Cockneys vs. Zombies..

Nottingham Forest – 1
Millwall – 4

Oof.  A poor showing from Forest yesterday afternoon saw us succumb all too readily to an effective gameplan from Millwall who, despite certainly not having the Lion’s (arf) share of possession, were a lot more decisive in using it to devastating effect when they did have the ball.  Forest again struggled to break down a physical side – this time one with craft going forward.

Henderson and Wood caused constant problems when the Lions were on the attack, and with in-form Trotter and substitute Andy Keogh also amongst the goals it’s not hard to see why Millwall are on such a good run of form.  Even though I said pre-match they’re not a side to be underestimated, I certainly think I might have done that!

Sean O’Driscoll made the expected change of bringing in Ward for the suspended Halford, and sticking with the narrow 4-1-3-2 type formation we’ve been using lately…

Moloney    Ward    Collins    Harding
Cohen    Majewski    Reid
Sharp    Cox

It was a shit start too – a booking for Harding, a freekick badly cleared fell to Trotter who got past Gillett and fired a neat finish inside Lee Camp’s far post to give the visitors the lead.  Annoying!  Forest stung into action had an effort from Majewski in to the side netting, before he was left prone on the deck after a Millwall player challenged him clutching at his ankle.

Whilst you can’t really use it as an excuse for the poor performances all over the pitch this was a big blow.  I think Raddy has been a pretty pivotal part in our upturn in performances lately – he’s capable of that little bit of trickery or craft that might have helped us have more joy in unlocking a determined Millwall defensive line.  Alas, t’was not to be and Guedioura came on to replace him.

The Lions continued to fashion chances – Camp saved from Taylor but spilled the shot into the path of Henderson so was forced into action again to deny the big striker.  Forest did start to wake up though, and produced probably their only moment of real quality to equalise.

Reid got the ball to Sharp on the edge of the area, he made a move inside and laid the ball off to Simon Cox whilst carrying on his run into the box.  Cox picked out the perfect through ball putting Sharp clear to slot the ball neatly past David Forde in the Millwall goal.  A lovely goal, and another quid into the Goals for LJS fund.

Sharp was looking lively after this – Forest finished the half strongly, a dangerous cross from Harding looked to be arriving at the striker to get his second but for an impressive defensive header clearance by Beevers resulted in us just getting a corner.

A penalty shout was waved away after Sharp nudged the ball beyond Forde and appeared to be clipped.  I’ve seen ’em given but frankly it looked to me like he’d put too much on the ball anyway, and went down a little too easily.  Plus y’know, it’s us isn’t it?  We don’t get penalties!  At the other end Henderson was close to restoring their lead, and the final chance fell to Guedioura whose dipping powerful drive was just over.

At half time I must admit I thought I’d see a much improved Forest come out, but well – it certainly wasn’t!  For a player as dangerous as Darius Henderson to be unmarked from a set piece is ridiculous.  James Henry put in the freekick and the big striker was able to head it past Camp with far too little challenge.

Sean took off Reidy for Blackstock to try to drive our attack some more, and whilst Forest did press Millwall back we struggled to fashion any chances.  A clearance looked to be going out for a throw but James Henry had other ideas, getting to it and breaking towards goal with Ward caught between him and Wood.  I thought Ward did really well considering, only for Wood’s fairly tame shot to deflect off Collins (I think) to wrong-foot Camp and give Millwall a third.

Forest lost all shape after this by withdrawing Gillett for McGugan – we were rather gung-ho but without any penetration and increasing use of long-balls weren’t really cutting the mustard against Millwall’s giant centre halves.  The crowning turd of the afternoon came late on when Taylor crossed from the left for substitute Andy Keogh to convert.

We definitely deserved to lose because we didn’t create enough – I’ve seen arguments pointing out the penalty claim, but I’m not sure it was one.  Others pointed out that Henderson appeared to elbow Danny Collins before he scored, but the referee clearly didn’t see it (I didn’t either, I was following the ball which Collins had just headed out) – but well, we should have been doing more ourselves, and we didn’t.

Fortunately for us we’ve an opportunity to get straight back on track, less fortunate is that our next visitors are in-form Middlesbrough next Tuesday.  I’m assuming ‘dangerman’ Ishmael Miller won’t be playing (or maybe as a condition of loan we stipulated he had to play against us.

As for yesterday, one to forget for sure – although the Millwall fans chants of ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’ were somewhat bemusing!  Credit to their team though, I thought their movement going forward was extremely dangerous and their forwards were deadly with their conversion of their chances – so sometimes you just have to give credit where it’s due and accept defeat.

I saw a post on LTLF that likened the game to Cockneys vs Zombies – whilst I realise that the South Londoners would baulk at being described as cockneys it’s not a bad analogy for how the game seemed, with Forest very slugglish and lacking in their usual organisation and drive.  So that’s the source of the headline..