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Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Lacklustre Forest Slip Up Again

Since this sites formation last September, we’ve never been one to criticise the team and have always been one to encourage belief when the heads are down. But last Saturday’s trip to Swansea was enough to push even the most optimistic fan to the edge.

Another shambolic performance, with the only positives about Forest being they looked good in the stoppage time of both halves. Other than that they were completely outplayed by a fantastic Swansea team.

Out went Earnshaw, Tudgay and last week’s scapegoat McCleary while Tyson, Anderson and Kris Boyd came in to line up as follows:

The game didn’t look great early on. Forest was standing off their men and was allowing the likes of Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer to run at them – not a good idea at all when they’re considerably faster than our defence. There was even a clear penalty turned away after 3 minutes, an incredibly lucky let off.

I have to say I think it’s the effect of not having a decent midfield without Moussi holding us up. Without Moussi, our midfield is almost non-existent and leaves all the pressure on our back 4.

It was no surprise that after the initial Swans pressure they broke the deadlock on the 21st minute. Wes went on one of his infamous runs into the opposition half which led to him being tackled and the ball looped into the path of Scott Sinclair on the right hand side. Sinclair went on one of his mazy runs as he took the ball round McKenna, Gunter, Chambers, Gunter again, Konchesky before sliding it into the bottom corner of Lee Camp’s goal. It was a superb goal but I can’t help but think there were plenty of opportunities for someone to put a tackle in.

Swansea had the advantage and 5 minutes later they had themselves another goal. A cutting through ball found Angel Rangel making a run behind our left hand side. He managed to get onto the ball and get it inside the box cue mass panic from the people he skipped past. He cut the ball back into the path of debutant Fabio Borini who has a shot blocked before holding onto it and looping it over Camp. No surprise half the team was sat on their arse. More shoddy defending.

Forest pushed on but to no avail and once again Swansea nearly bagged another goal to kill the game. Persistent standing off the man resulted in Nathan Dyer teeing up Borini, who smashed it at the post. It should have been game, set and match Swansea.

Despite the lacklustre display thus far Forest managed to create some form of chance. A cross into Boyd’s path from Tyson resulted in a narrow miss that De Vries would have been relieved to see edge past his post.

Moments later though, the same pairing linked up again to get Forest a goal. Anderson’s through ball found Tyson in the box who cut it back for Boyd. Kris took a couple of touches before smashing it past De Vries at his near post. It was totally undeserved but was the life line we needed.

At half time, the goal prompted me to put a tenner on Forest to win – sadly I believe in this club that much.

Sadly we didn’t come out with the same commitment that we ended the half with as Sinclair and Dyer continued to give our back four an absolute mare.

Within 11 minutes of the restart, Sinclair had cut inside the small gap between McKenna and Morgan before smashing a shot at Camp. Camp saved it but the rebound fell to Borini who was all too happy to steer in his second of the day. Sinclair was truly breathtaking on the day and had practically messed up my bet – I will be expecting Billy to refund this having watched ‘Take It Like A Fan’ on Sky Sports on Friday of which he won himself a tenner.

Like in the first half, the goal didn’t make us buck our ideas up and Dyer forced Camp into a tremendous stop, before another mazy Sinclair run ripped apart the backline as he went onto fire high and over.

Then came a ‘Laurel and Hardy’ moment from Camp and Chambers, which had every Forest fan cringing. Chambers took the ball to the left hand side before promptly smashing the ball at Dyer who was passed the ball to Borini who was one on one with Camp. He rounded Camp but hit the side netting – it was truly comical and simply not good enough from either.

Once again though, Forest came to life in the second minute of injury time. Sub, McCleary skipped past Van Der Gun and ran into the box cutting it back for Ando, who put it past De Vries. A consolation goal, surely?

Well yes it was, but a minute later things could have been so different. With Forest going all out attack, Gunter took a quick thrown in and found Cohen who whipped it into the box. Anderson got his head onto the cross but could only flick the ball onto the post. It was heart stopping but would have been totally undeserved, daylight robbery even.

That said, I did agree with Davies after the game who agreed that even though it would have been a robbery did we deserve to lose to Hull? Draw with Preston? Draw with Doncaster last weekend?

But I doubt Billy would have let that shambolic performance slip. It did leave me pondering that had we had key men fit, how different would the game have been? After all it was our worst performance of the season and yet we managed to bag two undeserved goals. I secretly do fancy playing these in the play offs should we meet - however mad it sounds - provided we have a fully fit Moussi bossing the midfield.

Yet despite a late fight back, Forest have now only won 1 in their last 10 and sit 22nd in the form table – a far cry from just over a month ago when we were sat at the top of it.

Now with the international breaks on hand though, I do feel that this tough patch of almost two games every single week will see the end of these poor performances. By the time we play Leeds on the 2nd April, we should have Moussi, Lynch and Earnie back – Earnie said on his twitter today he’s almost fully fit. The rest should do the team good and provide us with the chance to make that late push with 8 games to go.

It’ll have to because with Leeds, Reading, Burnley and Norwich our next 4 games, things need to turn around dramatically if we hope to secure a play off place.

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