Monday, 3 February 2014

Nottingham Forest 2/2/14

After Derby in midweek, who just had too much class for us, I travelled back up the M1 on Sunday for the Forest game. Forest hadn't lost in 12 games, so my confidence wasn't exactly running high. We'd sold Ed Upson in the week, and signed only one player in the transfer window - a Man United youth player. Ish Miller wasn't allowed to play, as part of his loan agreement with Forest, so all in all it wasn't looking like it was going to be a promising afternoon.

We arrived at about 1 o'clock and headed to The Trent Navigation pub. It's the other side of the water to the City Ground, and so was a little quieter than the closer pubs. We'd been there before and it had a great atmosphere so felt a return was in order. We sat outside with our drinks - thankfully there was a patio heater - and were soon joined by some Forest fans - lovely chaps who were full of nothing but pessimism regarding the possible result later that afternoon. We headed round to the ground and were in by about 2 o'clock, greeted by signs saying "unreserved seating". 'Hooray, we can sit where we want' we thought, but no. We had been given the tiniest part of the stand, with the back two rows blocked off, so trying to get all the mainstay standers together was difficult. We managed to get a spot right at the back, and were allowed to stand the whole game, in spite of there being a steward immediately to our left.

The City Ground is impressive, and full of wonderful memories as I'm sure every Yeovil fan knows. We were sat just to the left of where we were on that fateful night. Could we recreate that atmosphere and incredible result?

The answer to that is a firm no. But the final scoreline of 3-1 to Forest does not in any way reflect the game. For the first 10-15 minutes, it was all Forest. We could barely get hold of the ball and the marking was none existent. They then scored, after around 15 minutes, as Stech came out to collect and their forward just slotted through his legs. I think Byron Webster probably got the last touch, but it was going in anyway. We felt like we were in for an afternoon of more punishment, but the goal seemed to spur us on however, and the next 20 minutes were all Yeovil. We were playing some lovely football at times, with Hayter and Moore working well again and a couple of shots from Ralls and Hayter just wide and at the keeper respectively. On 25 minutes, big Kieffer rose like the cliched salmon above everyone else (unusually for him, normally he gets shorter when he jumps) and headed home to make it 1-1. Game on then, and we were looking lively. Both sides had their fair share of possession but I'd say overall, the first half was pretty even, if not slightly tipped towards Yeovil. That was until on 38 minutes, when Forest scored again, a rare blunder from Stech who should have dealt with the first shot better, only parried into the path Cox who made it 2-1. The goal was massively against the run of play of the previous 5 or 10 minutes and there was no way we deserved to be behind going into half time.

After the break, we looked defensively poor but bright going forwards. Ditto for Forest in some respects, with several shots for them early on in the second half, one hitting the post and the other well saved by Stech at the post. But when we ran at them, on the deck, they looked panicked. Which is of course why we took Hayter off, and put Byron Webster up front to play long ball. Hmmm. The new lad Lawrence, who'd been brought on just before half time, seemed lively and well up for it, and very eager to impress. He closed everything down and didn't give up on anything, chasing down passes he thought he could intercept. He seemed a little naive though, as a kid is likely to be in his first Championship game. Lundstram was the opposite - he didn't seem to want to run for anything, particularly in the second half, and consistently gave the ball away. Not long before full time we had a free kick on the edge of the area that, for some reason, Lawrence took and absolutely skied over the bar. That was the chance -  that was the draw right there. But into injury time and Forest made it 3-1 in a goal mouth scramble to make the result look like a comfortable one.

A word about McAllister - he is absolutely past it. Every tackle is either late, or he goes down in a heap injured. He's at least a yard off the pace, and undisciplined. And this is our captain!! There is no way he should still be getting picked, I would rather have Lanzoni play out of position at the back than McAllister. At least Lanzoni does the simple things, and doesn't constantly pass back to the opposition. Webster should be the captain, without a doubt.

My man of the match was Luke Ayling who dealt well with their wingers forward runs and attacked at every opportunity. He never gives up and you'll always get 110% from Luke.

The next match is Leeds at home, and we don't have an away game now until March the 2nd - at Reading -which seems a lifetime away. Until then, then...