Good, Bad &The Cobblers
December 15, 2007
Today the Reds displayed all the characteristics they have become synonymous with over the past few seasons and all in a 90 minute showing of what's good and bad with the side. It was a freezing afternoon for the 17,000 who braved it and one that will go down as a game we should have had won by the half time break but didn't and also one that we may just think we were lucky to get a draw from.
The game got off to a slow start for Forest as they found it hard to find their rhythm. The Cobblers seemed content to try their luck at long range and speculative efforts, as Paul Smith's goal came under a series of mis cued and poorly targeted shots. When the Reds did get going, they showed some determined play and seemed to be able to ping the ball around at will. This was also interrupted with some of the more sloppy play we are accustomed with, as Forest showed they were equally adept at passing the ball as they were in giving it away.
Commons had the first real chance for the Reds. Out of nothing he fashioned a shot from outside the box, by turning on a sixpence and unleashing a bullet that rattled the bar. Tyson rushed in to try and pick up the pieces, but was just beaten to the ball by the Cobblers defence. Ten minutes later though, the Reds had the lead they had been threatening to take. Perchio hit a brilliant cross field ball that found KC out on the wing. His pinpoint ball to the edge of the box found the on rushing McGugan. He hit a fierce drive well past Bunn to put Forest one up as it was beginning to look like plain sailing.
Tyson could have done better with an effort that was blocked by the visitors. KC hit the resultant rebound just over the bar. Forest then had a series of corners that caused havoc in the Town backline. McGugan nearly scored from his first with a vicious in swinger. The second was almost an own goal from Hubertz and the third had them scrambling for the ball, with Town managing to get the all important clearance.
Just before the break both Perch and Tyson went close with shots that just missed the target, but when the break did arrive you felt the home side were worthy of the lead and justifiable in the belief that the second half would reap more rewards for us. Northampton though had other plans. They obviously came out and decided to give it a go. They were more intent on getting something from the game than Forest. The Reds went about their business in such a way that they must have thought it was job done. But the job was far from done. Hubertz sounded the alarm bells with a good shot that Smith did well to push away. They got the reward for their efforts on the hour mark. Lockwood committed the cardinal sin of giving the ball away in his own half and not for the first time in the game. Gilligan sent a dangerous ball into the box and the Reds defence went AWOL. Hubertz got a foot on the ball and it was 1-1 and all of a sudden Forest were on the back foot. Forest hit back when McGugan picked the ball up in his own half and ran at the Town defence. As they stood off him, he let rip with a shot that had Bunn scrambling and ended up seeing his effort deflect off the bar for a corner.
Forest had gone from dominating the game, to being second best. They were all over the place. Not wanting to be too critical (but sod that), but Breckin our club captain was all over the place. He was late in the tackle and leaving men unmarked everywhere, as the visitors grew in confidence. They almost got a deserved second when Henderson seemed clear of the Reds defence. But Wilson put in a perfectly timed tackle to deny him the shot. Forest had taken their foot off the gas and were being punished for it. Town really fancied their chances now and got their deserved second in the 65th min.
Breckin was found wanting again as a Bowditch through ball had us in no mans land. Jones ran onto it and hit a great shot that left Smith in a mess, as it hit the post and caught him on the back of the head to rebound into the net. 2-1 to the Cobblers and you had to admit they had earned it.
This forced Calderwood to make changes. To the annoyance and dismay of the crowd, he brought on Agogo for Commons. Then the man who had supposedly signed for us last season, Crowe. Hit a shot that looked to be going in, only for Smith to help it over the bar. Holt came on for Cohen as the Reds finally woke from their slumber and began to look like they actually gave a damn. The equaliser came in the 89th min from a McGugan corner. His cross was met by a jumping Agogo, who beat the Cobblers defence to head the ball home and give the City Ground crowd (what was left of it) a rousing last five minutes.
I say rousing last five minutes, but it wasn't really. Forest had settled for the draw. The crowd urged them forward, but they seemed to refuse. This was very much a Jekyll and Hyde performance today. One that you wouldn't want to see repeated too often. Although they showed character in coming back from being 2-1 down, they should have never have been in that position in the first place. A draw was a fair result, but Northampton will be the happier side.