Reds knock Cardiff off top spot..

Sharp-shooter – Billy holds his LJS Foundation wristband aloft having opened his Forest account

Nottingham Forest – 3
Cardiff City – 1

Well, so much for my doom and glooming in the match preview – Forest comfortably cruised past the league leaders with a solid win marred only by Adlene Guedioura picking up a second yellow in the second half, really.  A very encouraging performance by the Reds against the, erm Reds.

Malky Mackay’s side didn’t really live up to their billing at all, lining up with a lone striker and attempting to fill the midfield much like we’ve seen from other teams in recent home games.  This time we seemed to be able to find a way through this kind of tactic.  The visiting fans too much quieter than we’ve become accustomed to when Cardiff visit.

Sean opted to drop McGugan and replace him with Guedioura who of course was just back from suspension.  Lewis dropped to the bench, where there was no place for Jermaine Jenas who hasn’t had sufficient training time having come back from a back injury.

Camp
Halford    Ayala    Collins    Harding
Gillett
Guedioura    Cohen    Reid
Sharp   Cox

The first opportunity of the game fell to the visitors, a decent cross from Conway was met by Cowie but he didn’t get his header on target.  It was a mostly lacklustre start to the game, with nothing really clear-cut for either side until Cox was felled on the edge of the area.  Reidy stepped up and clipped a deliciously placed free-kick against the underside of the bar and in.

We were still celebrating it seemed when a cross came in from the right from Halford and was met by the leap of Daniel Ayala, who was still in the area from one of Greg Halford’s long throws which hadn’t been particularly well cleared.  So within the space of a couple of minutes we’d gone from a fairly lacklustre game to two nil up against the league leaders.

The first half nearly ended with a flourish for the Reds too, Billy Sharp was agonisingly close to breaking his Forest duck with a header from a Chris Cohen freekick, but the effort was deflected for a corner.  Half time arrived, and we were two goals to the good with a very confident performance, which was of course very pleasing indeed!

If Billy Sharp was letting his ongoing goal drought eat away at him, it didn’t show.  The first act of business though was the withdrawal of Cox (arf) for Majewski, I’m presuming because the striker had picked up yet another booking rather than for any other reason.  A minute after that Sharp played a lovely one-two with the substitute and burst into the box, scoring from a tight angle to open his Reds account.

So, those of you participating in the Goals for the LJS Foundation initiative set up by a Forest fan, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is!  Hopefully this is the first of many opportunities to donate (indeed, there’s nowt wrong with donating full stop – it’s a great cause!)

Cardiff did start to wake up somewhat, an excellent cross from Noone should have given Tommy Smith a goal but he conspired to put his header wide of the target.  Camp was having a good game in the Reds goal, claiming crosses and making saves when needed – however, there was little he could do with the ball looped in to Helguson who, under challenge from Collins, did well to flick the ball goalward with the outside of his foot to give the visitors a lifeline.

This certainly energised them, and saw perhaps their best spell of the game – Smith was unlucky with low effort that struck the post – in the aftermath of this Noone had two bites of the cherry, the first blocked by Ayala’s face, the second saved well by Camp.  At the other end Cohen had a decent effort which was stopped on the line by Hudson.

The cloud for the silver-lining of the afternoon came when Guedioura was booked for a late challenge, probably the right decision, but galling considering his first booking was for a dive when he was pretty clearly shoved by a Cardiff player.  That said, he shouldn’t have made such a challenge when already on a yellow card.  An inconsistent performance from the referee – there’s a change, eh?

Cardiff definitely finished the stronger now with a man advantage, but rarely managed to dominate us – that said, the remaining chances of note were certainly created by the visitors, Camp had good saves to make from Noone and Gestede – the Reds keeper certainly on top of his game again and looking confident again, which is great to see.

Full time and a deserved win against a good side – no Forest player stood out head and shoulders above the others in terms of man of the match, Reid got the sponsors award, and he had a fine game, but I’d probably choose one of Camp, Collins, Ayala, Halford or Gillet.  Harding too had an excellent game after a tricky start as a Forest player, but the bottom line is it was an excellent team performance where everybody contributed solidly to make a decent Cardiff side look very ordinary.

Whilst I do think we seem to be picking up more cards than we should – this game saw Cardiff commit more fouls than us, yet us get more cards, which is odd, there is something for the Reds to work on.  Whilst Halford was fouled (not given) just before he petulantly booted the ball into the stand, he still petulantly booted the ball into the stand – it was unnecessary, and Cox has clearly made a bit of a reputation for himself for needling referees.

