for a change!) so the ‘lap of appreciation’ went off without a hitch, aside from what felt like a huge delay.

Gunter    Chambers    Lynch    Cunningham
McCleary    Guedioura    McGugan    Reid

Forest started okay, Blackstock wasn’t quick enough to react to a McGugan crossed ball allowing Ashdown to make the save.  Guedioura fashioned a chance for himself with some nice skill to beat two players, his shot was on target but an easy save for the Pompey ‘keeper.  At the other end an increasingly common Camp fumble could’ve caused us problems from an Etuhu shot, but Chambers was on hand to clear the danger.

Another break from the visitors culminated in a shot from Norris that was blocked by Cunningham.  With their tails up, Chris Maguire had a decent effort from around the twenty-five yard mark which again Camp was less than decisive with, making the save at the second attempt.  The game then rapidly descended into the pedestrian really.  Reidy tried to cause some problems but his shot was deflected for a corner.

As is customary for a Forest corner, the ball soon ended up back in our area – Camp more decisive in saving from Varney who had shot from inside the area.  Back on the attack it was Reid of all people who rose in the box to head the ball towards the back post where it was scrambled wide.  The best chance of the half probably fell to Gunts, some great work by Cunningham on the left saw the ball drilled in low, falling for Gunter running into the box, he elected for a left footed effort which ended up in the Pompey fans.

The first half fizzled out and well, it was kind of par for what has been a spectacularly disappointing season.  Scores from elsewhere were announced, and nobody really paid attention, once again a selection of supporters failed to kick the ball through the hole in the Victor Chandler board – possibly the most rubbish half-time entertainment ever.  Garath McCleary had won player of the season – unsurprising, personally I’d have singled out Joel Lynch without wishing to downplay the fantastic contribution Gaz has made too.

The other thing of note was I managed to get my mits on a programme at half time to see the season ticket prices for next season – frozen.  If they’d gone up it would’ve taken the piss, personally I think the prices compared to similar-stature clubs is already too high, however with the uncertainty around ownership and funding it’s likely that the club will depend more wholly on cash it generates – so a price cut would probably have been reckless.

Early in the second half Dex spurned a great chance – Gunter was the architect of the chance, winning the ball and getting the ball to Blackstock who conspired to hit it over from ten yards out.  Forest actually had a fair bit of possession but struggled to do much with it, a scrappy encounter in our area ended with Norris putting his shot over from the edge of the area.  Gunter needed to be on hand after to block Varney’s cross which was heading to Maguire.

A little past an hour gone and Majewski was withdrawn for Paul Anderson, who certainly looked eager with some promising early touches, but again Forest struggled to create many meaningful opportunities.  Just as we were resigned to a limp 0-0 finish Dexter Blackstock – who’d had a wasteful afternoon so far – broke the deadlock.  Cunningham crossed, it found McCleary who cut it back across the goal giving Dex an open goal from a yard out.

Moussi was introduced for the not-exactly-energetic (sic) McGugan, and Dex was nearly on the scoresheet again – he couldn’t get much power on his header but it was well-directed and only stopped thanks to a fine save by Ashdown.  He made two more saves from the Forest frontman who’d got more accurate, but not quite enough to beat the ‘keeper again.  Guedioura had picked up a few knocks over the course of the second half, and was finally taken off.

It’s worth taking a moment to reflect on the impact Adlene has had on our season – it’s huge.  He’s been a revelation in midfield and whilst I don’t hold out much hope, I dearly hope that that isn’t the last time we see him in a Forest shirt.  Clearly I’m not alone, he was given a fantastic ovation by the appreciative Forest fans as he was replaced by his fellow Wolves-mate George Elokobi – who was warmly welcomed to the pitch.

Portsmouth took a bizarre corner, it moved in the air and it appeared that Camp ended up punching it up onto the underside of the bar, I think it ended up in but the linesman had indicated the corner had curled out of play before reaching the danger area.  A strange one indeed!  In the meantime, Forest ended the season by actually scoring from a corner!  Dex rose to meet Reid’s corner and squeeze his header through a crowded area into the net.

