Reds repell physical Bolton for a point..

“I didn’t see a shove”, said Kevin Davies post-match. Cheating git.

Bolton Wanderers – 2
Nottingham Forest – 2

A bit of frustration, but a lot of pride in the boys after this performance.  Our first test of an overtly physical side and whilst of course there are lessons to be learned (not least that referees cannot be relied upon to see what is patently obvious – but we knew that already!) there are so many positive signs to be taken.

The first half hour of the match saw Forest impose their passing game on the hosts who had little answer beyond bludgeoning their way into the game.  Kevin Davies was booked early for annihilating Dan Harding for no good reason – that would probably prove unfortunately as subsequently the troublesome frontman seemed to have immunity from any action from the referee at all.

Lewis McGugan had given us the lead with an absolute thunderbolt, but in the last ten to fifteen minutes of the first half Bolton realised our naivity in dealing with their more physical approach and looked dangerous in the final moments of the second half – particularly given their apparent freedom to shove our players where they liked when launching balls into the area.

The second half continued with home dominance initially, and the lead for them following a lapse from Greg Halford gifting the ball to Davies to tee up Sordell for a smart finish.  We did come back though having doggedly attempted to get the ball on the deck and were rewarded with a tremendous finish from Reidy to level.  Both sides could have nicked it in the closing stages.

Sean O’Driscoll opted not to change the formula that had worked so well at Huddersfield and named the same starting eleven.

Moloney    Halford   Collins    Harding
Guedioura   Gillett  McGugan   Reid
Blackstock   Cox

On the bench Ishmael Miller was absent – it turns out because we’ve loaned him for a season to Middlesbrough.  Seems like a good move all round to me – through injury, managerial turnover and – well – frankly unimpressive appearances in a Forest shirt clearly pastures new could be a good thing for the striker, and it would be good to get his wages paid by someone else!

As noted above – less than a minute was on the clock when the evening’s pantomime villain Kevin Davies was booked for a late challenge on Harding.  If this was the referee attempting to assert his authority on the match, it didn’t work.  Davies – who looks like a fat Kingsley Black – continued to elbow, shove and foul his way through the game with no further punishment.

In the early play a decent cross in from Moloney was nearly turned into his own net by former Forest target Matt Mills.  Whilst the resulting corner was cleared, it found McGugan who cut inside and fired a tame left footed effort goalward which was easily dealt with by Bogdan.  Dex too fired straight at the keeper from a tight angle when perhaps trying to pick out Cox in the box would’ve been a better bet.

A quarter of an hour in and a Bolton throw-in was eventually intercepted by the Reds, as the ball fell to McGugan 30 yards out I thought he might step outside of the defender and go for a far post strike, but he unleashed an absolute piledriver into the near top corner, swerving, dipping -it looked delicious from my seat directly behind him – it clipped the bar and found the net – Bogdan had no chance at all.

Forest were buoyed by the strike, and continued to press – with McGugan turning provider, Cox wasn’t able to direct his effort away from the Bolton ‘keeper.  Bolton were stirring through, Bolton’s first proper assault on our goal saw Collins get his head to the ball ahead of Davies to nod behind.  The referee gave a goal kick when it clearly should’ve been a corner.

Adlene Guedioura was the latest to fire an effort pretty much straight at Bogdan, but as Bolton started to close down our passing much more readily they did fight their way back into it.  A ball into the box was heading for Collins who was unceremoniously shoved over by Davies, who then headed against the post.  The ball came out to Eagles who finished coolly to equalise with the Reds players quite rightly pointing out the push.

The referee ignored this – as he had ignored Davies’ earlier two-handed propulsion of Halford into Matt Mills during another corner, with both players ending up needing treatment before returning to the action.  At one point the referee did had a word with Davies about his, well, I can only call it cheating – presumably reminding him he was on a yellow, alas he never made good with that warning.

Bolton tails were well and truly up now – and Marvin Sordell should really have done better when the Reds defence deigned to give him far too much space in the box to be picked out by a cross which he tried to loop over Camp.  Campy was equal to it and made the save by tipping over for another corner. A final scare came when Mears outpaced Harding to get a cross in, but Halford was able to get it clear.

So half time all square – Bolton’s ground is okay for a relative new-build.  It is set edge of town in a retail park much like Derby’s, which I don’t like.  At times the home fans made some noise, to be fair – a section of them relying on a poxy drummer to achieve this.  Despite also being a weeknight game, and a match televised on Sky, Forest took 1,366 fans – 400 more than Derby managed on Tuesday’s untelevised trip.

Amusingly the Bolton fans made a few jibes of us ‘coming in a taxi’ despite their less than impressive home attendance.

Whilst I have complained a lot about their first goal, there’s nobody to blame but ourselves for their second – early in the second half I can only assume Halford was trying to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick, but Davies was alert to this and picked his pocket.  The pass he made to Sordell left the Team GB striker with a lot to do, and it was a nice finish at an awkward height that saw him direct the ball in off the far post to give Bolton the lead.

