26/02/11 15:00 Category: Championship
In normal circumstances, a point away at Millwall would be a decent result and one we’d gratefully accept. However, given the flat home atmosphere, dominant possession from Forest, recent dropped points and the results elsewhere; it has to go down as 2 points lost.
Apart from a short spell in the first half, we controlled the game and never looked like losing. Unfortunately we couldn’t convert this into three points as we were restricted to long-range efforts and set pieces. Playing a lone striker relies on the midfield getting forward to support and providing other attacking options. It felt like we were reliant on a McGugan special or a set piece converted by Chambers or Morgan for us to score.
The only time we really looked like scoring for any spell was in the final stages once McCleary and then Earnshaw added an extra threat. In contrast in the anonymous Anderson, McCleary gave us a much better cutting edge going forward. Unlucky not to score with his first touch, flicking McGugan’s cross towards goal and then beating 3 men with his run down the right before hitting the target with a left foot effort.
MOTM Lynch had an excellent game at the back and should have won the game for us. Having burst down the left hand side, found by Cohen’s excellent chip, he crossed for McGoldrick (and missed) instead of going for goal from six yards. The rest of the back five continued their good recent form and really imposed themselves on the game. Gunter had a few uncomfortable moments at the back but provided badly needed pace down the right hand side as we lacked width. Chambers and Morgan saw that Morisson had very little impression on the game. Camp only had a single effort to save as the defence dominated the home forwards
No complaints over the likes of McKenna and Cohen, whose performances ensured that we controlled the midfield areas. However, Majewski and Anderson were ineffective and did very little to turn the game in our favour. Majewski struggled to get involved when we needed his range of passing to unlock their packed defence. Anderson seemed to be roaming everywhere except into wide areas, where we actually needed him.
McGugan did as much as possible going forward and most of our decent breaks revolved around him. He produced a number of decent efforts from outside the area plus another dangerous left foot effort that nearly caught their keeper out. It’s easy to criticise McGoldrick but the service in his direction wasn’t good enough and he only started to get involved once he had support from Tudgay around him.
19/02/11 15:00 Category: Championship
This was probably the best team performance we’ve seen this season. In contrast to Cardiff’s set of individuals, we had eleven men fighting for a common cause and desperate to earn those vital three points. Everyone played their part in the win, with the likes of Anderson and Earnshaw having much better games than in recent weeks. It was noticeable that in the closing stages, we looked the fitter side with the likes of Konchesky, Cohen, McKenna and McGugan covering plenty of ground. MOTM Camp made a number of key saves at important times, to keep us level in the first half and prevent them going ahead after the gift penalty.
To their credit, Cardiff started brightly and Camp had to make smart saves from Bellamy and Bothroyd whilst relying on Konchesky to clear another Bellamy effort off the line. Despite having the better chances, Cardiff still looked a little ordinary in possession and lacked subtlety in their build-ups. In contrast, we looked better in possession, even though it took us a little time to get going and start creating clear chances. Defensively, we looked solid with the two lumps up front for Cardiff resorting to falling to the floor every time Chambers or Morgan won another aerial challenge.
In an entertaining end to end game, we weren’t without our own chances. Anderson sent Earnshaw clear, only to see his effort ruled out for offside, when the former should have continued his dangerous run forward on his own. Cohen’s free kick found Earnshaw but he got too much on his close range header and it flew harmlessly wide when even missing it completely might have brought a better result.
Having looked like we won’t get the reward for a decent spell of possession and great inter-play, McGugan’s corner to the back post found Morgan to power a header into the roof of the net. With Cardiff increasingly on the back foot, Anderson combined with Earnshaw down the left and found McGugan whose effort clipped the bar. At this stage, we found ourselves in control and didn’t want the half to end.
The second half started a little disjointed with neither side really on top. We remained comfortably ahead, with only one effort, again saved by Camp, causing us any real problems. Suddenly, they found themselves back in the game following a shocking refereeing decision. McKenna clearly won the ball, no one claimed for a foul, yet the official saw fit to point to the spot and they found themselves level from nowhere. This only fired Cardiff up and one swerving effort from long range nearly caught out Camp but he saved well with his legs.
We continued to pass the ball well in midfield and look dangerous on the break and this proved to be the difference. McKenna continuing find performances he displayed in his early Forest career whilst McGugan looked a threat throughout with a definite return to form. Anderson looked much more threatening and was involved in a lot of the good moves we put together, with an end product to the runs he made. This sort of game was perfect for Cohen to show his energy from midfield with a number of neat touches whilst in possession, another player whose form seems to be returning just in time for the closing stages of the season.
The winning goal came from another neat build up in midfield. McGugan received the ball with his back to goal, suffered a bad tackle from behind but still managed to release Anderson, whose vision saw Earnshaw to score with typical ease.
As has been evident quite often this season, we look much more assured in the closing stages of games and never looked like surrendering the lead. We even had the best chance to extend our lead when Tyson won the ball in his own half, caught them on the break but saw his shot saved when both McGugan and McGoldrick were clear to his left. A strange decision not to release his team-mates but fortunately, one that didn’t cost us.
