Forest 1-4 Hammers.
Those who thought the first 70 minutes of the Leicester game was as bad as it could get, were made to think again following an even more shambolic performance in this 4-1 home defeat to West Ham. Whilst manager Steve McClaren will rightly claim his threadbare squad is still a work in progress, he will have been disappointed to say the least with some of the individual errors made by his players today.
I`ll put my hands up straight away and say that when I saw the Forest line up for this game, I was as happy as I could be with McClaren`s selection and whilst not completely satisfied with the inclusion of Cohen at left back again, I could understand why the manager had put him there. I was delighted to see he had gone for a front two pairing of Miller and Findley and it has to be said, they did as well as they could in the game with the very limited service they had. With the midfield packed with Greening, Boateng, Majewski and McGugan, on paper I thought this was a side that would give the Hammers a game. I couldn`t have been more wrong.
For the first 30 minutes, Forest actually looked quite good when going forward, the problem was that by then, we were already 3-0 down! The first goal came on 21 minutes from some comical defending and a howler of a mistake from Luke Chambers. A low ball into the box, that should have been easy enough to deal with was inexplicably tapped into his own net by the Forest captain. If that wasn`t bad enough, the Hammers doubled their lead 4 minutes later, when Kevin Nolan headed in unmarked in the 6 yard box, to put the visitors 2-0 to the good.
Somewhere amidst the horror show being played out on live TV, the Reds` had what I thought at the time was a good penalty shout turned down, when Miller went down in the box. Lewis McGugan also went close when some good work down the left, ended with him curling a decent looking shot just over the bar. Young Lewis also went close after combining well with Majewski and Gunter, but his shot fired off the post and went out for a goal kick. Just as you thought we may have weathered the storm and might be mounting a comeback, Carlton Cole put the game out of sight, when once again from an unmarked position inside the box, he rose to head the ball home to put his side 3-0 up.
By the time the half time whistle came, most Forest fans were in a state of utter bemusement. For the second game running, I had to partake in the one thing I swore I`d never do again and purchase an overpriced, lukewarm bottle of beer, from the understaffed and disinterested spotty faced barman. Never again.
McClaren made his first change 12 minutes after the restart, replacing Boateng with Lynch and moving Cohen to midfield. That was about 30 minutes too late in my book, but the change was made. Soon after his first substitution, McClaren made 2 more, with Derbyshire and Reid, replacing Majewski and McGugan. With 70 minutes played, the Reds` got a goal back and it came from some neat play between Lynch and Cohen down the left. Lynch put in a decent cross and it was headed home from close range by striker Robbie Findley. It was nice of the West Ham support to join in the celebrations, as there`s nothing quite like away fans taking the piss.
West Ham got their 4th goal on 77 minutes, when the Forest defence were once again found wanting. Not for the first time in the game, a high ball into the box from a corner, had the Reds` back line at sixes and sevens. It was like watching a car crash in slow motion at times, as once again we failed to clear the ball. Winston Reid popped up to slot the ball in the net, to send his side home with another 3 points on the road.
Much will have been said and written as to why we have turned from a top 6 Championship side, to one that looks no better than a mid table one at best in such a short space of time, but the lack of investment in the squad, the wholesale release of 7 players from last seasons` team and the failure to adequately replace them and the fact that certain members of the current first team squad simply aren`t good enough, would be a good place to start. We now have 3 days left in this frustrating summer transfer window and 3 days for the Chairman Nigel Doughty to give his manager the tools he needs to do his job. A left back, a centre back and a winger are essential, if NFFC hope to be mixing it with the top 6 come the end of this campaign. A failure to deliver on either of those fronts, will signal further frustration and turmoil for the rest of this season.
Forest: Camp, Cohen, Morgan, Chambers(C), Gunter, Majewski(Derbyshire 64min), Greening, Boateng(Lynch 58min), McGugan(Reid, 64min), Findley, Miller
Subs not used: Smith, Garner
Bookings: Boateng 38min, A Reid 89min,
Scorer: Findley 70min
West Ham: Green, O'Brien, McCartney, Tomkins, Reid, Noble, Collison(Faye 75min), Nolan, Taylor, Faubert, Cole(Piquionne, 68min)
Subs not used: Boffin, Stanislas, Carew
Bookings: Nolan 72min, Faubert 89min
Scorers: Chambers og 21min, Nolan 25min, Cole 32min,W Reid 77min
Referee: G Salisbury