Dex gets Forest out of jail..

Dur Dur Dur Dur! Dexter Blackstock!

Crystal Palace – 1
Nottingham Forest – 1

As 1,800 or so hardy trickies make their way from Selhurst Park I feel a bit guilty sat in my warm living room cobbling together what I remember from Colin Fray’s commentary as well as pinching bits from the official website match report. Certainly the travelling reds weren’t treated to a feast of football from the Reds in probably our least effective performance of the season.

With any luck a late equaliser from substitute Dexter Blackstock after we’d been reduced to ten men in the second half might just have warmed their collective cockles enough for the long journey home. Because let’s face it, even if you live in bloody London it’s a long journey home from an away game against Crystal Palace!

Sean opted to start out with the 3-5-2 / 5-3-2 hybrid formation that seemed to help us get back into the game against Birmingham City at the weekend, giving us a starting line-up that looked a bit like this:

Halford Ayala Collins
Hutchinson Harding
McGugan Gillett Reid
Sharp Cox

Palace, on the back of a local derby win over Charlton, started the brighter – after only nine minutes Wilfried Zaha was able to find plenty of room to cross from the right, finding Glenn Murray who saw his header end up striking the post. Lee Camp was required to deny the home side goals, too – Williams robbed Hutchinson of possession and brought a save from the Forest ‘keeper.

The home side continued to press, eventual goalscorer Dikgacoi struck a rasping shot just over from the edge of the area. Lee Camp was on hand twice more before the half time whistle – Jedinak had a pop from range, and after Ayala had lost possession on the edge of the area the Forest ‘keeper was alert enough to deny Murray to spare the Spanish defenders’ blushes.

To start the tale of two substitutes, an injury to Hutchinson meant that Guedioura was introduced from the bench with around five minutes remaining. The Reds had weathered the home storm for the first 45 minutes and offered little going forward themselves. Clearly an opportunity for SO’D to get the lads firing, I imagine Dougie Freedman would’ve loved an extra five or ten minutes of first half.

As it transpired, the momentum carried on with the home side into the second half – just five minutes gone and Dikgacoi met a corner from Williams and put a looping header beyond Lee Camp to give Palace a lead their possession and chances undoubtedly deserved. Forest started to awaken, McGugan created some space for himself on the edge of the area but his shot was charged down.

Guedioura picked up a booking for a foul after 55 minutes, then was foolish enough to kick out at Jedinak after the referee had given a dubious freekick against Reid. A silly action giving the referee no choice – the Algerian midfielder has already apologised to his teammates and fans alike via the medium of Twitter. Hopefully this gives him a bit of thinking time, because he’s come close to losing his head a few times already this season.

Sean O’Driscoll introduced Dexter on 73 minutes at the expense of Sharp – who hadn’t really enjoyed much service, and on 79 minutes replaced Lewis McGugan with Majewski. It seemed that the manager’s bench-based alchemy was to bear fruit again – Simon Cox turned well on the edge of the area and got the ball to Blackstock who beat Speroni with a cool finish.

Dex gets the headlines, but Coxy carries on his record of either scoring or assisting in every game he’s played for us – long may THAT stat continue!

We could’ve nicked a ridiculously undeserved win, too – Halford took a long throw into the six yard box which was met by the head of Blackstock, and saved brilliantly by Speroni. At the other end Camp made a brilliant save from a point-blank header from Peter Ramage, leaving both sides to be content with a draw – I imagine we will feel rather happier with the point than Palace will!

So Sean said we got out of jail, it’s hard to argue with it – and whilst it’s a bit concerning that we put in such a lacklustre shift for most of the game, it’s rather heartening to see another demonstration of resilience from the Reds who are able to continue to boast an unbeaten league record – somehow! Under the circumstances it’s a cracking point for us, dropping to ten men when already a goal down.

Leeds away up next – they lost 3-2 at home to Hull City tonight, so they’ll be pissed off anyway without even mentioning what happened when Forest went to Elland Road last season – but we don’t want to mention that, do we?

