22/01/11 13:00 Category: Championship
The first double over Derby for years and there are signs that were finally addressing our away form. Last season we approached this same fixture in good form, lost our unbeaten away record and never recovered. Hopefully we can use this as a base to carry us for the important fixtures on the horizon. For the past few weeks, we’ve continued to slowly climb the table but remain under the media radar, after this result there’s bound to be more attention on us as a result.
We look a very settled team, despite the team changes over the previous weeks and have finally found some form on our travels. This combined with the ongoing home record makes us serious contenders again this season.
We started the game impressively with Moussi leading the way in midfield and everyone raising their games around him. We looked focussed, in control and only poor final balls prevented us from taking a deserved lead. McGugan also had one low free kick, after Moussi’s run, that was well saved.
Tyson and Anderson found themselves in space when running into their area but failed to make the most of the chances. Lynch also had a decent shout for a penalty when blocked at the far post from a corner.
Derby struggled to make any impression on the game as we had the majority of possession and regularly looked threatening on the break. They looked a pale imitation of the teams that have caused in problems in the past few years. They are clearly missing the likes of Hulse and with the poor form of Savage and Commons.
We should have scored at the start of the second half as McGugan broke into the area. But he rushed his shot when there was plenty of time to carry the ball forward before shooting. Savage was clearly struggling in midfield but to get replaced within an hour showed had far his form has fallen.
Having played so well and dominated in the first half, it looked as though we might have to settle for a point as Derby improved in the second half. However, the changes up front made the difference again. McGugan and Tudgay weren’t having a great influence on the game and replaced by Earnshaw and Adebola as we lacked a physical and clinical edge.
Tyson moved over to the left, skipped past a couple of challenges down the left, crossed for Anderson to head back for Earnshaw to score into the bottom corner from outside the area. On the balance of the whole game, it was nothing more than we deserved.
Derby pressed in the closing stages but we looked fairly comfortable apart from low Camp save. Tyson’s running off the ball kept the clock ticking with good possession in their half.
Camp made important contributions in the second half when Derby forced a couple of half chances. One flying save across his goal came from nowhere whilst another smart save in injury time preserved the lead. Throughout the game, his handling was impeccable with a succession of faultless catches from their set pieces to relieve the pressure.
In front of him, the defence looked pretty solid apart from one mistake from Morgan that needed a goal-line block from Chambers and clearance from Lynch to overcome. Lynch continues to add a valuable physical presence in defence whilst posing problems from attacking set pieces. The additional height through the inclusion of Lynch and Moussi ahead of say, Bertrand and McKenna makes us a tougher team to break down on our travels.
Star of the show, yet again, was MOTM Moussi. Derby simply couldn’t live with his presence in midfield as he completely dominated this important area. Right from the first minute, he charged through a couple of challenges, drove towards their area and only a poor pass selection prevented us from being through on goal. Tyson was desperate for the ball on the left but Moussi went for Tudgay on the right but the pass was over hit and the chance lost. This is easily the best run of form in his Forest career as McKenna continues to be overlooked deservedly.
Earnshaw deserved to be dropped in preference to Tyson but it had the desired effect for the closing stages and hopefully this will get him started for the season. Tyson again found the Derby defence to his liking with a number of dangerous runs down both flanks causing havoc wherever he went.
15/01/11 15:00 Category: Championship
Whilst this might have appeared to be a lucky win, Portsmouth offered very little throughout and shouldn’t really complain about the result. They took advantage of Gunter,s slip and caught us on the break. Despite a number of players defending, we couldn’t get the ball off Kanu and he scored with ease. Their only other effort was a Lawrence free kick that Camp tipped away from the top corner. Apart from that, they were only interested in protecting their lead and paid for it in the end.
Time and again we struggled we get ourselves going in the first half, hindered by poor passing and a strong cross-field wind. However, things improved after the break especially with Billy getting the substitutions spot on. They couldn’t deal with a sustained period of pressure but just when it looked like we’d lose our unbeaten record, McGugan’s quality shone through. We kept them forced back with a number of threatening set pieces and eventually the goals came. Moussi won a great challenge in midfield and found McGugan, his dangerous cross was turned in by Sonko for another OG with Adebola just behind him. A number of further corners almost won it until McGugan’s chipped ball from 50 yards found Tudgay to flick over the keeper and bring the house down.
Morgan did what was needed defensively but we continue to give him far too much obsession in defensive areas. Time and again we saw aimless passes drift out of play following another ambitious punt downfield. It’s not as if it’s the first time this has happened, he’s almost taken on the role of play-maker for the side. It’s not all Morgans fault though, this is a team game and someone from midfield needs to take responsibility and take the ball off him. Ramsey did this with ease during his brief appearances and we lack that from the likes of Moussi, Cohen and Majewski. Time and again, one of them will drop deep from midfield and then just give Morgan the ball back and the process starts all over again.