One thing I’d like to see the manager working on would be discipline from the players like we used to have in Clough’s time here – there’s no benefit in haranguing an official, indeed, as John McGovern recounted the other week in The Approach, Clough used to say that the referee would probably make fewer mistakes in 90 minutes than any player, so why should the player rebuke the official?  The fans will give the referee sufficient feedback, after all.

A very good afternoon’s entertainment, a cracking performance – well done to Sean and the boys.  The goals are below for those of you who haven’t seen them yet (whilst they last!)

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11 Responses

  1. I wonder if lee Camp’s form is down to Mcgoldrick joining Coventry city on loan? He seems much happier now Mcgoldrick is gone.
    Cohen and Reid look brilliant at the minute, Cohen has done great since coming back from injury and now seems like a good time for us to play Blackpool.
    We have hit some form while they have lost their early season form.
    Great win and well done Billy Sharp first goal of many i hope 🙂

  2. Good to have the blog back in action! And a fantastic result yesterday! Even with Lewis oddly dropped. ps Unrelated qu: can anyone recommend a good curry house in Nottm? Pref on the Mansfield Road side of city centre. Chrs!

  3. Yes a great win and Radi’s little wall pass to Sharp for the 3rd goal was sublime.

    O’Driscoll, as per usual, made use of his substitutions well and I think we finished the stronger team,

    It was very odd atmosphere sat up in the UBE (very empty behind the goal it has to be said) At 3-0 up and there was still a feeling of uncertainty. No one in the group I was sat with was feeling the slightest bit contented and certain we would win that game. Very odd indeed.

  4. You can watch the whole 1st half here:

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xuhwzy_1st-half_sport?start=4

    Look at the ‘more videos’ below for the 2nd half, highlights and interviews 🙂

  5. What a great result just what we needed aftre the break hope the momentum continues on to Blackpool and Barnsley. If they can put a couple of results like this together then top six is the target. Radi and Sharp seem to have struck an understanding and as a creative midfielder I think Radi is more consistent than Lewis although he can’t hit a free kick like Google. Ayala and Collins were great and Cohen was just back to normal service. The last time I watched Cardiff at CG they were very noisy so maybe there fans knew what was coming.
    Your report was as usual excellent keep up the good work.

    Onwards to Blackpool now lets see if we can’t get a result against what are starting to in recent years become our newest version of Walsall.

    COYR

    • There seems to be a little bit of mystique built up around Lewis McGugan and his free kicks. That wonder goal v Ipswich seems to have glossed over the fact that he is a very inconsistent free kick taker. He often does not seek able to beat the wall. Most recently v Derby he hit a couple of free kicks into the wall that were better placed for Reidy to hit, imo. Sean O’Driscoll said he didnt want Forest to become too predictable in their attacking play, mainly referring to Halford’s long throws. I think set pieces is an area where the Reds need to shake it up. Reid showed on Saturday that he can be inventive with free kicks and will vary what he tries and not just turn into a “one trick pony”. McGugan can be an important player for the Reds but mustn’t be allowed to have things all his own way.

  6. The division is as tight as a gnat’s chuff and we are only 5 points off the leaders. A long way to go of course but it’d be a great time to put a run of good results together.

    Ian Hall – Try the Noor Jahan, 41 Mansfield Rd. Good food and not expensive.

  7. I agree with your first comment on the report nffc no need for this Forest side to have any fear of any team in this league .

    Good win great to see billy get a goal many more to come I believe a few things are starting to click we look more solid.

    I gree the discipline needs to improve AG needs to get a grip he’s lost it a bit I think hope he’s not a loose canon.

    Onwards and upwards u reds

  8. […] Seasons Before Us felt that Cardiff ‘didn’t really live up to their billing’ but nonetheless praised a ‘very encouraging performance’ and a ‘good afternoon’s […]

  9. Aylesbury Red – cheers for the curry house recommendation. If we give it a go, I’ll report back. Cheers, Ian

  10. About discipline… it clearly needs to be sorted out, our record is terrible and it only takes a few injuries to make the bookings stand out even more as costly decisions.

    That said – the harassing of referees, whilst it isn’t ideal I do feel that what does work is if you have one particular player who is constantly talking to him as McKenna used to. I feel that whilst our discipline is poor it is generally less for dissent and we don’t often look like we’re reminding the ref of decisions that have gone against us and players who might be trying it on – classic example of someone who does this is Kevin Nolan, I know he’s far from any neutrals favourite BUT the ref is never given a chance to forget and thus ends up making decisions against the other team.

    Btw… anyone know what the status is of Lansbury’s injury? It seems like his injuries are never-ending 😦

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