This Is As Bad As It Gets
April 8, 2008. 7.45pm
Apparently the 15,680 crowd, was the lowest attendance for a League game at the City Ground since 2001. This latest in a long line of sorry performances will do little to bring back the disenchanted, that are growing in number by the week. Tonight we struggled to get a 1-1 draw at home against a side doing their best to avoid relegation.
Fair play to Rovers, they put in a performance that belied their lowly League position. But the Reds put in a display that made a mockery of their's. Our 4th place standing and promotion aspirations have been given yet another kick in the teeth, as we once again failed to rise to the challenge. Two successive wins could not be bettered and another season in League 1 awaits.
We could have taken an early lead when Chambers forced a brilliant reaction save from Phillips with his bullet of a header. But then, the first of many defensive errors on the night came from Wilson who gave the ball away and allowed the visitors a clear shot on goal that was fortunately easily saved by Smith. Commons did well to force another save from the keeper with a shot on 19 mins, but it was the visitors who were looking the more dangerous.
Rovers winger David Haldane was to make a mug of Luke Chambers all night and almost took advantage of his slack marking when he failed to convert a pass from Pipe when he had the goal at his mercy. Phillips sprung into action again with a fine save from a Commons free kick as he tipped his effort over the bar.
The breakthrough for the Reds came from a McGugan free kick after Commons had been felled from about 30 yards out. McG hit an absolute thunderbolt that had the keeper rooted to the spot, as the ball flew passed him and into the top corner.
Garath McCleary replaced Agogo at the break and he once again looked a threat. Why he was dropped to the bench is a mystery, but that is just one of many mystifying things our manager seems to do. The visitors had a goal disallowed for offside, as Haldane once again made easy work of Chambers. Forest looked disjointed and whatever shape they had in the first half had disappeared. Lockwood looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights whenever the ball came anywhere near him. We were all over the place now and defensively in particular we looked a mess. The crowd were growing impatient as a catalogue of errors were unfolding before our eyes.
On 63 mins, Rovers got the equaliser they deserved. Steve Elliott sent his header passed Smith to send the visiting fans delirious. Lockwood was lucky not to have gifted them another, when his misplaced pass sent Pipe on his merry way. Pipe's pass to Williams was badly dealt with as the effort went well wide.
The game turned into a scrappy affair, with Rovers content with a draw and Forest content to still be in the game. Forest as the home side looked bereft of ideas and woefully short of confidence and any belief in their own ability. With 4 mins added time, you at least hoped they would go for it. But it was the same lethargic Forest that wandered around aimlessly, frightened of touching the ball. Commons was guilty of a squandering the points at the death as he sent a shot over the bar, when he had seemingly done all the hard work. Then just before the final whistle Rovers should have sealed it, but once again poor finishing let them down.
It's getting all too familiar with Forest now and it has to be said that promotion looks a long way off with this manager and this team. Tonight the team showed they are well short of being good enough, as did the manager with his team selection and tactics used to influence the game. The only things to be gleaned from this game tonight is that Rovers may be too good to go down, but Forest most certainly are not good enough to go up.