It has been hard to keep up with the injuries this week and once again
David Platt has had to change the team. Both Lester and loan signing Upson
joined the walking wounded this week and Vaughan is suspended for two
matches. So Calderwood, Jones and John all join the starting line-up.
With the prospect of third or possibly second place with a win the pressure
was on the team for a win.
A full house thanks to the special £5 per ticket offer assured that there
would be a great atmosphere in spite of the wind and rain. And although
Huddersfield are rooted at the bottom of the division they have won their
last two matches and with Ndlovu in goalscoring form it was not going
to be a walkover. So, what went wrong?
Well, it was just a game too many in a week with so many injuries and
a heavy pitch to contend with. But you can't blame three goals on bad
weather and injuries. There isn't a lot to say about the first half. Neither
side showed a great deal of skill with Huddersfield booting the ball up
the pitch and Forest not getting the ball through to the front two.
Early on both Foy and Olsen got close with some good crosses. And Prutton
came close but shot over the bar. But Stern John looked far too slow and
we predicted he would not be coming out for the second half. Forest in
the end were lucky not to be going in at half time a goal down as Ndlovu
shot wide seconds before the whistle put us out of our misery.
Harewood started the second half for John and added life to the Forest
front line. But it was a near goal from Huddersfield, which clattered
off the post, which brought Forest and the crowd temporarily to life.
It looked for a few minutes as if Forest were going to take the game by
the scruff of the neck and get a result. They piled on the pressure and
the crowd roared. Marlon sent a ball across goal to Olsen who sent the
ball towards goal but the keeper pulled off a good save.
And it was only a couple of minutes later, on 56 minutes, that it all
went pear shaped. Out of nowhere Huddersfield lobbed the ball up the pitch,
Ndlovu got on the end of it and, with the defence nowhere to be seen,
sent the ball past Beasant.
Their second goal came on 60 minutes from a corner, but not before Ndlovu
nearly caught Beasant out again. And the third followed only a minute
later. So, within 5 minutes the game had fallen apart for Forest. And
it can only be blamed on the defence. Calderwood looked unfit, Edwards
had a poor match and Bart-Williams was just looking a bit too weary by
then. Forest's goal came on 69 minutes with Reid picking up a deflected
save and putting the ball past the keeper. For a while it looked like
Forest could get something out of the game. But by then only Olsen, Harewood
and Reid looked like they had the energy left. Marlon sent one shot flying
over and Olsen had a great shot on 87 minutes.
So 27,000 people went home unhappy. I really hope that it does not put
off those who came for the first time tonight. Because I don't really
feel that we saw the true Forest out there tonight and I can't even feel
angry that they missed a great opportunity to climb the table. Yes, the
defence were poor and they should not have let a side like Huddersfield
get the better of them by lobbing the ball up the pitch.
On the plus side Reid looks ever better and Olsen will at least be with
the Club long enough to help them through the Christmas matches. But it
is very worrying when you think of the number of players out injured -
Scimeca joined them tonight and will be out for 6 weeks and Lester is
going to be out for about three months. And whilst it is great to have
the youngsters to fall back on they need to rest or they too will be joining
the list. You could see tonight why Ndlovu was on Platt's shopping list.
He played well tonight as he did earlier in the season with Birmingham.
His pace at times was awesome and his skill in front of goal is something
Forest could do with desperately now.
Nottingham Forest 2000