14th Oct


Mr M Ryan

Goal One
Bart-Williams pen 10mins
Goal Two
Rogers 24 mins
Goal Three
53 mins
Goal Four
Shipperley 67 mins
Goal Five
Shipperley 68 mins
Goal Six
Blake 69 mins
Goal Seven
Dyer 80 mins


Beasant   Miller

Louis-Jean Ward
Edwards Morgan
Doig Regan
Foy   Chettle
Scimeca Corbo
Johnson van der Laan
Bart-Williams Appleby
Rogers Woan
Blake Shipperley
Lester Dyer
Substitutes     Substitutes
Collis   McClare
Harewood L.Jones
Jones Barnard
Freedman O'Callaghan
Williams Sheron

Report by Bridport Red

Woke up this morning in London. Grey, raining, hang-over. Groan - do I really want to drive all the way to Barnsley? They have a 100% home record, we'll probably lose, and then I'll have to drive all the way home again depressed and annoyed.

Here we are, 14 hours later. Am I glad I did it? Apart from the fact that I now have no voice left, you bet! Just like the Palace away game last month, this match summed up exactly why we all do this travelling-round-and-shouting malarkey; this was a superb match which had almost everything. And once again Forest came away with the points after giving a few of their travelling fans palpitations on the way (yet another Big Up for the away fans, by the way - oh how I wish we could persuade our home thousands to make that much noise).

The suspensions to TV and Prutts forced a couple of changes - Riccy Scimeca into Prutts' right-sided midfield slot, and a welcome return for Chris Doig after injury. Dougie and Robbie Blake swapped places from bench to starting line-up.

Almost from the outset Forest grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck. For two seasons now Barnsley have been scoring bags of goals, especially at home, but also letting in far too many (last year they finished 4th but only the 3 relegated sides let in more goals) - we had clearly decided that we should persue the latter characteristic, and straight from the kick-off Jack and Robbie set out to chase down everything in the Barnsley final third, giving Miller, Chettle and Morgan no time to settle on the ball at any stage. The two forwards were well supported by our midfield performing a similar hustling role, and Barnsley clearly did not relish having no space or time to do anything. As a consequence for most of the first half they were reduced to hasty balls high up the middle, where the two Chrises, Edwards and Doig, simply won everything in the air. (After half time it was a different story, but we'll come to that...) 

First goal, 10 minutes gone. An excellent move involving an exchange of sweeping wing-to-wing passes from Blake to Tank and back ended up with Robbie advancing into the box. At this point I have to say that I part company with the brief report put out by the Webmaster earlier; I thought it was a clear penalty as (?)Morgan simply and deliberately left his leg in the way when Robbie pushed the ball past him. The ref was right on the spot and gave it without hesitation. In the interests of balance I should point out that it was at the far end from us and that my neighbour thought it wasn't a pen, so I guess you pays your money and you takes your choice. [Let me put it this way, in case any passing Tykes fans should be reading this: it was 200% more of a penalty than the one which gave them their dodgy 1-0 win at Oakwell last year, so maybe what goes around comes around...]

Needless to say, the home fans saw things in a slightly different light and booed loudly. Bart took not the slightest bit of notice and calmly sent Miller the wrong way.

Ten minutes later we scored again. Once again Robbie Blake was involved, this time feeding the ball perfectly into Jack's path on the edge of the box. Jack shot, Miller parried it... but straight in to the path of Rogers, who smacked it into the net like a rocket. 2-0, playing very well (best so far this season, in fact), half time.

For most of the first half Barnsley had been a very pale shadow of the team I have seen on the TV and who have amassed such an impressive home record. In fact they were poor - the boos from the home fans were getting pretty loud even from where we were sitting. We kind of assumed that Harry wouldn't let them play like that for both halves, and so it proved; in the second half they were a different team.

Not, however, before they found themselves 3-0 down. The actual scoring of our second goal was somewhat lucky; Robbie Blake's shot cannoned into the back of Bart's leg and the ball fell invitingly into Bart's path (he, of course, did not need asking twice and toe-poked it in). But the cause of the goal was some really impressive play by Forest for a good 2 minutes leading up to the moment we scored. Twice the ball came back to Miller, twice he found a Forest forward bearing down on him at speed and had to clear hastily. Barnsley simply couldn't get the ball out of their own half, and sure enough eventually a pass was misplaced, the excellent Robbie Blake snapped the ball up and a split second later we'd scored.

Frankly, that ought to have been it. But this is Forest we are talking about, so you don't seriously believe that we watched a gentle 35 minutes of stalemate as we cruised to a comfy win, do you?

Suddenly Barnsley began to play properly. Anyone remember a sluggish centre forward called Neil who managed one solitary goal for Forest in 20 appearances? You know, the one who had the trapping ability of a brick wall and the turning circle of a pregnant camel? Well Barnsley must have signed his talented twin brother, because the display of centre forward play we witnessed for the rest of the match was well beyond the capacity of the Shipperley who wore a tree on his red shirt; for the final 30 minutes he was excellent. (A pity for Barnsley that for the first hour he'd been instantly recognisable as the Forest pin-the-tail-on-the-Shippo version).

