Ipswich Town vs. Forest preview..

Having had a tricky start to November the Reds have been on a decent run of late, and travel to struggling Ipswich to reacquaint themselves with last year’s skipper Luke Chambers.  Since Mick McCarthy took over from the hapless Paul Jewell there has been a degree of improvement – but there’s been some pretty shambolic results nonetheless.

In their last six they’ve lost three, won two and drawn one – they’ve let in sixteen goals in those games, admittedly eleven of those came in just two rather disastrous defeats on the road against Palace and Leicester City.  At home they shipped three to the Owls, narrowly beat Burnley 2-1 whilst only mustering a 1-1 draw against struggling Peterborough at the weekend.

If you weren’t the kind of uber-paranoid person I am then you’d feel quite confident – the Reds on decent form, heading to a team low on confidence – but well, I am uber-paranoid.  The kind of form Ipswich have been on is likely to improve – they have a decent squad and a decent manager at this level.  So it wouldn’t do to be over-confident.

Which is something not many would accuse Sean O’Driscoll of, anyway – he’ll have a cunning plan I’m sure.  With Cox out our only real option up front now is Blackstock – I’m sure he’ll relish the opportunity to go head to head with former Reds skipper Luke Chambers, who left for greener grass that so far this season has looked a little parched and dead.

Elsewhere in our squad we missed Halford, Reidy and Jenas through injury in our last trip to Wolverhampton – so they’ll be assessed for their fitness to see whether they can feature in Suffolk tomorrow evening.  Our hosts are likely to be without Nigel Reo-Coker who injured himself in the weekend game against the Posh at Portman Road.

A win would be a third on the bounce for us – something we’ve not managed for a year and a half years, so would represent a decent achievement.  Of course, it could also be a result that could push us into the play-offs should other games finish favourably in that regard.  However, so far all I’ve got is a basket full of eggs and no chickens!

The thing to watch out for is that man DJ Campbell.  Remember him?  He’s on loan (along with about nine others) at the Tractor Boys and well, we all have our own bad memories of him don’t we?  Forest should approach this game with confidence and I’m sure they will – but I do think that Mick McCarthy will start to turn things around there.

Hopefully on a selfish note he’s not quite had enough time yet…

Guedioura strike snags rare Molineux win for Reds..

Guedioura is a match-winner at his old club..

Wolverhampton Wanderers – 1
Nottingham Forest – 2

Yeah, we never win at Molineux, even if they’re on rubbish form!  It turns out that particular hoodoo is long gone after an open and entertaining game in the Black Country.  Whilst the romantic matchwinner by former Wolves midfielder grabs the headlines, Henri Lansbury’s pass and Billy Sharp’s finish were just as lovely.

There were other opportunities too – and not a few scary moments at the back.  New boy Alan Hutton had somewhat of a baptism of fire, with little cover from midfield to help him deal with Sako on the home side’s right hand side.  However, I don’t think it’s unfair to say the Reds had the better opportunities and a narrow win didn’t flatter them on the day.

As noted, Hutton came straight into the side, Harding returned to the starting eleven after his injury whilst Lansbury came in for Reid, and Cox came in for Blackstock, giving us a line-up that looked something like this:

Camp
Hutton    Ward    Collins    Harding
Gillett
Lansbury    Guedioura    Cohen
Cox    Sharp

So, match report is delayed – it’s been a busy weekend, so my apologies – there’s been a fair amount of booze consumed between the match and now too – so I’ll do my best to do it justice!

An open start to the game looked to be heading for disaster for the Reds.  Pennant played a ball into the area after just six minutes, a ricochet from a lunging Gillett propelled the ball neatly to Sigurdarson who was in far too much space in the area – he got the ball under control and put a comfortable finish past Camp from inside the box.

Forest were understandably rattled for a while but regained their composure quite well – Cox and Sharp looked lively up front and Forest seemed to be overtly targeting a dinked ball into the channels over the generally quite high Wolves back line.

That doesn’t quite do justice to the pass Henri Lansbury dug out to find sharp advancing behind the Wolves defence though, he took a couple of touches and before the defender could get to him he’d slotted the ball into the net past the ‘keeper from inside the D to give Forest an equaliser much to our delight!

We had other chances too – Sharp tried to tee up Cox, Cox tried to tee up Sharp, Cox put another effort just wide after cutting in from the left hand side – whilst Lansbury spurned a chance to hit the target from range.  Wolves were causing us problems too – generally Sako was the source of their danger, but he wasn’t too proficient at hitting the target fortunately for us.

He did find the target and brought a good save to keep the winger’s cross out, however it did fall for Edwards who looked odds on to score but for an excellent last gap block by Danny Collins in the area.  Sigurdarson had a decent effort too that Camp saved with his legs, whilst another hit from range by Lansbury almost caused problems after a crazy deflection but was dealt with in the end.

Forest altered their shape a little in the second half to give Hutton more cover – with Cox looking more like a right-winger-cum-striker.  The Reds started the half brightly – Cohen and Sharp combined to give Cox a sight of goal but he wasn’t able to direct his shot away from Ikeme.  It was a brief reprieve for the Wolves ‘keeper though.

Just shy of the hour Cohen played the ball inside to the Algerian midfielder who took a couple of touches whilst advancing toward the area – never really looking like he had the ball under control – before unleashing a peach of a shot low just inside the post, with too much pace for Ikeme to be able to stand a chance of reaching.

Perhaps the quality of the strike combined with the overly muted celebration from Adlene against his former club even drew some applause from the home supporters which is quite sporting considering they’d just gone behind (and have been on a spectacularly poor run of results of late).

The only real other moment of note was a sour one for us – Simon Cox hit the deck after fairly inconsequential-looking contact from Foley, it looks like a stud caught in the turf – we’re now awaiting news from scans to understand the extent of his injury.  Apparently the only striker we can recall from loans to other clubs is Matt Derbyshire, so we might as well not bother really.  Hopefully Coxy isn’t too badly injury.

Blackstock replaced the fallen man, and it’s fair to say Forest didn’t quite play so openly as before as they sought to keep their lead .  Sako caused a last gap threat with a dangerous cross that nobody was able to convert, late introductions of Moussi and Moloney helped us run down the clock to register a deserved win at what has been a very tricky hunting ground for us.

Very pleased with the win, whilst the injury to Cox is of course frustrating for us (and him, I’m sure).  A trip to Ipswich next is both tempting and daunting because surely they can’t be as bad as they have been indefinitely.  We can but hope.  Because I’m running so late I’m about to go straight into writing a match preview after this post… tsk!