Much like our first goal, the Portsmouth fans probably celebrated just as much as we did – if not slightly more.  Amusing chances of ‘Let us score!’ were almost taken up by home fans too, such is the forlorn hope their club has become at the moment, it wasn’t to be though – but there was plenty of mutual appreciation between the two sets of fans which is always good to see.  I hope the future for them isn’t as bleak as it appears at the moment.

All in all, an average game to finish off an appalling season.  I suppose our opponents for the day give us that stark relief of realising that it could’ve been worse though – now we enter a summer of more uncertainty than we’ve had for some time.  As ever, I’m not really interested in seeking or re-hashing the inevitable flurry of rumours – so I’ll await some news before joining the speculation about the future of the club.

Whilst I was cynical about the ‘lap of appreciation’ it was a good opportunity to show some love to the loan signings that have made such an impact, as well as some of our established squad who we might not see in a Forest shirt again – it was great too to see Chris Cohen walking around with the lads, and George Elokobi deciding to film the crowd with an iPad of all devices.  How many of that group of people walking around the pitch are here next season remains to be seen.

Have a great summer, everyone – I’m sure there’ll be a few updates before next season commences.  In the meantime, I hope you’re all coping in these drought conditions!

19 Responses

  1. The match was summed up for me by the Pompey fans chanting “one-nil, how shit must you be, just winning one-nil” to be countered by Forest fans with “winning at home, how shit must you be, we’re winning at home”! Great respect to them for turning out in such numbers and supporting their team to the end.

    As for us, it was yet another case of dominating a game but mostly looking toothless up front. Dex tries his heart out and could (should) have had a hat-trick but we need an more incisive attack if we are to progress. Quite an amazing situation situation for a club with 7 strikers on the books. We do have to rationalise in that department.

    Couldn’t agree more about Adlene Gueidiora; he has mad such a huge difference by being that box-to-box midfielder we have needed for a long time. I hope we keep him and see play alongside Chris Cohen but sadly I have no faith in the executive being able to deliver this; hope I’m wrong! I also hope they can sort out the contract situation with key players (esp Lynch & McC) but cynicism has the better hand here too especially as I remain stunned that we have got into this situation at all.

    Yes we survived and lets celebrate that but don’t get carried away, had Pompey not been docked 10 pts, yesterday would have been a horrid squeaky bum affair and may not have turned out as it did. Respect goes to Steve Cotterill. Even though I still have doubts, the fact remains that since he brought in new blood, Forest have been 8th in the form league since 1 Feb 12. He has to be judged on that and I for one applaud him.

    No we have the summer recess to consolidate new owners, new contracts, new players and prepare for next year knowing it couldn’t possibly be as chaotic as last year … Oh hang on a minute!!!!!!!

  2. Well done to SC and the lads its a job well done in my book it could have been a nightmare if we had gone down.

    Clear out the dross now and lets get the club back on track I think we will lose some of our good guys Gaz Mc is a cracking player I wish him well he can be a Prem player no worries.

    Would love to see Pep Guediora back hes a player and some more muscle to beef up our squad thanks as always nffc for your reports they are spot on fella.

    Enjoy the summer all you fellow reds …

    Red Ric

  3. Thanks for an awesome season of reviews (even if the matches themselves haven’t been so great). You’re my #1 link to Forest over here, and long may it continue. See you next season. COYR!

  4. Yeh feel for Pompey supporters, really decent lot, I know a lot of supporters feel this is just reward for their abandonment of financial common sense, but the supporters don’t deserve the drop down do they?
    Moving to my Forest, the one player I’d absolutely love to see leave would be our so called Captain, chambers, he is way out of his depth and clearly close to illiterate when doing the obligatory interviews.
    Couple that with shameful displays, I’m alarmed to see him representing my club, the lack of contract offer speaks volumes really doesn’t it.

