30th Sept
The City Ground


Mr R.D. Furnandiz

Goal One

Beasant   Oakes
Louis-Jean   Muscat
Edwards Naylor
Vaughan Robinson
Foy   Bazeley
Prutton Branch
Johnson Sinton
Bart-Williams Green
Rogers Lescott
Freedman Dinning
Lester Proudlock
Substitutes     Substitutes
Roche   Stowell
Harewood Andrews
Jones Camara
Scimeca Al-Jaber
Blake Epesse Titi

The Bridport Red Report:
Someone wake me up if I nod off, please....

A few facts (there were only a few worth reporting): -

Forest unchanged from the Grimsby game. - 2 shots on goal in the first half, both from Forest; first Jack wriggled free on the edge of the box and fired for the top corner - very good save from Oakes; then a Bart free kick was charged down. - Second half started brighter but soon subsided back to soporific mediocrity. Neither side seriously looked like scoring, despite efforts from Jack, Johnno, Foy and Blake. We were probably marginally more threatening, but both Oakes and Lurch could have lit large cigars at 4 o'clock and not been too worried. - The manager afterwards reckoned that in the second half "we dominated and played well". Not entirely certain whether I was watching the same match. - Branch booed throughout. - Uhhh. That's it.

The word that springs to mind loud and clear after this match is "ordinary". Both sides are OK - not crap, not brilliant; just ordinary. In general we cancelled one another out; two defences which on the whole played well, two midfields which couldn't take the game by the scruff of the neck, two attacks which worked hard but very rarely looked like scoring. It was a very ordinary game of football. With 15 minutes to go I was bored.

I am not sure what Platty is meant to do with this lot - and this week I really think it is the players who we should be asking questions of; apart maybe from bringing Marlon on instead of Jones for the final few minutes, I can't think of anything that I would have done today that the manager didn't. The players played well last week at Grimsby and won at a canter; all of them were fit; Platty must have been very happy to name an unchanged side (only Stern missing from the bench as he flies off to join the Trindad squad). Yet this week, except at the back, they look a different (and lesser) side. Why?

There were some positives to take from today, certainly. Keith Foy (my Man of the Match) enhanced the excellent impression he made on his debut last week - solid, strong and uncomplicated at the back, able to deliver a dangerous dead ball (he took all of our corners) and this week more adventurous going forward. If he keeps this up you simply can't see him losing his place. Good to see - and his very warm reception from the fans suggests that I am not alone in this assessment. Nice one, Mr Hart (and Mr Foy).

Christian Edwards also continues to play beyond our expectations (mine, anyway). OK, so today he did commit one hideous mistake near the end in passing across the face of our box straight to a Wolves forward, but at least he redeemed himself by getting back in time to make the block and win the ball back. Apart from that he won absolutely everything in the air and most things on the ground.

ML-J was solid, and TV excellent at the back until he turned his ankle over and had to go off injured (probably embarrassed, too, since he injured himself when contorting his body to head over the Wolves bar from 2 yards after a Tank free kick. It wouldn't have counted as it was offside, but still.....). Riccy, after a shaky start, settled well - winning the ball by nipping in after reading the play quickest and then surging forward to set things moving (someone had to!).
But, as a neighbour remarked at the end, you know things are not firing all that well in midfield when the only three dangerous attacks in the final 15 minutes of a home game are initiated by Foy, Scimeca and Louis-Jean.

I suppose there are two ways of looking at this, depending on your point of view:-

Either you can look at the table and take heart from the fact that we are well in touch with the important bits despite not playing well today. Continue our away form and improve at home and we should easily be there or thereabouts come April.

- Or you can look at our results so far and confess that we have beaten three sides who are really struggling (Palace, Wednesday and Grimsby), drawn with 2 who are hardly setting the world on fire (Norwich and Wolves) and lost convincingly to three sides who looked a LOT better than us for long periods. That only leaves the Baggies game where we bucked the trend - and we all know how tight that was.

For long periods of last season we were poor. We have certainly improved - but an improvement from "poor" to "ordinary" is not going to get us where we need to be. To my eyes it is plain (and has been for weeks) that we badly need strengthening up front (Jack, Dougie and Blake all did OK today, but they are all pretty similar and look good for 10 goals a season rather than the 20+ we need). That strengthening might well come from a fit and confident Stern - but how long is it since we saw one of those? If Stern doesn't recover his form, or worse still picks up another injury, can you seriously see us scoring enough goals? I know I can't.

The other area of concern is on the wings - both of our wingers are playing out of position, and frankly it shows; Tank's crossing is more than erratic and Prutts just ain't a winger at all (excellent young player - potentially a great one in due course, but crying out to play in the middle). It will be interesting to see what happens when Ben Olsen arrives.

We have improved, but nothing like enough yet if we are earnest in our desire to go up. Not being bad is certainly a start - but we all expect a little more than that, and I don't think that's unreasonable. Since we beat Swindon at home in early March, our long-suffering fans have seen only 2 wins in 10 home games; is it any wonder that they become restless as they did in the closing stages today?

Ah well. Eminently forgettable, very ordinary - next home game Watford, and we'll need to play better than that.

© Nottingham Forest 2000



Copyright © 2000 Nottingham Forest F.C.