Lynch had another solid game and didn’t let any one down. His extra height he brings to the side is invaluable against the likes of Portsmouth but we obviously lose the ability on the ball going forward that Bertrand provided. Having said that, he still got forward when possible and showed a number of neat touches on the edge of their area that didn’t quite come off for him. Gunter had a day to forget defensively and never really adjusted to the windy conditions.
MOTM Moussi was the star performer again and is really putting together a decent run of performance. Probably his best series of games since he joined us but the continued lack of a new signed contract is a concern. It was his drive from midfield that kept us going when we were struggling and he looked dominant throughout. His passing still lets him down occasionally but the rest of his game made up for this. Last season, McKenna would have walked straight back into the side but he’s being kept out of the side on merit.
Anderson showed a few moments of early promise but soon drifted from the game. Cohen had a mixed game, looking out of sorts in wide areas but much better, in the middle, when we switched things around for the closing stages. Majewski was a little unlucky to get replaced as he wasn’t the worst of a bad bunch but the difference McGugan brought was noticeable. There was an arrogance to the way he strutted around, knowing that he was capable of turning the game in our favour. Two moments of quality from deep areas in midfield proved to be difference between the sides but the improvement in set piece delivery helped to build the pressure and keep us in the game.
Earnshaw is really struggling at the moment and lacks that spark and awareness in front of goal. Without those qualities, the game tends to pass him by and he struggles to make much of an impact. This drop in performance isn’t a recent thing, he’s been struggling for a while now. The fact he’s only scored three goals this season says it all really. Tyson posed much more of a threat in the later stages, looking for the ball over the top to use his pace. Adebola started to hold the front line together and present a physical presence to combat the size of their defenders. With Tudgay and Tyson either side of him, we looked a much more dangerous prospect. We’ve started to see a real impact from Dele in the latter stages of recent home games.
03/01/11 15:00 Category: Championship
Similar to the recent Cardiff away victory, this was an unexpected starting line-up but a resolute performance from a number of stand-in players and a creditable three points.
The winner must surely count as the luckiest of the season but importantly, it arrived in a game as close as this one. McGoldrick kept the ball alive down the left hand side and his pull back was tipped by their keeper onto a defender and over the line. We looked pretty comfortable at the back and on the rare occasions they got past Moussi, Chambers, Morgan then Camp was not going to be beaten.
With a little more quality going forward we would have made the game safe in the second half but one goal was always likely to be enough in a tight game. Anderson missed a one-on-one when clean through and Tyson missed a header that looked easier to score.
Camp had a reasonably comfortable afternoon with a few routine saves. One nervy moment towards the end following a mis-timed punch but Chambers got back on the line to see the follow-up clear the bar.
As in recent weeks, the stand-out players were Chambers and Moussi and were the ones mainly responsible for keeping Ipswich quiet. Chambers has been carrying Morgan for a number of games now and without Wilson’s on-going contract issues, he would surely have regained his place. Morgan seems to have gone backwards this season and looks clumsy and pedestrian compared to his defensive partner.
Lynch’s selection came out of the blue but he didn’t let anyone down and won a number of physical challenges until going off (presumably injured again). Certainly didn’t do anything particularly wrong but left back remains a pressing issue again. Gunter put in a typical 7/10 performance, never really put under too much pressure and got forward to support the midfield whenever possible.
MOTM Moussi is in the middle of his most consistent spell of games for the club. Time and again, Ipswich found their attacks ended by Moussi, patrolling on the edge of our area. The subsequent distribution sometimes spoils his initial efforts but from a defensive point of view, he’s doing all that could be expected from him at the moment. Should have scored when played through on goal in the first half but could only find the keeper’s legs.
Anderson and Cohen looked livelier in midfield than in recent performances but we lacked the passing ability of McGugan or Majewski to make the most of our attacks on the break. Cohen in particular looked more like the classy energetic midfielder he’s capable of being. Ramsey was reasonable but too many mis-placed passes spoiled his display. One through-ball to Anderson showed his awareness and ability on the ball. Tyson looked a threat in wide areas on the break but his performance will only be remembered for another poor missed chance. Only four yards out, not under any pressure but could only head tamely wide.
McGoldrick looked like a player working his way back from serious injury but credit to him for his part in the winning goal. Worked hard to keep the ball in play down the left and the pull-back was good enough to result in the own goal. A few nice touches and one half-decent long range effort but he’s still yet to really shine in a Forest shirt.