    • Guediora is one player we should really go for ! The fact he made very clear is he likes the club,the supporters and the city ! Chambers,Mcgugan and Mcleary will be gone,and hopefully all the Mclaren signings including the training staff ! I hope o driscoll stays.
      So now we wait….Tick Tock Tick tock………………………………Thanks NFFC ! Have a good summer ,and Best wishes to all Forest supporters,especially the ones overseas like me ! Alan,Isla Margarita

  5. Thanks for sticking to the task NFFC ~ you’ve made a bad season barely tolerable. It can’t have been easy spending time writing the blog after some of the performances we’ve had to endure.

  6. For the past two year I’ve been gutted when it’s become reality that we’d be spending the following season in the Championship … this year it’s just a massive relief! Much needs to happen between now and August if we’re to avoid a repeat, let’s hope the powers that be both realise that and act … we’ll see, but I’m not holding my breath!!!

    NFFC, thanks for yet another season of entertaining and well informed forest news and reports … absolutely invaluable stuff for us more distant fans.

    Have a good summer everyone and COYR!!!

  7. Does anyone have any information on the potential buy out at all? I’ve heard rumours, but nothing more than that. Thanks NFFC for your continual reports, it has been a more difficult season that we all expected. I must also congratulate Reading and Southampton, they’ve shown us how to do it, and without a massive budget too – enjoy the summer and bring on next season.

  8. I honestly thought Forest were no chance of surviving at the end of January, but they live to fight another day. I’m sure there is more turmoil & confusion to come, but everybody needs a break.
    A massive thanks to NFFC for your weekly appraisals as Forest lerched from one disaster to the next. Your unique way of analysing each fixture far outweighs the junk in the print media.
    Keep up the Stellar work!
    Maybe this season had to happen as we all knew there were problems brewing with a depleted squad, lack of funds, piss poor management… It could be the wake up call to finally shake our famous club.

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

  10. Thank you NFFC for the reports this season. It has been a difficult one for all concerned.

    I think we are in for a frustrating few months and I cannot see any of the out of contact players staying.It is great to see two clubs promoted who have done it on small budgets -leaving West ham to face the play off’s.( not to mention money bags Leicester who blow it.)

  11. Thanks NFFC best blog by a country mile (although only one I look for admittedly!!) and don’t get too down-hearted like all the other doom and gloom merchants. After the pre/start to the season we had it could have been a lot worst. For all those already predicting more of the same, have a look @ those Pompey supporters who provided a lesson in loyalty and support. Have a good summer!!!!! YOU REDS!!!!!!!

    • All our players leaving on a free ! Mark Arthurs incompetence is costing forest millions ! Lets hope he is gone before next season !!!!

      • As I don’t have access to U.k. tv, I thought you may like to know on u tube there is Match of the 70″s . I ,of course chose 1978 79 and 1979 80 .Nice to see us thrashing Man Utd at Old Trafford etc etc. Annoying that we are referred to as Notts Forest, but I enjoyed seeing the old clips ! Alan

        • Well done Carl Froch !!! What a fight ! Sign him up Steve !!!

          • I hope Warnock buys Guediora ! Gunter should stay now. I don’t expect Warnock to keep Chambers . I’m sure he will have some good players lined up ! Exciting times !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. just heard cotterill is on his way out …and frank clark too …and .MARTHUR……..thank goodness … will be published in next 7 days …Billys coming back …its not the kuwait whos investing .its .a consortium ….uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu RRREEEEEEEDDDSSS !!!

    • The silence is killing me. I can understand nffc’s non blogging but there is no where to vent/read or find out credible info. If you are correct sisco then it will be a very interesting summer.

  13. …just met an Italian agent in sunderland ..who has also heard of movement at forest ..couldnt get alot out of him ..well not surprised as its his money maker at stake .but i agree about the non blogging …im trying to find out as much as possible ..but it is very closed at the agents shop in london….but what ive said about the named three is coming out a little more ..thats why the club has extended season ticket deadline ..ready for the announcement ..which should come i say in the next 7 days !!!

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