Forest’s cup run Don’t Stop..

Dex celebrates snagging Forest’s first goal of the season..

Fleetwood Town – 0
Nottingham Forest – 1

Apologies for the delay, after the late trip back from Fleetwood I was more tempted by sleep than my laptop – plus I do get to be amused by Derby County’s exit from the first round this evening despite having been 3-0 up at half time, and 5-3 up after ninety minutes – eventually drawing 5-5 and going out on penalties after a goalless extra time against Scunthorpe United.

Hell, even Tyson scored!  Letting down five second half goals though, with two of them in stoppage time – ooh, the 6,000 odd Sheffield Wednesday fans travelling to Pride Park on Saturday must be feeling like they might get to see something quite exciting!

But anyway, I digress already!  Like most Forest fans we passed on the delights of Fleetwood early doors and went for the dubious pleasures of Blackpool instead, heading up the road to what the Forest fans unkindly dubbed ‘a bus-stop in Blackpool’ to the match – so aside from the inevitable Fleetwood Mac punning that I’ve certainly been indulging in since the draw, I don’t have much to say about the place!

Fleetwood’s Highbury ground is tidy enough, two small terraces behind the goals, a decent modern stand on one side, and small half-stand effort (which appeared to be built infront of the old stand, oddly) opposite – and a big video screen, and the most sinister looking mascot ever called ‘Captain Cod’.  He was good fun though, responding well to the travelling fans’ banter.

So, Forest started with a pretty strong and positive looking side, it was something like this at the start, with Guedioura and McGugan seemingly alternating in the holding role:

Moloney    Ayala    Collins    Harding
Halford  McGugan  Guedioura Reid

It was a pretty forgettable first half, in truth.  The home side closed down quickly and the Reds struggled to move the ball quickly so often lost it.  Fleetwood had the first chance of the game, a decent ball in found Jon Parkin who glanced a header goalwards and gave Karl Darlow – who’d had a great reception from the travelling fans – with a fairly routine save.

I’m struggling to remember much else at all aside from a number of balls getting booted out the stand, including nearly taking out a seagull, and lots of fun in the terraces with the inflatables purloined from the day in Blackpool many fans had.  Raddy had an ambitious effort after Halford had tried to force a shot through, but he put it well off target from a tricky angle.

The weather loomed sinisterly in the form of a big black cloud drifting toward the ground, but Forest appeared much more decisive.  Halford had moved more centrally into a holding role to try to get McGugan and Guedioura less deep in midfield, and Majewski appeared to be tasked with covering the right side of midfield.

Almost immediately we looked more impactful, a good delivery from a freekick from Lewis McGugan found Halford at the back post but if he managed to connect it was barely, ending up with a goalkick.  Closer still, another cross from McGugan found Blackstock in a difficult position but he dug out an effort that hit the cross bar.

From a ridiculous angle Guedioura – who’d just beaten a defender to get into area – struck a real palm-stinger which was well saved by Davies in the Fleetwood goal, he might’ve been better crossing it, but it would’ve been a pretty neat goal!  The goal came quite soon after – Reidy crossed well from the left to Blackstock who headed down, but Davies was able to save – but fortunately Dex was quickest on the draw in the box and fired the rebound into the goal.

Forest looked more comfortable now but without really massively threatening – a freekick was well-struck by Reidy but saved by Davies, Halford connected well with an overhead kick  but it proved an easy save for the home ‘keeper.  Lewis was working hard in midfield, and was almost rewarded when he burst through but dragged his shot wide from the edge of the area.

Meanwhile it wasn’t too touch to be distracted by the electrical thunder storm visible over the other terrace – with Forest fans sounding almost like the crowd at a firework show with lots of ‘Ooohs!’ and ‘Aaahs!’.  Luckily the rain never really properly got started, so the insubstantial roof over the terrace was sufficient to keep the travelling fans dry.

A Guedioura cross almost found Dex, but he was just unable to connect.  That was his last action with Tudgay replacing him, and the sub almost immediately made an impact meeting Reidy’s cross with a controlled header that he put just wide.  Shortly after it was Reid again providing to the replacement striker who headed straight at Davies.

Greening was a late change for the largely ineffective Majewski, and immediately sought to get involved – there wasn’t much more direct action, there was a long range scare from Gillespie late on but it was over.  All in all, a good result – Fleetwood looked a tidy side, as you’d expect given how they romped to promotion last season, and the Reds looked still a little less than match-sharp.  Unsurprising really.

All in all, a pleasing result – and perhaps can be considered a bit of an extension to the pre-season campaign.  It was good to keep a clean sheet with our defence being brand new, and a clean sheet for the rookie ‘keeper as well.  There’s still a lot of work for Sean O’Driscoll to do, but it would certainly appear that he’s making progress already with his squad – and that’s reassuring!

Now for the season proper to start – I can’t wait!