He ought to have put the game to bed, too – Sordell again found space in the area but lacked composure and put his side-footed effort over.  Forest took a while to get back into the game, but having at least limited Bolton’s opportunities we were starting to get the ball on the deck again and play some football – and after about ten minutes or so of tentatively working our way back into the game we had our reward.

Collins clipped a good ball forward which Blackstock was able to flick on to Cox, he found Reid who’d made a clever run with a bit of space and he lofted an immaculate finish over Bogdan and in off the far post.  From my seat I was convinced he’d put it over and was almost head-in-handing as it dropped under the bar, off the post and in – a lovely lovely goal and really gave the ‘keeper absolutely no chance at all.

Guedioura was subject to calls of ‘Off! Off! Off!’ from the home fans aftera  late challenge on Ricketts.  He picked up a booking, which was probably about right – particularly considering the leniency showed elsewhere by the officials.  Bolton were roused into further action, Andrews headed straight at Camp from close range, and Davies should have hit the  target unmarked in the 6 yard box but he volleyed over.

Forest too fancied their chances of snagging a first away win of the season – Cox put a header at the back stick wide under close attentions of Tyrone Mears.  He was so frustrated at not scoring he punched the goalpost – although I don’t think it was that easy-a-chance.  Reidy had another effort that he put just over this time, and the final chance of the match came when the Reds broke thanks to Gillett, he ended up down the right and put in a wicked teasing ball that Cox couldn’t quite get on the end of.

All in all, delighted with the point – of course there are niggles, gripes and injustices – but it’s great to see Forest undergo a stern test from a side who are very good at what they do.  Bristol and Huddersfield attempted to play on the deck like us, so it’s good to see us face up to a brutish side and come out with a point, and have a reasonable case for feeling disappointed that it’s only one (despite what Owen Coyle says in his baffling post-match interview!).

Bolton fans booed their team off – which perhaps belies expectations of a simple ascension back to the top flight they’ve occupied for the last few years.  It’s true they should be a contender, but listening to the locals on the way out of the ground it would appear that Owen Coyle’s conversion of them back to a rather one-dimensional percentage football team isn’t popular.  I must admit I was expecting a bit more craft from them rather than a battering ram approach.

As I continue to stress, this Forest side is a work in progress – to have gone three games unbeaten has really exceeded my expectations and I can only reiterate my admiration for the Al Hasawi family, Sean O’Driscoll and his coaching team and the squad for the remarkable way they have worked to begin what is hopefully a positive era for the club – I’m so proud of them all, that they are achieving results and doing so playing the kind of football that I want to see.

The last words for Greg Halford who plaintively tweeted an apology after the match for his part in the second Bolton goal – don’t apologise, Greg – learn from it, get stronger – this season is our opportunity to stand or fall united as a football club.  We can accept mistakes, there will be many as the season goes on, when we see such effort and the embryonic stages of a football team we can start to feel proud of again after so long.

I’m really looking forward to Tuesday night’s game against Wigan which is – if I’m honest – probably the kind of game that I would be tempted to skip under previous regimes.  Right now I can’t get enough of Forest and long may it continue!

Can’t imagine many of you haven’t seen them, but the highlights are down here before the YouTube police take them away…

21 Responses

  1. Bolton booed the ref off, not their team, he was shocking from the start and how the goalkeeper was not booked for persitstant time wasting, especially after being told 3 times to speed up, is very questionable.
    There should have been a red card for Guedioura after 3 kicks at Afobe, and a penalty for a push in the box following a corner.

    Saying that Bolton should have scored more, 3 very good chances for Sordel (one taken), 2 good chances for Eagles (one taken), two good chances for K Davies, 2 good chances for Lee, and 2 more for Andrews. Bolton could, and really should have been far ahead before any slight fight back from Notts Forest at the end of the game.

  2. Also very pleased with how we are shaping up .Yea we are still naive and need to get a bit more robust but give this side 6 months some pacey wingers and we are gonna be flying.

    Exciting times to be a Forest fan and as you say we are playing the Forest way and the ethos is spot on long may it continue.

    U reds

  3. Overtly physical you prat did you even watch the game? One of the forest players should have been sent off for being OVERTLY PHYSICAL!

  4. Bit too much of the “hoof the ball up field and hope it finds a Red” though. I hope SO’D stops that because about 70% of the time the ball was picked up by the opposition.
    McCugan’s goal was a gem and promises much for the future.
    Those ‘mass attacks’ from Bolton could have seen a lesser defence crumble and altho’ we were a bit ragged at the back sometimes, it was an encouraging performance.
    Onwards and upwards 🙂

    P.S. to “Alex” – there’s no such tream as Notts Forest.

  5. Only caught the first 30 minutes. Forest were purring. To finish the game with 55% possession tells a story.

    In some ways I wish we werent playing Wigan, as straight through to a good result against charlton would really build momentum. Hoping for a good performance and maybe sneak a result. For all their prem money Wigan are a much smaller club than us, and an example of what can be done.

