Back to winning ways!

Reidy – architect of both Forest goals

Nottingham Forest – 2
Burnley – 0

I must admit that at half-time I was quietly resigning myself to a draw – whilst we saw a much improved performance from Forest, they were struggling to convert some nice passages of play into meaningful chances before the break, but some subtle changes in approach helped us to unlock Burnley and snag the win.

Much to the delight of the callers to Matchtalk, I’m sure, Sean opted for two up front – with Dexter returning to the starting eleven along with a surprise start for Lewis McGugan – and the excellent news that Majewski and Ayala were fit enough to take places on the bench, resulting in Forest lining up something like this:

Hutton    Ward    Collins    Harding
Lansbury    Gillett    McGugan    Reid
Blackstock    Sharp

In reality the midfield was inevitably narrow, as Gillett sat deep whilst Reid and McGugan roamed – with the full-backs clearly having the brief to get forward when the opportunity arose.  The tricky with this was when Burnley attacked our fullbacks, as ever, were exposed – Harding was usually on his own, whilst even when Lansbury was back to assist Hutton the Clarets would often have three attacking down there.

The first half I’d say we rode our luck a bit.  Dyche’s side had great movement in and around our box which pulled our defenders all over the place and created some real opportunities.  Their first chance came through a mistake, though – Ward totally mis-timed a header and the ball fell to Charlie Austin.

The 21-goal striker is probably the last person you’d want to end up clean through with the ball dropping to him – luckily for us he rushed his shot from the edge of the area putting it off target when there looked to be ample time to have controlled and got a bit closer to make sure of getting the ball past Lee Camp.   A definite let off early doors.

Paterson was the next to spurn an opportunity, putting his effort just wide after a cross from the right from Trippier.  Whilst Forest were, at times, passing the ball neatly we didn’t fashion much to bother Lee Grant.  A low freekick from McGugan was close but just wide having picked up a deflection, whilst Dex couldn’t get a header from Hutton’s cross on target.

The strikers were isolated from midfield somewhat, so it was often them heading out wide to get the ball – Sharp did this and was picked out by Reid for a pass, he crossed well towards Blackstock but he wasn’t able to get any real power on his header which was straight at the ‘keeper.

Burnley looked dangerous on the break – and a counter-attack culminating in a cracking throughball from Dean Marney put Chris McCann clear of the Reds offside trap but mercifully for us he was unable to convert.  Paterson was given aeons of time to pick out a shot that Camp saved as the half came to a close, he spilled the shot though but Harding was able to get it clear.

Whilst there was no obvious change post-half-time, the fullbacks were a little more disciplined and the ‘wingers’ were a little more likely to be found in wide positions, and whilst initially we weren’t exactly creating a plethora of chances we did at least appear to have nullified the very real threat that Burnley had been posing in the first half.

A Reid cross from the left found Blackstock, his header fell for McGugan in the area who elected for a volley comfortably over when perhaps there was time to control it and do something more productive.  I don’t suppose we’d be complaining if he’d leathered one into the top corner though, so maybe we shouldn’t be too critical when ambitious efforts don’t quite come off.

With the hour mark coming up Lansbury was withdrawn for Cohen, and he proved a lucky omen as moments later we were ahead.  Reidy – who many had been chuntering about (self-included) demonstrated his value, playing in a deep cross that found Blackstock in the area who looped his header perfectly into the ‘net beyond the despairing grasp of Lee Grant.

I must admit I was surprised to see it not disallowed as Dex was definitely climbing on the defender, and the referee had given every challenge as a foul against him for much of the game – but well, we’ll take that, thankyouverymuchindeed!  Certainly Sean ‘Stonecold Steve Austin’ Dyche wasn’t happy about it, and I can see why.

The goal got Burnley going again, and Camp made a decent save from Austin to maintain the Reds lead, the top marksman cutting inside having been fed the ball from Lafferty before unleashing a powerful strike.  Substitute Sam Vokes spurned a good chance by heading wide from close range shortly after being introduced.

O’Driscoll replaced Gillett with Moussi in the defensive midfield role, and the big fella was involved from the off with some decent touches and passes (whilst always maintaining that uniquely Moussi-like ability to not look in full control of his limbs!).  Guedioura replaced McGugan a few minutes later and immediately injected more urgency into proceedings with an eye-catching performance.

With the Burnley central-defence standing flat-footed in a line, Reid slotted through a lovely pass to find the arcing run of Billy Sharp – he got through one on one with Lee Grant and, just as the defender was catching him up, came up with a composed finish to double the Reds lead and effectively put the game to bed.

Sean definitely knows best – I’d have been tempted to take Reidy off before he assisted both the goals that enabled us to win the match!

