0 - 1
The City Ground
Claridge (18 mins)
© Nottingham Forest 1999
Nottingham Forest 0 v 1 Portsmouth
What can I say? This was absolutely the worst performance I have ever seen from Forest. Worse even than the cup match away to Chesterfield a couple of years ago - and we were lucky enough to be there as well! With suspensions, injuries and a flu epidemic Bassett yet again put out a changed side - although admittedly this time he had no choice. Des Lyttle was called back to the squad this morning, but showed more commitment than the rest of the team who showed little enthusiasm and almost no ability. Portsmouth may lack a bit in the latter but had the enthusiasm and commitment that Forest lacked. Their goal came after 18 minutes, Peron making a good run and passing the ball to Claridge to put past Beasant. Once again the Forest defence were lacking. There may have been one shot on goal from Forest in the first half, but I can't remember it. The only hope was a good half time talk and a quick goal to lift the spirits for the second half.
But things got worse. Lyttle's good performance was rewarded by being substituted. And once again it was Freedman who went off instead of Shipperley for Harewood. The crowd - all 10,092 - could see that Bassett had it wrong. Portsmouth began to really believe they could hold on to the win and by the end were playing by far the most convincing football. And the match finished with the expected boos and cries of 'Sack the board' but this time there were also calls of 'Bassett out'. A small crowd held a protest in the car park. Bassett was apparently not well enough to attend the press call. A very sad day for Nottingham Forest and for the crowd who had wasted £15 per head to watch. Developments this week may well be interesting. We'll keep you posted.