Nottingham
Forest
  19th Aug
2000
Score
0-0
Venue:
Carrow Rd

Attendance:
18,059


Referee:
Mr S.Thomlin




 
Norwich City
   
Beasant   Marshall A
Louis-Jean     Fleming
Hjelde   Kenton
Doig   Derveld
Brennan   Sutch
Prutton   Marshall L
Scimeca   Russell
Bart-Williams     Mulryne
Rogers     Llewellyn
Jones Roberts
Lester Giallanza
Substitutes     Substitutes
Roche   Green
John   Forbes
Harewood   McVeigh
Vaughan De Waard
Gray   McGovern


© Nottingham Forest 2000


Match Report by Russ Parr
Ahh, the days. Forest v Norwich, one of the most eagerly anticipated fixtures in the football calendar…… or at least, a few scant years ago, it was. These days, we're talking about two provincial town clubs scrapping it out in the First Division with hope of not much more than mid-table mediocrity, a tilt at the play-offs being about the best either can expect.

So I'm pleased to be able to report that today was about as good as a 0-0 draw can be; attractive, flowing football, plenty of shots on goal, and lots of one touch football. Shame most of it was from Norwich.

Both teams went for the favoured English formation of 4-4-2, David Platt opening with the team that finished the game so strongly against West Brom. The first real opportunity fell to Iwan Roberts in the 11th minute when he buried Giallanza's through ball convincingly in the bottom corner of Dave Beasant's net, only to see the linesman flag for offside. The next ten minutes saw continued Norwich pressure, with Beasant saving well from a Craig Fleming shot and Darel Russell firing narrowly over from 22 yards, punctuated only by Alan Rogers' free kick over the bar. Dave Beasant was again called spectacularly into action in the 22nd minute to make a full length ground level save from Lee Marshall's 18 yard shot, with Forest's opportunities being severely limited by Jack Lester's propensity for wandering a yard offside.

Hjelde was replaced a mere 24 minutes into the game after a predictable injury - let's be honest, he's played a match and a quarter and is therefore well overdue an injury! To be fair, he and Doig had kept Roberts and Giallanza relatively quiet, but he was replaced by Tony Vaughan as he no doubt will be against Birmingham next week, David Platt admitting after the match that Hjelde was unlikely to be fit from his calf injury

. A scant seven minutes later a more concerning injury occurred to Riccy Scimeca, with a hamstring pull likely to keep him out for 3 or 4 weeks. His replacement was the much revered and yet much unproven Stern John, with Jones dropping back to midfield alongside Bart. Forest continued to hold out, and even created their first opportunity on goal through Prutton's searing volley from Alan Rogers' cross, which Marshall did very well to turn over the bar for a corner.

Forest came out with fire in their bellies for the second half, and Lester and John both had good opportunities that they spurned in the face of goal. In the 63rd minute Prutton was the unlucky recipient of Forest's first booking of the season when a 50/50 ball left him needing the magic sponge, and Derveld the stretcher. Three minutes later a first - Roberts disputed the referee's decision to give Forest a free-kick just inside the Norwich half, resulting in a booking for Roberts and a ten yard advance to give Rogers an opportunity to strike the ball from about 25 yards. Predictably enough, it was wasted.

Rogers had a shot deflected just wide of the post several minutes later, but most of the work was falling to Matthieu Louis-Jean at right back, who made a superb job of controlling the rolling advances of Llewellyn and De Waard (who had replaced Derveld) - unfortunately, his distribution was woefully short of the quality of his tackling. Beasant once again made a fantastic flying save from Fleming's header. The game then once again settled into a stalemate, both sides failing as they had all game to deliver the final ball for their forwards.

Unfortunately, the only other events worth reporting were two stupid bookings, but stupid for different reasons. Firstly, in the 85th minute Gary Jones, who had played a decidedly average game, chose to stick his leg out a yard in front of a Norwich free kick in the middle of the centre circle, the result being a predictable booking and another Forest first, the first ten yard advance being given against them. Lurch was then was then harshly booked for protesting against a corner decision that was impossible for me to call - and I was a good ten yards above the linesman on the same side of the field!

So, how did we do? There was good and there was bad, and player by player: Dave Beasant: Kept us in the game and almost singlehandedly responsible for us getting a point. Man of the Match by a country mile.
Jim Brennan: Good in the tackle and dependable, but poor going forwards. Alan Rogers: Very poor, not interested in the game and delivered maybe two meaningful balls all game. If he wants to play as a winger he's got to put in the effort, hugely disappointing overall.
Riccy Scimeca: Reasonable, no more, but unfortunately picked a worrying injury half an hour in.
Jon Olav Hjelde: Proved once again how he relishes playing against big, physical centre-forwards by marking Iwan Roberts out of the game until he was injured (surprise, surprise).
David Prutton: He's not a winger! Delivered a couple of gorgeous balls in from the right, but once again, wants to drift into his natural position in the middle. A reasonable performance, considering he's out of position (are you listening, Platty?).
Chris Bart-Williams: Like a fine wine, this man gets better as he gets older. Clearly relishing his new role as team captain, he orders the team about like he was born for the role. Due to be a huge influence this season.
Jack Lester: Ineffectual and out-muscled until substituted. To be fair to him, no-one played the balls over the top that he relishes when playing up front.
Gary Jones: a fairly anonymous game, won a couple of headers but created no danger, and showed his Aldridge tutelage with that ridiculous booking.
Matthieu Louis-Jean: An excellent game defensively, but distribution was poor. Still improving and an integral part of Forest's rock-solid defence.
Chris Doig: Better with every game he plays. Didn't miss a header all game against a fairly imposing front line and great to see Platt give him a place in the starting line-up. A real prospect.
Stern John: On for Riccy in the first half and looks a distance short of fitness. Continually half a yard short of pace, but wasn't given any service so hard to judge. First touch was very poor.
Tony Vaughan: On for Hjelde in the first half to predictable abuse from the Norwich fans, played a solid and unspectacular game. Did everything asked of him.
Andy Gray: On for Lester on the hour, played a very defensive right wing role to assist Louis-Jean. An astute decision by Platt, recognising that the threat came from Norwich's left flank, or just good calling from Gray? I'll go for the former.

In summary, both sides played well in the first two thirds of the field but failed to deliver the final ball. I think we would have seen Marlon but for the two first half injuries, and he could have added a new dimension to the Forest attack, but all in all, let's take stock. We're unbeaten in nine league fixtures (19 points from the last 27), we've not conceded a goal in the league this season, and we've still got Stern to come back to form. Norwich do not look a bad side (admittedly, they don't look like winning the division either), and we look like conceding very few goals. All in all - 4 points from 6 is acceptable. Bring on the Blues.

 


Copyright © 2000 Nottingham Forest F.C.