A good result, and a very good second half performance in particular.  The first half wasn’t bad as such, but we were limited in the opportunities we created – it’s good to see that some minor adjustments gave us enough options to get a result against a decent side.  It’s true we rode our luck defensively in the first half, and I’d definitely say that 2-0 is flattering to us.

This was a 1-0 either way or draw type game on balance of play, I thought.  But, with players coming back from injury and illness, and hopefully some improved confidence from players and fans alike after a good result perhaps we can look forward to some more convincing displays.

Oh yeah, and if you hadn’t summarily dismissed the ridiculous rumours about impending financial meltdown anyway – then you should do so.  Apparently there was an issue with BACS payments to Forest staff, which of course was jumped upon with glee by desperate fans of a certain other club.  So yeah, nothing to see here.

11 Responses

  1. Yes a much needed win indeed. Not because of all this doom and gloom shite but because winning is a habit we need to start forming.

    I have to say the tension in the ground felt palpable to me and it seems to transmit itself onto the pitch. The players looked nervous and i think that reflected in their play.Certainly in the first half anyway.

    Great goal from Dex – with a ladder borrowed from BnQ I hasten to add!!! Still made up for some other shocking decisions – I mean Cohen’s booking was a joke! And when Sharp goes one on one, you can usually predict the outcome.

    Job done, not perfect but we move on.

  2. McGugan back in side… 3 points. “Not rocket”

  3. guedioura was much better and more effective than mcgugan when he came on, to the above poster. of course lewis deserves a chance, like all the players, but i don’t think on saturday he was some kind of lynchpin as you seem to be sugesting.

    and to the article writer, reid was man of the match! but also worth a mention was our defensive performance. harding got forward to good effect and put some good challenges in. one ball swung back post had him stationary, with two big burnley strikers (vokes and austin?) bearing down on him, and he managed to get the header away. also a real captain’s performance by collins, who got his head, leg, or whatever other part of his anatomy was available on the end of everything! ward and hutton were also solid.

    lots to be optimistic about after this performance. we have the personnel, it’s just choosing the right set-up. i think we should be less reactionary in our tactics and play our own game, give the other team something to think about, rather than responding to the opposition’s tactical nuances with shifts in our own set-up.

    not to single out, but i’ll also say that maybe gillett needs a break for a few games to take stock. he had a great first half of season, but in the last few ames his form has noticeably dipped. i think moussi (or maybe even a jenas or cohen could play there) might give us a bit more impetus playing the ball out from the back.

  4. Cide

    Reid was MOM last week……..for what? Billy MOM this week and although he put in a shift wasn’t MOM. Reidy did play better this week and his two passes, for the goals were magnificent.

    Mcgugan…….oh dear oh dear. Rumours are he’s off to some dull yaarrkshire team in January.

    Much better on Saturday.

    To the 1865 bloggers Rahoul and Rish, don’t let the bastards drive you away……your better than that!!!!


    • agreed….. i already miss that blog. it’s nice to have different forest point of forest reference in the blogosphere. it’s a loss to intelligent and thoughtful forest fans everywhere!

      oh, and – more tea, vicar?

  5. wasn’t at the game on Saturday so cant comment on Mcgugan performance, but Lewis has had a lot of opportunities in the past and hasn’t become an automatic choice

  6. Completely agree with the comment that Forest ‘should be less reactionary in our tactics and play our own game, give the other team something to think about, rather than responding to the opposition’s tactical nuances with shifts in our own set-up’. Completely correct! It’s embarrassing that SO’D is apparently currently making a big play of shifting tactics to combat the mighty Hull City, especially when the Hull game was a home match. No wonder the players often seem confused. Football is a simple game, ruined by tactical overload. Teamtalks at this level (below top flight) should be little more than ‘here’s the ball, it’s your friend – go and enjoy’. Cheers.

    • Not sure that’s true. The teams to go up and stay up all have a very strong tactical identity. It might not be the pass and moves of Swansea and WBA, maybe focussing around a couple of big lumps and slowly adapting, Norwich, or being a strong physical team who tend to play direct, Wet Hams. Unless you try and shortcut this and just spend your way up, but ultimately you have to be careful as it can engender a mercenary sense at the club, QPR.

      Maybe I’m wrong and this’ll pass, but i think it’s the right way to go to establish a strong, sustainable club.

  7. Not the prettiest, but a worthy win on saturday. See the llink below from a Burnley fan blog

    Strange how others view a game so differently?

    • Wow, he’s down on his team isn’t he? I think if that were a review of the second half then fair enough – but Burnley impressed me in the first half.

      He’s harsh on Sharp too, he bust his balls all game and had the composure to take his chance when it finally came.

  8. […] Through the Seasons Before Us noted that ‘subtle changes’ in tactics were what eventually unlocked Burnley. ‘Sean definitely knows best’ is the message from that site, a message that’s certainly […]

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