The change came when they stopped hoofing it up the middle (and as Jack and Robbie tired and afforded the home defence just a little more time to work out what to do with the strange round thing at their feet - incidentally, anyone who seriously thinks we miss Chet should have seen him today; Platty, you were dead right!). Instead the started playing it to feet, and suddenly Shippo began to turn Edwards and look dangerous, and Dyer started to live off slightly more than scraps as a result.

65 minutes, Barnsley 0 Forest 3. 68 minutes Barnsley 2 Forest 4. You will understand if the next bit sounds a bit breathless!

First they played a neat move through midfield and when the ball arrived on the left wing ML-J went missing for the only time in the match. A good cross, Shippo arriving a fraction of a second before Edwards (they clashed heads pretty hard as a result) and the ball was in the net. 1-3.

Then, a minute later, came the first of our only two errors of the day; a long through ball on the ground, Lurch came out, the retreating defenders and he contrived to get in each other's way and the ball found itself at Shippo's feet beyond the stranded keeper. Shipperly still had a fair amount to do, but did it with aplomb and suddenly it was 2-3 and we were visibly creaking. Not sure exactly whose fault this goal was, but it was certainly sloppy in the extreme. No, get off the fence, Brid - it was hideous!

However, we were then treated to the sight of something we haven't seen for months. Forest went straight up the other end and scored. Lovely curling ball (Bart's, I think) into the wide left channel for Jack to run onto. He took it on but the angle was extremely narrow. Jack resisted the temptation to shoot, however, instead playing an inch perfect pass which neatly took both the defender and keeper out of the game. Robbie Blake arrived at speed to sweep the ball gleefully home.

So, 3 goals in as many minutes and Forest had just about steadied a wildly rocking ship. The moment they scored their second goal my heart sank - I could see us tossing away a three-goal lead and even going on to lose. But after our fourth goal, even though they did score again through the dangerous Bruce Dyer, and even though Shipperly mounted a one-man vendetta against our defence, going close more than once, for some strange reason I wasn't too worried. We held out - not entirely comfortably, it must be said.

It ought to have been comfortable, though - yet another incisive counter attack on our part saw Jack advancing one-on-one with the keeper, but (just as against the Baggies on the first day of the season) he curled it agonisingly round the keeper into the side netting; our second mistake of the day, because at 5-2 there really would have been no way back. Jack ought to have scored, but his all-round contribution today was so excellent that I am prepared at least partly to forgive him.

A breathless but ultimately deserved win, then; even the Barnsley fan I talked to in the pub admitted that a draw would have been very harsh on Forest.

Good points? For an hour or so this was the best we have played all season. Crisp passing, solid at the back, terrific movement up front which made Chettle look familiarly ordinary, high-energy pressuring of the opposition when they had the ball, making it hard for them to get out of their own half. No-one played badly or anything like it (this was another good TEAM performance), but Rogers, Johnson, Bart, Foy and especially Blake really stood out. For my money Blake was man of the match by a mile; he was closely involved in all four of our goals, never stopped running all afternoon (he has clearly done a lot of productive work on his fitness), and led their defence a nasty dance wih the ball at his feet. Excellent - if he can play like this every week, let's sign him up sharpish now he's fit.

Bad points? Comedy second goal (which so nearly changed the complexion of the entire game). And our now familiar ability to play really well for an hour or so and then end up hanging on at the end. I know that this pressing game must be very tiring, but still the manager will want to find a way to get us a routine and comfortable away win rather than the rather too exciting multi-goal thrillers we've seen in recent weeks!

Finally, a point which I know will get howls of disbelief in Barnsley. I thought the ref was excellent today (the home fans, needless to say, hated him for daring to give a penalty against them - to which I reply with the words "Craig", "Dive" and "Hignett"). He let the game flow whenever possible by actually applying the advantage rule (how revolutionary in the modern game!), he made the reasons for his decisions clear for all to see, he talked to the players and diffused one or two potentially ugly incidents with a word in someone's ear rather than a rash of cards (it was by no means a dirty game), and when a couple of naughty tackles did take place (by both sides), he took note of it, waited until the game stopped and then went back to admonish or caution the player. The only thing I thought was petty was his booking of Jack for over-celebrating our fourth goal, but they have been directed to do that so fair enough, I guess. Good common sense stuff (the assessor probably hated it because he was not enough of a Jobsworth for modern tastes, but there you go!)

[It was also nice to see Harry Bassett so sporting in defeat - he applauded the Forest fans and made a point of congratulating Tank and Bart. Good on you, Harry - we definitely don't want you back, but at least you are still a decent bloke!]

Last season we managed 5 away wins, 3 of them in the final month. This season are away record now reads P6, W4, D1, L1.

Now let's do it at home!

© Nottingham Forest 2000



Copyright © 2000 Nottingham Forest F.C.