  6. These Bolton fans on here are about as biased as their manager. No doubt none of them saw Davies’ push and the fact that he and another player in white was in an offside position when Eagles followed it up. I get the impression everyone connected with Bolton think they’ve got a god given right to win matches and are better than everyone else in the league. Never seen a team moan so much. Your pre-madonnas are in the Championship for a reason, and are no longer Premier league superstars. We hammered you for 35 minutes.

    A point a piece is a fair result. Do us a favour aswell go on Google or summat and look for a team called Notts Forest and you’ll find there ain’t one.

  7. why do opposing supporters come onto others Blogs??
    Bolton get used to the championship you will be in it for a long time-Coyle will be sacked before Christmas-ideal replacement Steve Mclaren, you will do well with him

  8. Yes we were purring for the first 30 minutes and Reid, Pep and Lewis were running the show. For the life of me I can’t see what Bolton did for us to go off the boil. Maybe we just stopped playing?

    Shame about the equalizer, as the dummy run by the Bolton player on the left took two defenders instead of one meaning there was loads of time for a decent cross. As for Davies, hes been watching Shearer DVD’s as the push prior to the jump was his trademark move. Yes it was a free kick and yes Davies was offside but we’ve got to live with it I guess.

    The second goal was a gift and Halford wont be making that mistake again.

    I was impressed by Cox and his willingness to run the channels is just what we need up front. It certainly opens the centre up and if we can get any of the midfielders to run into the space created, we are bound to get more goals.

    Coyle’s reaction was tres amusant and had pangs of teddy throwing!! He certainly wasn’t watching the same game I was for sure.

    All in all a good point and furthermore good progress made in building a decent team.

  9. I must agree with the Bolton fans, Coyle’s tactics won’t get them the return to the Prem that they desire. For all their huffing and puffing, they couldn’t blow the Forest down.There were some encouraging signs from the Reds. Feel Cox could really profit from some of McGugan and Reid’s more incisive play. Collins looked impressive marshalling the defence and Gillett battled well in midfield. O’Driscoll was definitely the more relaxed manager on the touchline too! It is nice to feel proud of the Reds again.

  10. NOTTINGHAM Forest hammered the trottters for the first 35 mins – I felt embarrassed for the former premier league team. Forest should have had 3 goals at least!
    Forest lost their impetus after the Bolton “goal” which should have been disallowed for 2 separate offences. Up to that time, possession was 60-40 to Forest with 7 goal attempts to the opposition’s big fat zero.
    Forest fought back well through Reidy’s peach of a goal and the result was fair overall, as Bolton did have several good chances at the start of the second half. Their hoof-ball and direct, cynical(ish) approach was anathema though!

    You Reds!!!

    • Thanks for an excellent report,as usual. I ‘m glad it was pointed out that notts forest doesn’t exist. I’m really hopeful npw about this season,after the first performmances.
      Thankyou so much for putting the highlights here. I pay for the player highlights on our website,but I can never watch them properly as my computor is too slow here in Venezuela and You cannot download to real player from the official site !Well done !!!!

  11. Seen all four games and that was our worst performance. Felt we lost our way for long periods. The ref was awful and probably both teams could have seen a red card. But how can you really comment when the referee was that bad. Davies deserved a booking for his reaction to the linesman giving the foul alone and he continually fouled all game.
    How the hell Camp didn’t get booked for time wasting I do not know-sums up ref!he kept warning him.then didn’t even add that much time on!
    But this is the most entertaining we have been in years not the greatest bunch of individuals. BUT WHAT A FANTASTIC TEAM! Nottm Forest = Total Football.

  12. Excellent photo nffc, clearly shows the extent of the push as highlighted to everyone in the ground on the big screen, which also demonstrated Davies being seemingly offside when the shot went in.

    After a superb performance for 30 mins, conceding the goal clearly knocked some stuffing out of us and were perhaps fortunate to go into the break level. When their second went in I feared the worst, but we slowly battled our way into it and finished the stronger. Overall, a great result from a match I expected us to get little out of beforehand.

    Some other observations from the game:

    1. Cox looks like a really decent signing and the kind of player that works hard, will cause defences problems and create a distraction and some space for others (McGugan. Reidy, Dex) to reap reward.
    2. Much of Bolton’s threat came down our right flank and with often two players bearing down on Moloney, it was a tough ask for him. I thought we may have seen some changes to rectify this at HT, but when Hutchinson did eventually come on he looked a real class act.
    3. Harding looked somewhat exposed, especially for pace – although this was, in theory, against one of the strongest teams, we will face.

    Finally, I came to the conclusion that Matt Mills must have an incredibly good agent. Having seen him play in various club colours after numerous big money moves, I still think he is absolute shite.
    John Ryan did us a real favour by scuppering our alleged attempts to sign him from Donny a few seasons ago!

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