Failure To Take Chances Seals Forest Defeat
Despite having the lions share of possession over the 90 mins and the better chances to win the game, it was the visitors from Blackpool that went home with the points. Although the 1-0 scoreline may have flattered the Seasiders, it was the team selection, tactics and substitutions of manager Billy Davies, that really lost it for Forest today.
There's no doubting that Billy Davies has transformed things on Trentside since arriving last January, but today he must hold his hands up and simply say he got it wrong. An inform Paul Anderson, was relegated to the bench, despite being in the best form of his Forest career. The gaffer will no doubt say the lad needed a rest, but to replace him with Chris Cohen, was major mistake number one. Davies' second mistake of the afternoon, was partnering Earnshaw with McGoldrick. The pairing simply didn't work. Earnshaw was virtually playing the lone striker role, with McGoldrick coming from deep. Neither were to see much of the ball, although Earnshaw could have had a brace before the break, had he been more clinical in front of goal.
It was Earnshaw who had the first real chance of the game, when he beat the Pool defence, only to be beaten to the ball by the sharpness of Rachubka in the visitors goal. Chris Cohen should have buried a header moments later, but his tame effort went straight into the arms of the keeper. The only Forest player to come out of the afternoon with any real credit, was Chris Gunter. He sent countless balls into the heart of the visitors penalty area, but all too often was let down by a lack of Red shirts, or a resolute Pool defence.
Another decent cross from the Gunter found Earnshaw unmarked in the box. Although the striker had plenty of time, he headed the ball once again straight into the arms of the grateful Rachubka. Blackpool then took an unlikely lead and it was as soft a goal as you're likely to see. Moussi lost the ball in the middle of the park, after being out muscled by a man half his size in Charlie Adam. After running with the ball unchallenged to the edge of the Forest box, he didn't seem to know what to do. With few options open to him to pass, Adam continued to push forward, again totally unchallenged by a Red shirt and decided to have a shot from the edge of the area. It was the right decision by Adam, as the ball flew past Camp and into the net, to give the visitors a lead that they would never lose. Forest then had three chances in quick succession to draw level, as Rachubka twice saved from Earnshaw and Moussi, with a rebound from Earnshaw cleared off the line.
The break couldn't come quick enough for the fans, who had to witness some shocking football after the goal. Passes were going astray and the basics of footballing skills seemingly lost. When the lads did return for the second half, it was surprisingly with no change in personnel.
The second half performance from Forest was much the same as the first. Scrappy and disjointed, but with plenty of chances. Gunter continued to deliver pin pont crosses into the box, with Tyson on the other flank chipping in with the odd one as well. Davies wasn't in any rush today to make any changes and waited until 64 mins to replace Moussi with Blackstock. Although McGoldrick was largely ineffective, he stayed on the pitch until the 74th minute, when he was replaced by McGugan. It was a double substitution, that saw Earnshaw go off for Adebola. There were one or two looks of disbelief in the crowd, but bringing Adebola on did show some sign of intent, if a little too late.
Fair play to Blackpool, they committed themselves well. Forest on the other hand have more questions than answers. The rotation system being employed by the manager at present is all well and good, but he needs to get the right selection first. For a man who lives by the adage of no square pegs in round holes, he appeared to throw that belief out of the window today. Hopefully this is a one off, because we did look to be showing great signs of improvement. The one positive we can take from the game, is the fact that we did create chances and plenty at that. But, if this isn't a one off, then we're heading for trouble once again. In Billy we trust. I still think he'll get it right.