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.
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.
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.
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.
18/12/10 15:00 Category: Championship
The recent postponements appeared to do us a favour as a revitalised Forest side easily brushed Palace aside. If it wasn’t for the performance of their keeper, then it could easily have been a hammering. We struggled badly against Leicester, lacking our usual spark and energy but the recent break and changes in midfield produced a real benefit.
There were some surprises in the starting line-up, with McKenna unable to dislodge Moussi and Cohen relegated to the bench after a disappointing season so far. Ramsey also had to be satisfied with a substitutes role, however Tudgay made his debut.
Defensively we were rarely threatened, however that didn’t prevent impressive performances from the likes of Gunter and Chambers. Both produced important last ditch challenges to ensure a clean sheet and prevent any underserved reward for Palace. After a couple of poor misses earlier in the season, Chambers finally got off the mark for the season, getting on the end of McGugan’s pin-point driven corner. The same combination nearly produced another return in the second half but another save kept the effort out.
Too often this season, our midfield has failed to reach the heights of last season, with passing a real issue. After a dodgy opening spell, we soon took control of the midfield and looked comfortable throughout. Moussi did all of the dirty work, getting back to break up the few Palace attacks enabling the rest to concentrate on breaking down the visitors. Definitely a good day for Moussi but the real issue is repeating this level of performance every week instead of every one in three games.
MOTM Majewksi looked more influential, taking responsibility for relieving Morgan and Chambers of possession and getting us moving with quality and purpose. Too often this season, our defenders have retained the ball for much too long but today Majewski prevented this from happening. Once he got on the ball, mainly unchallenged, he was able to dictate our attacks and get us breaking with pace and quality. Having done enough damage, he earned a well-deserved rest and provided Ramsey with a twenty minute cameo. Even in this short time, his quality was evident and hopefully there is enough time of the loan remaining for us to see the best of him for longer spells.
McGugan continues to look a threat, even though his shoot on sight policy was to the detriment of the side on occasions. Even moved out onto the left hand side, he continues to pose problems in all areas and Palace never really handled him. A number of accurate set pieces saw us score once and created a number of other dangerous situations.
Anderson’s form has been a concern this season but there were signs of improved form after the break. Too often, he finds himself in good positions but unable to beat his defender or lacks the precision to find a team-mate. One impressive example of his pace saw him burst through on goal but couldn’t beat Speroni. A goal would probably do wonders for his confidence and get him started this season. His replacement, McCleary, rounded off the afternoon with a decent first touch and clinical low finish.
Earnshaw was unlucky not to score and saw a number of efforts well saved by their keeper. The early indications of his partnership with Tudgay were positive and there were certainly signs of an understanding already. On occasions, a little more appreciation of his team-mates would have benefitted the side. As with Anderson, a goal would get his season up and running again especially after missing another routine one-on-one.
Tudgay quality on the ball was evident, a decent first touch and good awareness with the rest of the side even at this early stage. Was involved with many of the decent moves we put together and showed great composure for his goal when faced with an on-rushing keeper. Unlike many time this season, we had two strikers working closely together and showing signs of forming a partnership. It's only one game but the team saw a benefit from having a footballer leading the line.
13/11/10 15:00 Category: Championship
A disappointing game in which we never got started and a draw was the most we ever looked like getting from the game. QPR had a few chances at the other end and MOTM Camp produced a few top drawer saves to keep us in the game.
The first half was instantly forgettable with Forest failing to put together any decent attacks and QPR taking advantage of some poor passing to create a number of dangerous chances.
Things only briefly improved in the second half when Earnshaw and Adebola joined the action but poor passing and a lack of numbers going forward held us back throughout.
Blackstock had a very poor afternoon and it was a surprise that he lasted as long as he did. Yet again, he struggled to get into the game and showed a poor first touch whenever the ball came his way. For a loan front man, its essential that he's able to hold the ball up and get the midfield involved.
The one chance we created saw McGugan's first time shot from Anderson's pull back that Kenny saved well. From the resulting scramble we had a half shout for a penalty but nothing to get excited about really. As soon as McGugan was replaced by Tyson, we shuffled the midfield around but QPR looked comfortable and were rarely put under any pressure.
Even the usually reliable Gunter and Cohen had performances to forget and combined with the disappointing recent form of Blackstock we lacked enough quality to justify any more than a point.
We've got through a number of tricky home games which has put us back within sight of the top 6. However, there are bigger tests to come on our travels with daunting trips to Cardiff and Leicester on the horizon.
23/10/10 15:00 Category: Championship
After the disappointing performance on Tuesday, this was a step in the right direction with another home victory and a much improved display. We freshened things up with a change in formation and personnel which had the desired effect.
With Bertrand suspended, Gunter moved across to left back, shifting Chambers to right back and most importantly, restoring Wilson back to centre half. In midfield, McKenna and Cohen protected the back four with McGugan, Majewski and Anderson rooming in midfield with the returning McGoldrick leading the line up front.
We escaped a couple of nervy moments giving the ball away badly in midfield but Ipswich weren’t good enough to take advantage. Having survived those scares we scored at important times to coast to a routine victory. For the opener, Majewski released Cohen down the ball to pull the ball back for McGoldrick to score off the post, a goal in the middle of a good spell for us.
Then just as it looked like we wouldn’t get that deserved second goal, McGugan continued his recent excellent goal scoring run. We broke from the half-way line and Cohen was cynically brought down 35 yards out. McGugan had nothing to lose, struck it sweet, heading towards the keeper and then swerving away with pace into the top corner. The keeper left with no chance by one of the goals of the season.
The second half was a fairly relaxed affair after the visitors had an improved early spell. One low shot through a crowded area was luckily straight at Camp whilst they had a number of decent openings spoiled by wasteful finishing. Only in the closing stages did they create any clear chances during which Camp excelled with a couple of sharp saves.