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10 Responses

  1. Pretty fair effort for a blind report!

    The harder we work, the luckier we get.

    And you are right about going to Palace. Miserable. Even when I lived in norf Lahndan it was a two-hour journey each way by rail.

  2. was at the game and we rode our luck, but great credit for the effort.
    service to Sharp and Cox was almost non existent. They will get goals as the season goes on. well done Dexter great strikers goal and nearly another with a great header.
    Forest under pressure in last few minutes and a couple of excellent saves by Camp who deserves great credit.
    The sending off was silly but Pep still has a lot of credits for me for his excellent performances last season.
    As I said the effort was excellent difficult to highlight individuals but Reid was excellent (he gave Mcgugan a real rollocking in the second half for not passing) Harding stuck to his task and in the end had their winger under control, Cox work rate first class and Halford also did very well. Gillett also never stopped.

  3. Quick work. But then the game was not much to write home about. When you equalize late on with 10 men, it feels good but we were pretty poor on the whole. Didn’t seem to work tonight – didn’t create much and looked very nervous at set-pieces. And although 1800 fans on a Tuesday night at the Palace is an excellent effort, we barely made a sound until Dexter scored (a goal that I don’t think anyone saw coming). Still, if this was our worst performance of the season, at least we came out of it with a point.

    And Zaha was brilliant. If this isn’t his last season in a Palace shirt, then my name’s Jan Einar Aas.

  4. the biggest concern had to be the amount of times we gave the ball away when not really under too much pressure. Gillet mis hit at least 8 passes in the game and Reid also a few. Not to mention a few times Collins or other defnders were caught in posession. I alsways go to Place and see the Reds, this was the poorest and most disppointing perfomance there of the last 4 years 😦

  5. Have to agree very cooling finish by Dex. Goes to show If you have quality up front as Cox is demonstrating, a goal is never far away.

    A little disconcerting though that all reports suggest we continuously gave away the ball. You can’t get away with that at any level. Still Forest battle on & earn a point albeit against the run of play. On to Elland rd. so hopefully we can hold together for stern test as they seem to be scoring regularly…..
    Does anyone know the extent of Hutchinson’s injury??

  6. I wonder if McCleary is available for a one week loan?!

  7. Certainly a case of 2 forward 3 back last night. It does concern me that since Pep returned he hasn’t shown the form that won him so many fans last season; hope he’s not putting himself under too much pressure to live up to that.
    But well done Dex, we live to fight another day 🙂

  8. Not a great game and lucky to salvage the point. Palace were very sharp and quick on the ball, Zaha is a class act.

    Thought camps dist was woeful, Lewis anon throughout the game – we were pretty much second best even with eleven.

    Def change for forest when dex and radi were introduced, lot sharper.

    Good turnout by the forest fans but very subdued throughout. What’s the drummer all about in the far corner and the jumping up and down by the fans – you’re Palace for fks sake! And the flags, our table cloth at home is bigger than that!

  9. You’ve got to be happy to play badly and still avoid defeat. I wasn’t there but it sounds like our change in formation didn’t work.

    I wonder when Lansbury is going to make an appearance and if Cohen will force his way back into the squad – or perhaps be loaned out?

  10. Respect to the travelling 1800. Its a shitty place to travel to (I know I used to work at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre) and on a Tuesday night too. A big up to them.

    Not our finest display by all accounts but sounds like we stuck at it and we all know you are always in with a shout at only 1-0 down. The amount of times we’ve seen the Trickies batter opposition only to come away with a point. Maybe we were due some retribution?

    I hope Lansbury is somewhere near fit for Leeds. We need the width on the right of midfield. If not, Coppinger will do nicely!

    I’m encouraged that SO’D doesn’t hesitate to change things if they aren’t working out. His 3-5-2 bit the dust early when it looked like we were going to be over run.

    Anyway a point at Selhurst Park is never a bad result, irrespective of how well we did or didn’t play. I’ll take that any time.

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