Another day another drab performance by Forest. At City Ground yesterday the Reds put on a nervous skitty performance, failing to beat what was a poor Doncaster team.
The team sent out by Davies was a relatively strong team, the trusted partnership of Tudgay and Earnshaw up front, and with McCleary bought in for Anderson who has been poor of late. Cohen was moved to the wing, Majewski playing in the central midfield role.
I have to be honest at this point and admit I missed the first 3-4minutes, traffic on the A614 and the resulting sprint to the ground, had me missing the beginning of the game.
The performance put out by the Reds was as I say, nervous, players are not performing in the normal natural way they usually do. Either panicking and playing blind balls, like a lot of Majewski's passes yesterday, or dallying too long when a first time shot would be better.
The first half saw several chances for Forest, and also for Doncaster. Donnys best effort was a free kick that went narrowly over. In fact the fans of Doncaster thought they had scored as it brushed the back of the net and from the position at the other end of the pitch appear to have billowed the net. This resulted in ironic cheers and jeers from the Forest fans directed at the Donny fans.
Forests best chance fell to Earnshaw, when a defensive error left him free in the box. A combination of poor control, good goalkeeping and the pressure from a defender saw Earnie put the shot at the keeper, and it was saved. Other efforts saw a Cohen shot blocked, and McKenna shoot wide from 20 yards or so. Perhaps a ball to Gunter would have been better, and the irony being Forest fans had implored players to take a shot, and when they do, the fans deride the effort.
The second half didn't really improve. Forest still toiled to try and score to no effect. Doncaster had a packed midfield that made it hard to break down the Yorkshire side. Earnshaw had been replaced by Tyson, another injury picked up by Forest. Tyson would a speed element to Forest's attack. Seeing more balls attempted over the top.
The one nice change from before is that McCleary was beating his man and getting in behind more and more,and certainly more than Anderson has of late. The final ball wasn't always the best however, but there were a notable couple of cases where Forest should have done better. McCleary at one putting the ball right across the six yard box and cleared off the line, it was dying for anyone else to be able to prod the ball home.
McGugan and Boyd were introduced. Still it made no difference. Forest continued to make progress to the final third with little or no end product. Poor passing in the box, on one particular occasion by Tyson, when getting into the penalty area, his attempted pass to Boyd was to obvious and easily cut out.
McCleary was set up with a free shot from 12 yards, but he controlled the ball rather than shooting first time. This gave defenders a chance to get into position to stop the effort. The touch he took was also poor, actually taking it backwards and getting the ball stuck in his feet. McCleary will be remembered as the villain here, if he had taken the chance first time,. as a confident player would, we would surely have won. But players aren't confident.
Another final missed opportunity saw the ball crossed to Boyd, his air shot summed up the day for the Reds, Missed opportunity. We really should have won this game, but the players seem to lack belief and panic far too often. Too many lapses of concentration or simply bad performances are costing us big time. We no longer look like we will finish in the top two, and even the playoffs are in jeopardy as our form slumps. In fact based on the last six games, we have the second worse record in the table. Relegation form.
Is it bad selection? Or players just not being good enough. Well maybe both. The way the front line was chopped an changed in the second half, was somewhat confusing for me, never mind the players. Adebola who is on form was dropped. When we are struggling for goals, the one guy who has been getting them was dropped. Makes no sense to me. But it wouldn't be Forest if it made sense.
Onward and hopefully upward though Forest. Swansea next week will be a good challenge, and we have to up our game.