MOTM Paul Anderson
29/11/08 15:00 Category: Championship
A hard earned but slightly fortuitous victory brought us slightly closer to safety after what seems like an eternity without three points. With other teams dropping points, we brought ourselves off the bottom of the table and made some ground on those currently in safety.
Following recent criticism, Calderwood changed things around in the starting line up, reverting to the diamond formation in midfield with Garner playing behind Tyson and Earnshaw. Perch just in front of the defence with Anderson and McGugan either side. Even more surprising was the return of Moloney to the squad and straight into the starting line-up. In the early stages, we looked all over the place in most areas and had to rely on Morgan and Moloney to produce well timed blocks to prevent Barnsley breaking through.
We struggled to adapt to the change in formation for the first half hour until, Tyson moved onto the left wing to allow McGugan to support Perch in the centre. If there’s one thing that we should have learned this season, we cannot compete in this league playing only one in the centre of midfield.
This change had an immediate effort with the opening goal. Our best move of the season saw Earnshaw find Tyson down the left, he carried the ball forward and his pin-point cross found Garner to score with a downward header from about six yards.
Just before half-time, we should have had the opportunity to double our lead when a blatant barge into Garner’s back went unpunished.
Things improved following the change in formation but we still found ourselves hanging on for most of the game with Barnsley looking the most likely scorers.
At the start of the second half, McGugan cut inside from the left and hit a curling shot off the bar. Lynch almost repeated the trick but his long range effort was tipped over by their keeper. That was about it from a Forest attacking point of view as Barnsley did everything except score. One long range effort was heading for the bottom corner until Camp tipped it around for a corner. Moloney got back to clear from under the bar to prevent a certain goal. Whilst they missed a sitter when a left wing cross found its way to the back post but their header hit the bar and bounced to safety, a real let-off. In injury time, we gave away a soft free kick that was well struck but Camp was equal to it and the three points were ours.
Camp had to be at his best in the closing stages and continues to be one of the main reasons that we are still in contention for safety.
Moloney came into the starting XI from nowhere and showed exactly what’s required from a right back at this level. His positioning was spot on, he made a number of crucial challenges but most of all, he actually played like he was comfortable in that position. It’s only one game but a very welcome addition to the squad. You have to wonder why he hasn’t been tried in that position earlier. Morgan was as reliable as ever whilst Lynch had a much better game than on Tuesday night.
MOTM Anderson continues to impress down the right wing with his determined running with the ball. Occasionally, the final ball is missing but for long spells he was the only option to relieve the pressure on our defence. Very willing to get back and support Moloney when required and they worked well as a pairing.
Perch had one of his better games for a while and made an impression in midfield. He won a succession of decent tackles and headers in midfield. However he really needs to work on his passing as a couple of straightforward square passes saw us straight back in trouble.
McGugan showed glimpses of obvious talent going forward but needs to contribute more to the rest of the team defensively. Too often he was left up field and struggling to get back. We will miss Cohen’s energy in midfield until he’s fit and playing again.
Earnshaw was a passenger for the majority of the game. Seemingly unable to get involved due to lack of match fitness and our inability to provide anywhere near a decent service to him.
Garner has to be leading the line to get the best from him. He’s wasted dropping deep into midfield where he’s even more likely to pick up yellow cards. His attitude is an example for other members of the team (McGugan) and his presence will be key to our survival. Tyson did a decent job down the left but picked up a stupid yellow card for continuing once the ball was out of play and now misses the vital trip to Coventry.
21/10/08 19:45 Category: Championship
Pretty even game, few chances either side but we were badly second best
in the second half as we struggled to close Ipswich down and the game
drifted to a stalemate. We had a couple of goals disallowed for offside
and missed 2 one on ones but generally the visitors looked much more
composed that we did.
Initially I was disappointed that Smith had been singled out for our
problems this season but having seen Camp last night I might have to
change my mind.
Camp was always quick to leave the six yard box, pro-active during the
game with his distribution, catches the ball whenever possible, trying
to get on with the game quickly. He didn't really have any saves to make
though, guessed right way for penalty but no other chances to impress.
In contrast to Smith, he plays in a positive fashion and gets on with
We were terrible at the back. Morgan was probably the best of the bunch
and that sums it up. All three full-backs showed exactly why they're not
good enough especially with their distribution. We seem to have lost the
decent build-up approach to games that we employed earlier in the season
and resorting to aimless long balls. Chambers in particular struggled to
find a red shirt all night. I'd take the captaincy straight off Wilson
given the chance, just let him get back to defending.
In midfield we were outnumbered against their 5 man midfield and
struggled badly in the second half to get even get possession. Fletcher
and Cohen did what they could but struggled to find any space and barely
figured. Ipswich always seemed to have a free man and passed their way
through and around our midfield. Even though they didn't create many
chances they were one of the better teams we've played so far. McGugan
made an initial impact but then resorted to hitting first time blind
passes and giving the ball away.
There were a couple of small positives besides Camp. McCleary is quietly
getting on with establishing himself in the first team squad. An
excellent strike from distance for our goal and approached the game with
a decent attitude until he tired and was replaced. He never hides and
keeps trying to make things happen.
MOTM Anderson is starting to show signs of his quality but let us down
with the needless, clumsy challenge for their penalty. Their player went
down too easily but the challenge should never have been made in the
first place. Should have scored when clean through but took a touch too
many and then hit the keeper. Looked dangerous running at their defence
(even with the woeful Chambers alongside him) and found time to get back
and defend when needed.
Looking at the rest of the starting XI, there is no one there who is
going to score the goals to get us out of trouble. Anderson possibly and
McGugan from set pieces but when Earnshaw's missing we look desperately
short of goals. I can't see anyone else getting anywhere near 10 goals
Why did Calderwood let our only remaining fit forward, Sinclair, leave
on loan the day that Earnshaw was revealed to be injured again? Whilst
he might not be ready for first team action, we're only left with Tyson
and Cole else we're playing people out of position again. There was 1
defender and 4 midfielders on the bench again last night.
I'm at the stage now where I feel that something has to change. Every
passing game we seem to be further away from safety (6 points plus goal
difference currently) and I don't see enough at the club capable of
turning things around. Even the crowd seemed too depressed to throw any
abuse at the team/manager. It's as if everyone's resigned to failure
I can't see any other solution but for Calderwood to pack his bags and
let someone else have a go.