13/02/11 13:15 Category: Championship
Under normal circumstances, an away point at the league leaders would have been a creditable result, but having conceded a poor opening goal and then found ourselves down to ten men this was an outstanding achievement.
We started very brightly. Tudgay, hit the post (from an offside position) in the first minute and forced a number of corners as we caught QPR cold. Unfortunately, we couldn’t capitalise and paid the penalty when Smith picked the ball up from deep, run unchallenged and scored with a well-taken curling effort. Camp was left with no chance as McGugan, Konchesky and Chambers should have put him under more pressure but it was a quality finish.
It was noticeable that once Smith got injured, QPR didn’t look as dangerous when breaking from midfield. We marked the likes of Taarabt and Routledge tightly as QPR resorted to increasingly long balls in an attempt to put us under pressure.
Despite going behind against the run of play, we didn’t have too much to be concerned about as we’ve shown plenty of resolve in recent games. However, we really put pressure on ourselves following the dismissal of Majewski. Initially, it looked like he slipped and didn’t make contact but the replays were conclusive and he can have no complaints. He seemed to have calmed down his tackling recently but this was a return to the rash, jumping challenges he often made last season.
His dismissal galvanised the side and showed further evidence of the steel and spirit that exists within our squad. Everyone who played made a difference as we made relatively light work of the man disadvantage.
Our equaliser might have been a fluke but we certainly deserved something for our early endeavours. McGugan’s long range free kick was going well wide until hitting McGoldrick on the knee and bobbling into the bottom corner.
We even had chances to win it with Morgan’s downward header tipped over from another corner. McGugan had another couple of long range efforts unusually off target, whilst McKenna charged forward to put an effort wide.
Not too many opportunities after the break as we couldn’t afford to get caught out on the break. Tyson’s pace in the closing stages caused a few problem but too often he found himself downfield on his own and without any support.
Camp had very little to contribute due to the number of last ditch blocks on the edge of the area by those in front of him. QPR very rarely caused us problems within our area and were restricted to long range efforts and hopeful set pieces from distance. The closest they game was one header from a corner that Gunter recovered to head off the line.
The most impressive defensive displays came from MOTM Chambers and the also outstanding Morgan. Chambers has been one of our most consistent performers this season and Morgan now seems to be finding some form with another flawless display. Any mention of Kelvin Wilson has been completely forgotten as he finds himself excluded from the first team squad.
Lynch joined the action in the second half, allowing Konchesky to move into midfield. Up against the pacey Miller, he made a number of solid challenges and even found himself charging forward in a right wing position trying to pinch a late winner. Konchesky looked one of the fittest players on display and could easily be used further forwarding the coming weeks, especially if we lose anyone else from midfield.
Gunter had a great battle with the dangerous Routledge and was dominant almost through- out. The only time that Routledge found any space, he resorted to diving in order to gain an unlikely winner.
In midfield, McKenna put in another impressive performance to continue his welcome return to form. The wasteful ‘over the shoulder’ passes into space are a thing of the past and showing the sort of midfield domination he displayed when he first joined. He made a number of important interceptions in midfield and used the ball very well when in possession.
He was well supported by Cohen, McGoldrick and Tudgay who all ran themselves into the ground. McGoldrick in particular produced the sort of battling performance that hasn’t really been evident during his Forest career so far. McGugan was in and out of the game, had a few opportunities around the edge of the area but failed to trouble their keeper.
The substitutions brought badly needed fresh legs at the right time and we never eased up and allowed QPR to settle.
05/02/11 15:00 Category: Championship
As each week brings a new challenge, this Forest team continues to show great mental resilience to keep battling through and prove that we are genuine contenders this season. Probably the greatest challenge so far awaits next Sunday, at QPR, but at least we have a rare week off to prepare after a number of games in quick succession. There is such belief in the team at the moment, whatever comes our way, we have enough desire and ability to overcome it.
We scored before Watford had even got started, in the first minute. Cohen’s run down the left, finding Earnshaw to tee up Tudgay to score with the outside of his foot into the bottom corner. The keeper got a hand to it and should really have done better but no complaints.
From that point onwards, Watford came to have a go and they were a little unlucky to see their efforts unrewarded. A number of crosses across our area failed to find the intended targets whilst Chambers short back pass needed Camp to make a smart save on the edge of his area.
Both sides looked decent on the break, with Cohen seeing one effort tipped over the bar and Earnshaw’s free kick flashed narrowly wide after McKenna was blocked when through on goal.
Another excellent start to the second half, should have seen us double the lead. Tudgay’s back heal fell perfectly for Earnshaw but he couldn’t hit the target from six yards.
Things calmed down a little as the game got a little scrappy but we restricted Watford to only a handful of chances. With Camp in such good form, it’s going to take something special to beat him at the moment. In another lapse of concentration, Chambers left Graham alone from a punt downfield but Camp came to the rescue.
