Forest Fade After Promising Start
A crowd of just under 25,000 turned up for the first home game of the season, to witness a Jekyll and Hyde performance from the Reds'. For the first 20 minutes it was Forest at their irresistible best, but as the game developed it became more of a dull fest, with neither side able to create many chances.
Forest started very brightly and from the whistle were making in roads on the Leeds defence. Good work between Cohen and Gunter, saw Majewski force a decent save from Schmeichel. Majewski was involved in most of the early exchanges and was instrumental in everything we did early on.
The opening goal came after only 9 minutes and it was from another well delivered cross from Gunter. Blackstock did the cross justice and glanced the ball home, to put the Reds' deservedly one up. Earnshaw went close moments later, when his well struck shot hit the post. This was vintage stuff from the lads and it had the home crowd roaring them on. Shame it wasn't to last, because after that Forest faded and for some inexplicable reason totally went off the boil.
It took Leeds nearly 25 minutes to register their first foray into the Reds' half and it was only thanks to some brave goalkeeping from Camp that they didn't level the scores, after he had to dive at the feet of Becchio to beat him to the ball. Both sides were guilty of giving the ball away needlessly and it was from one such poorly made pass by Wes Morgan that the visitors got their equaliser. Wes played a square ball across the goal that was intercepted by Leeds and passed out to the wing. The well delivered cross into the box was met by Lloyd Sam, who glanced the ball into the Reds' net to draw the sides level. The half drew to a close with neither side offering much in the way of goalmouth action, but plenty in the way of misplaced passes.
It was hard to understand how we had gone from playing such free flowing football in the early stages, to a team that couldn't string two passes together by the time the half time whistle blew. The scoreline at the interval was a fair one, but you were left feeling that if Forest had carried on the way they had started, then the visitors would have been put to the sword.
The first half might have ended poorly, but the second was to be just as bad and for long periods, even worse. Both sides gave the ball away too easily and the game became a series of misplaced passes, free kicks and throw ins. Rather disappointingly, the home crowd fell silent and the visiting hordes from Leeds grew louder. You could feel the tension growing amongst the home support, which wasn't helped when Leeds had two chances go begging. Forest were offering little and whilst the visitors didn't offer much more, it was they who looked the more likely to add to the scoreline.
In an effort to shake things up, Davies made a couple of substitutions. McCleary replaced Anderson and a few minutes later Tyson came on for the now ineffective Majewski. They didn't make much difference in all honesty. Leeds continued to look the more threatening and after putting the Forest defence under alot of pressure they won a free kick. Fortunately, the well hit shot from Watt, went narrowly wide of the goal.
Camp needed treatment for a cut to his head, after claiming a cross and going to ground. A fracas then broke out, in which both Watt and Gunter went into the book. To be honest, I didn't see what happened, but there were arms and legs flying with both sets of players getting involved. It appears the ref didn't see anything either, because if he had then Gunter should have apparently walked for stamping on Watt's foot.
For a game to start so well from a Forest perspective and then to end so poorly, it left you feeling a little deflated at the final whistle. There will be many positives to take away from the game and give us hope for the rest of the season, but once again we seem to be making the same mistakes in possession as last year and on that we have to improve. A couple of new signings would certainly give us all a lift and freshen up the team. But alas they look to be no nearer arriving, than they were this time last week.