Date:Monday March 3 2008
March 3, 2008
An expectant, vocal and supportive crowd turned up at the City Ground to once again get let down and disappointed, by the hapless bottlers that call themselves Nottingham Forest. That statement may be viewed by many to be a little harsh, especially when they are being managed by a man who appears to be short on tactical nous. But the sad fact is, that this team fails on a consistent basis to rise to the challenge of a big game.
Tonight's was indeed a big game and the prize for the victors was second place in the table. Forest had only been beaten once at home prior to this and should have been confident. In fact they started brightly and were unlucky to go in at the break at 0-0. But the second half was where it was lost, or more pertinently thrown away.
To be honest, I can't be arsed to write a detailed match report, as I'm too angry. We had chances for sure. Agogo went close. Bennett forced Westwood to make a brilliant save from a bullet of a header and Holt missed a sitter, when it looked easier to score. Carlisle's best chances came from wayward shots and were at times out played by some enterprising play in the first half from Forest.
At the interval fans could feel justifiably content with the efforts put in by the lads. But the second half performance, defied belief. Once again they bottled it. They failed to stand up and be counted and just threw in the towel. Without wanting to be too unkind to the visitors, they were nothing special. They defended well and tried to hit us on the break, but rarely looked like getting the better of us.
We looked disjointed in the second half. Once again Commons was drifting all over the place and Holt was playing too deep. The ball was bouncing off every one of them and no one could put a foot on it. Passing the ball to a Red shirt was seemingly impossible and we lacked the zest for the game that we had in the first period.
It's hard to single out individuals for blame, except Smith, but more on him in a bit because he deserves his own special paragraph in this one. With the exception of Julian Bennett, who I thought had a good night and was unlucky not to have scored in the first half, it's hard to pick a player out. McG huffed and puffed and Cohen worked hard. Perch didn't really let himself down and I was worried when I saw his name on the team sheet. Wilson had one or two worrying moments, but otherwise did OK. Holt wouldn't have scored in a month of Sunday's and Agogo looked tired, despite having a week off. Clingan and the rest were OK, without being spectacular. So where do our problems lie? Or more to the point, what is the cause of them? I for one, now believe the problem is with the manager.
Calderwood is incapable of sending out an attacking side, especially at home because he fears losing. If he sent the side out in the second half with the same intent as the first, the three points would have been ours for sure. But he didn't. We were a completely different team after the break. We were spineless and passionless. That has to be down to him. Whatever he said to them in the dressing room, it must have been the most demotivational speech ever. *Message to Calderwood. If we're playing well, say nowt.*
And so, onto the goal. Not wanting to be harsh. It was a goalkeeping gaffe. The ball ran across the box and Smith ran after it. He had it in his arms and conspired to drop it. End result, is it lands at the feet of Graham, who said 'Ta very much' and knocked it into an empty net. You could see whatever confidence the hapless number one had drain from his body, because he couldn't get a thing right after it. Morgan was to be seen screaming what I took to be harsh words at him on a number of occasions. He would start to come for balls and then retreat. He couldn't kick and he couldn't throw. The problem for us in all this, is he has no competition. Barry Richardson at 38 years of age and who has something of a calamitous reputation himself isn't the answer. Go and get a keeper Colin. We need one. The guys confidence is shot and he needs a rest. It will do him good. He is young and he has the potential to be a great keeper, but carrying on in this vein will do him and the club no good whatsoever.
So, what now? It's looking increasingly like the playoffs again and that's if we're lucky. To do that we need a striker or even two. But we don't look like getting them. Oh, and a keeper as well. I said weeks ago that it was Deja Vu and sadly that's looking like the truest thing I've said this year.
Finally a special mention to Mr. Martin Atkinson, our Premier League Referee. You were a joke mate. Countless decisions were wrong for both sides and it may sound like sour grapes, but most of them seemed to affect us. I hope we don't see you for a long time and that will probably be too soon.
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Date:Monday March 3 2008
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