Watford continued to take the direct approach but our substitutions brought some badly needed energy to the side and we looked pretty comfortable in the closing stages. Tyson in particular, caused problems on the break as he made a welcome return to the squad. We eased through the closing stages and have only conceding three goals in the final thirty minutes of any game this season.
Camp maintained his impressive recent form with another faultless display. He made a number of smart saves plus a series of clean catches from a number of Watford set pieces.
Chambers didn’t have the best of games but was still there when it counted. A dodgy backpass nearly gifted them a goal whilst a number of lapses of concentration against the dangerous Graham went unpunished. Fortunately, Morgan was back to somewhere near his best form with an improved display alongside him.
Gunter had a difficult afternoon against their tricky winger but supported the attack well on the break. Konchesky continues to add a solid edge to the left hand side, won a number of important challenges but struggled to find a red shirt.
MOTM Cohen had his best game for ages with an energetic performance. Unlucky not to score with a curling effort tipped over the bar and he seemed much more like the midfielder who carried us for so long last season.
Similarly, McKenna showed that we might not suffer too badly following Moussi’s unfortunate injury. He looked assured in the middle, won his fair share of tackles and took much more care when in possession. His driving run from deep, should have resulted in a red card when cynically blocked on the edge of their area by the last defender. In both cases, following Moussi’s injury, we badly needed someone from midfield to step up and they duly obliged.
Majewski looked lively for his time on the pitch whilst Anderson continues to threaten but often lacks that end product that his running deserves.
Earnshaw worked hard for the side, showing that we really defend from the front nowadays. Unlike last season, he continues to miss chances but played his part through the developing partnership with Tudgay. Finally, Tudgay has been a revelation since arriving. He’s a real worker in the front line, working their defence, winning unexpected headers and scoring vital goals. He looks intelligent in possession and has made us a much better side since his arrival through his ability to bring others into the game.
01/02/11 19:45 Category: Championship
This was yet another fantastic away result and the sort of game that we would probably have lost last season. For the second game in a couple of days we gave away a very poor goal but recovered well to take the lead. Fortunately, we weren’t up against Premier League class of opposition this time and had just had enough energy left to preserve the win.
We started the game confidently, with all the play in their half and the home side getting plenty of men behind the ball, it was almost like a home game. Apart from a free kick that flicked the bar, there was very little to concern us.
Having looked so comfortable, their goal came out of nowhere. A fairly straight forward cross from the left wing saw the defence in a rare mess, Camp saved one effort, Morgan couldn’t clear off the line and King tapped in.
This knocked us back for a little while but we soon got the equaliser that our earlier play deserved. McGugan took advantage of space in midfield to hit a speculative shot that swerved late and went straight under their keeper.
Tudgay’s perseverance earned us what turned out to be the winning goal. He wouldn’t give up the ball down the right hand, fought off their defender and released the overlapping Moussi. Despite pulling up with an injury, Moussi had enough awareness to pull the ball back for Earnshaw to fire into the top corner. The keeper got a touch but the ball was only going to end up in one place.
We had numerous other chances with Anderson getting clean through and rolling the ball wide, another decent chance presented itself to him but he decided to pass instead. Earnshaw was narrowly offside from Gunter’s through ball before missing the target. Cohen’s free kick fell perfectly for Moussi but his shot was straight at their keeper. We should have converted one of a number of good breaks as half-time approached but had to settle for a single goal lead.
The injury to Moussi in the build-up to the second goal was the one real negative on a good evening. Just as McGugan got this season up and running for us, Moussi has almost single handedly carried us through the past few weeks. He’s put together a succession of impressive performances, improved his passing and it remains to be seen whether McKenna can step up and fill this loss.
The second half start in a similar fashion with Cohen clean through on goal and deciding to square for Earnshaw instead of going for goal himself. The pass got intercepted and the chance was lost.
From that point onwards, it turned into a scrappy affair. Coventry improved slightly and we dropped deeper and stopped pushing them backwards. It was understandable given the short amount of time between games.
For all of his faults off the pitch, Marlon King looks in top form at the moment and was easily their most dangerous player. Lucky for us, his ability to control the ball and bring others into the game wasn’t matched by his colleagues. Whenever, they played a little football in the second half and got the ball to his feet he looked dangerous but he suffered from a lack of support.
The team needed strengthening and so Lynch and Adebola joined in to provide some badly needed height. A number of crosses from distance needed Morgan and Chambers to be at their best and they won a number of important headers.
We missed Tyson’s pace off the ball and in the closing stages lacked any pace. Every time we cleared the ball, it was only a matter of time before it came straight back at us. Despite the majority of the ball and a string of lumps into the area, we held out and Camp only really had to deal with the crosses.
MOTM Gunter showed a cool head in defence, taking responsibility when needed. He also found time to get forward and provide very good support down the right hand side when we caught them on the break.
Konchesky looked a very useful addition and showed a lot of quality in possession. He’s not going to hide from a challenge, won a number of 50-50s and looked one of the fittest players on display. He didn’t look out of place when pushed into midfield service when Lynch came on.