I thought I’d offer my perspective on Good Friday’s events at the City Ground.
It’s been a while since I’ve been to the City Ground to watch the mighty reds. A bit too long. Living in Brighton, I guess I have an excuse, but hey, the way Forest are going at the minute, I’ll get to see us at least once next season, when they visit the new Amex Stadium in Falmer.
On to Friday, pre-match, I’d managed to get to my B&B in just enough time to grab a ticket for myself and a shirt for my boy from the club shop & was pleasantly surprised to get a seat (stand) in A-Block, normally rammed & sold out. I grabbed a bottle of water & a pint and necked them both and took up my perch in the mental ward that is A-Block.
Highlight of the pre-match, Fray getting outsmarted by the 9 year old mascot.
Fray ” What do you think the score will be?”
Mascot ” 2-nil ”
Fray ” to.. ?
A surprise on the bench, American Robbie Findley (… is a red, is a red. U-S-A). Moussi’s gangly break-up play preferred to Majewski’s scampering energy.
First half, I thought we played ok, nothing sparkling, other than Tudgay’s finish to a good cross from the right. We were too narrow, offering little to no wide play, and Moussi’s legs appear to be able to stretch and stretch. We gave the ball away too many times and looked very short of ideas on more than one occasion. We gifted Leicester their first equaliser, a good save by Camp rebounding out & we didn’t clear anything like correctly and they scored from long range. The half petered out scrappily and there were a few boos from the home fans as the players trudged off.
Half Time Interval: watched the subs warming up, I was amazed how much ball-skill Raddy has, he was only happy with the ball at his feet, why wasn’t he playing? I needed a beer, but from experience, the bar would be packed & I couldn’t be arsed.
Second Half: We started brightly, creating a few chances down the middle for Earnie, who seemed to have come out for the 2nd half a different player yet it took us nearly half an hour into the 2nd half for us to take the lead for the 2nd time. Earnie capitalising on a rebound to tuck the ball into the corner for 2-1. Cheers turned into silence for us as Leicester went up our end, we conceded a free-kick and they went a scored a scrappy equaliser a minute later. Boyd came on for Tudgay and we started going long-ball, Findley made his debut for Earnie and looked sharp and fast. Things looked like ending 2-2 until McKenna’s bobbly daisy cutter bobbled under Weale’s armpit and in. A-Block went mental again and we seemed to have learned from our past two leads and actually concentrated. McGoldrick came on for the tired-looking McGugan and we looked more solid, even though we still had absolutely no width at all. The final whistle couldn’t come soon enough, especially after 4 minutes of added time, god knows where that came from, but Clattenburg brought the game to an end and A-Block went mental again.
Conclusions: We have no width, without McCleary or Anderson on the pitch, we are narrow and clueless. I lost count of the number of balls Chambo had to play from the back trying to find a static team-mate as we also lacked movement upfront too. Moloney had a decent game at right-back, with seemingly no-one in front of him, offering support or any form of overlap opportunity. Gunter at left-back, with Bennet on the bench made no sense whatsoever. Billy mentions square pegs in round holes, how much of that is point proving on his part? We have the positional players, but why are they not being played? We need a proper left-back, we need cover for our wingers when they are injured or can’t get in the team. We play four central midfielders, none of whom want to play along the flanks, save Cohen who seemed to get into a few good positions. I reckon we’ll be lucky to get into the play-offs on the back of this performance and if we do, I reckon we’ll be lucky to win one of the two leg matches. It was good to see us win a game, it’s been a while for me.