Watford Expose Forest Defensive Woes
Nottingham Forest lost 4-2 at home last night to a Watford side that showed just how defensively inept the Reds' are. Although the 19,000 crowd witnessed another horror show from referee Mr. Anthony Bates, he was not entirely to blame for Forests' downfall.
Billy Davies opted for Blackstock and Earnshaw to start with up front last night and the early omens were good. McGugan replaced Majewski in midfield, to make three changes from the side that earned a harsh defeat at the weekend to West Brom. The game lacked the crisp and incisive passing, that was so much in evidence at the weekend and despite trying to play the ball on the deck, too many pases were going astray throughout.
The first chance of the night fell to Paul Anderson, who forced a decent save from a fierce shot out of the Watford keeper. But the Hornets were soon on the counter as Tommy Smith, who just loves to score against us, showed how lacking this defence is, when unmarked on the edge of the box he pulled a great save out of Lee Camp, when his shot was pushed out for a corner. The visitors should have taken the lead on the quarter hour mark, when Ross Jenkins headed over from close range. He seemed to have an open goal, but thankfully his header was poorly timed.
Lewis McGugan had to be stretchered off after only 25mins, with a fractured cheekbone. He'll be out for sometime, which will be another blow for the Reds'. He was replaced by Majewski. This change disrupted the play from a Forest perspective, as the visitors took control of the game. Forest were all over the place and Danny Graham made the most of some slack defending at the back to head the Hornets into the lead.
As the half drew to a close, Forest began to claw their way back. The equaliser came from some neat build up play, that saw Dexter Blackstock scramble the ball over the line to restore the parity at the break. The 1-1 scoreline at the interval was just about fair, but the warning signs were there, that the lads had to be more committed. Unfortunately, as the second half proved....they were not.
Forest may have been posing something of a threat in attack, but at the back we were quite frankly a mess. Lynch and Cohen were having a mare and the Watford side to their credit exploited it. Cohen was all too often being pulled out of position, which left Lynch to pick up the pieces which he invariably failed to do. Cohen on this evidence is no leftback and on this showing, Lynch is no centre half. This is where our biggest problems lie and until it's sorted out, they will continue.
It took until the 75th min for Watford to regain the lead and it was another defensive mistake that gifted it to them. That man Smith scored it from a freekick that went off the post and into the path of the unmarked Smith. He headed into an empty net to increase the visitors lead. The Hornets were on a roll and David McGoldrick the Reds' striker had to turn defender, when he cleared another goalbound effort from Watford off the line.
Dele Adebola picked up his first goal for us and it was a decent one as well. A good ball from McGoldrick, saw him skip passed the Watford defence and slot the ball passed Loach. It was one of only a handful of bright moments, in on otherwise dreadful night for the Reds'.
With five mins of injury time given, you hoped this would rally the lads, but it was the visitors who struck the final blow. Cohen, Lynch and Morgan, were all at fault as each failed to make the all important tackle, or even challenge in the box. It was Cleverley who took advantage of our own ineptitude and smashed the ball high into the net, to make it a thoroughly miserable night for the fans. Take nothing away from Watford, they wanted this more than us. They may not have deserved such a convincing scoreline from their performance, but we deserved it for ours'.