At the other end, Tyson, Moussi and Cohen all saw well struck efforts well saved by their keeper.
Camp’s faultless performance was a return to form after an indifferent start to this season. He produced a number of smart saves in between some wayward Ipswich finishing and showed immaculate handling from a number of crosses and set pieces during a few decent spells for the away side.
MOTM Wilson’s return showed exactly why he should be the number one centre back at the club. After losing his place to Chambers, he cruised through the game showing those moments of class that sets him apart. Hopefully this is the excuse needed to get him back into the starting XI and hopefully leading to a new long term contract.
Gunter’s reading of the game got us out of trouble on a couple of occasions. Morgan and Chambers did a reasonable job but too often over played with the ball and got us into unnecessary trouble.
In midfield, we looked much more energetic which saw us consistently challenging for the ball instead of lazily standing off the opposition without apply pressure. This tactic, used to good effect last season, allows us to win back possession and then break from deep with pace. The movement off the ball was also much improved and gave options to those looking to make a forward pass.
McKenna in particular looked much more effective with Cohen alongside him and led from the front with a number of important challenges. As soon as the captain started hassling the opposition then this set the standard for the rest of the team. Cohen, Majewski and McGoldrick all made tackles from nowhere. In contrast to last Tuesday, the midfield were everywhere and we looked a much better side as a result.
McGoldrick took his opportunity and his performance was an improvement on Blackstock’s disappointing recent form. Up against two burly centre halves he was never going to win much in the air but on the ground he linked up well and even won his share of tackles. An encouraging start for his this season.
19/10/10 19:45 Category: Championship
This was an instantly forgettable game with very little to get excited about. Yet again, we had McGugan to thank for a goal from nowhere that never looked like coming. Were almost reliant on his contributions in front of goal due to the indifferent form of those around him.
Similar to Sheffield United’s visit, when faced with a five man midfield we have no ideas how to break them down and made very hard work of an ordinary opposition. Lacking any different options to last season, we need to learn how to adapt to teams that will pack the midfield and prevent us breaking with pace.
The most worrying aspect of this season so far is the number of players who are struggling to reach anywhere near the level of performance they consistently achieved last season. Only Gunter, McGugan and possibly Earnshaw fall into that category. The likes of Cohen, Morgan, Blackstock, Majewski and Anderson just aren’t performing as well as we know they are capable of.
The passing throughout was very poor with too many players preferring to play simple defensive passes instead of incisive forward thinking efforts. Cohen and McKenna in particular continued to ignore the likes of Bertrand and Gunter in wide areas and preferred to play in pretty triangles with Chambers and Morgan. The whole first half tactic seemed to consist of getting the ball to Morgan for him to lump it aimlessly downfield to an outnumbered and out of form Blackstock.
‘Boro caused Camp problems in the opening stages when non-existent marking in midfield allowed them to break from the half-way line and the deflected shot required a decent save. Lita then missed two excellent chances that we would have struggled to recover from. Having got away with these efforts, we had very little at the other end as two unadventurous teams cancelled each other in midfield.
Things improved slightly in the latter stages of the first half when we realised that
18/09/10 17:20 Category: Championship
Whilst the level of performance continues to show slight improvement, the lack of a clinical edge in front of goal again cost us another valuable two points. The right players to address this issue were targeted in the summer but having failed to sign them, we’re now suffering the consequences. The first half was a pretty dull affair with Forest restricting the hosts to a number of routine long range efforts. The closest we came to conceding only arrived when Cohen mis-hit a clearance to the edge of our own area and the resulting shot ended up a yard wide. Whilst looking fairly solid defensively, we struggled to pose enough of a threat at the other end. Too often we found ourselves in a reasonable position but lacked enough quality to take advantage. McGugan’s free kick narrowly past the near post was our best effort. However, after the break, there was only one team capable of winning the game as we dominated for long spells. It only seemed a matter of time before we scored as we created a number of opportunities that should have been converted to bring a well-earned victory. We changed formation and pushed Anderson alongside Earnshaw and their movement caused endless problems for the ponderous home defence. With our midfield dealing with anything Hull could offer and full backs Gunter and Bertrand threatening down the flanks, only a missing clinical finish prevented us from recreating that West Brom performance. Chambers missed a routine close-range header, Earnshaw saw one goal narrowly ruled out for offside and another header narrowly wide. Gunter’s adventurous charge down the right should have produced a deserved penalty but it was a narrow call and the referee predictably sided with the home team, giving a free kick on the edge of the area. McGugan also had a goal bound effort, from a well worked corner, blocked on its way to the bottom corner. Camp had very little to do, thanks to the performance of those in front of him. MOTM Gunter showed all his quality at both ends down the right and his return makes us a different and lot less predictable side. Bertrand continues to show all his promise with a similar display on the other flank and when playing well as a pair it’s doubtful you’ll see a better combination elsewhere in the league. Chambers replaced the injured Wilson and should have capped a solid partnership alongside Morgan with the opening goal but badly missed a chance he would normally take. In midfield, Moussi made noticeable difference with a physical display that Hull, and Bullard in particular, had no answer to. Fortunately his work rate allows for the times that McGugan goes missing and doesn’t pull his weight, yet the latter does possess a quality in front of goal that few others in the squad have and is worthy of his return to the side. Unfortunately, Earnshaw couldn’t last the whole game and our attacking options greatly reduced once he left proceedings. His movement with and without the ball is in contrast to last season where he was a passenger in most away games and deserved to be left out. Through his performances this season, he’s one of the first names in the starting eleven and looking the most likely to turn these draws into wins. The late replacements couldn’t match the earlier quality and we had to settle for a routine and slightly disappointing, away point.