Nottingham
Forest
  6th
November
1999
Score
0-1
Venue:
Carrow Rd

Attendance:
15,818

Referee:
Mr Roger Fernandez

Goal 1
Such 26 mins










 
Norwich
   
Crossley     Marshall A
Louis-Jean     Kenton
Chettle     McKay
Hjelde     Jackson
Brennan     Milligan
Petrachi Forbes
Prutton     Marshall L
Woan     Roberts
Johnson     De Blasiis
Freedman   Sutch
Bart-Williams     Eadie
Substitutes     Substitutes
Beasant   Llewellyn
Freeman   Dalglish
Gray     Angelin
Williams     Green
Cooper     Fuglestad

© Nottingham Forest 1999



Report by Bridport Red (One day we will tell you how this report came in!)

Forest (4-4-2): Crossley: Louis-Jean, Hjelde, Chettle (c), Brennan: Petrachi (Gray 55), Johnson, Prutton, Woan: Freedman, Bart-Williams.
Subs not used: Beasant, Cooper, Williams, Freeman Gordon Bennett.

How much longer? Take a step back and look at the last four games. Two 1-1 draws at home (Bolton and Stockport) and two 1-0 defeats away (Barnsley and now Norwich). I didn't think we played that brilliantly against Stockport, but we should have won it in the final minute. In the other three games we have played pretty well at times. With a decent strike force I think it is no exaggeration to say that we would have won all three, probably comfortably. Instead we are looking at 2 points from a possible 12.... and that is relegation form.
Now I have been urging people not to panic and even think about the R-word. I still do - I genuinely don't think that we will go down, or even be anywhere remotely near it when we get to March and April. (I hesitate to use the dreaded phrase "too good to go down", because I seem to remember that being said of us before...) But I find myself saying for the third week running that we DESPERATELY need a striker or two.

Obviously Platty knows this as well as the rest of us - he has been trying hard enough to get one in (and wasn't it an entertaining week following the rampaging arguments on the web about the merits or otherwise of Stanley Collymore?). Rumours abound - the club still seem pretty confiedent of signing Stern John, for instance - but however good he is he will need a break after a long US season, and it is bound to take him time to adjust to English football. So in my opinion we need someone else as well - and soon, because until Platty succeeds in persuading someone who can stick the ball in the net to play for us, we are going nowhere.

On the other hand, once he does succeed in beefing up our attack, there are (despite frustrating recent results) the makings of a decent side here.... Today. I can only assume that we have a few injuries that the fans were unaware of, because Tank was still absent (which we knew about) and so were Riccy Scimeca and Marlon (which we didn't). So Johnno returned (quicker than certainly I was expecting after so long out) and Woan played his first 90 minutes since I can't remember when. As he has done with some success in the past (more success than he had today, frankly), Bart played up front alongside Dougie.

David Freeman continued on the bench, and alongside him there was our first sight of the highly-promising midfield player Gareth Williams - though neither got onto the pitch. We started off like a train; in the first ten minutes I counted 8 attempts at goal from us, with Woan, Johnson, Prutton and Petrachi all going close with long-range drives and Dougie narrowly failing to beat the advancing keeper with a lob. Jim Brennan was getting forward more than at Barnsley (and showing some frightening pace - I can't wait to see him and Tank in tandem) and generally we looked by far the better side.
My neigbour had just said to me "we need a goal to show for this pressure", when we got a goal - at the wrong end. Eadie got clear on the left, his cross was deflected by Louis-Jean's challenge, seemed to take an age to come over, was allowed to bounce by the central defenders and finally came to Daryl Sutch on the right corner of the 6-yard box. He just smacked it, it took a little deflection off the closing-down Brennan and flew past Norm into the net. Sigh. Where have we seen this before? We rocked back onto our heels, they grew in confidence and ran at us for the rest of the half. But Norm still only had one more save to make before half time.

After half time we were more aggressive again. Luca was starting to tire and was replaced for the final half hour by Andy Gray, who played well - more as an out-and-out winger than Luca, but taking people on well out wide, showing some good pace and determination, and not least putting over several dangerous crosses.... with no-one on the end of them. For the final 25 minutes we pressed and pressed, with Norwich occasionally looking dangerous on the counter-attack (though once again Norm had only one serious save to make, a blinder from Iwan Roberts when clean through). Marshall saved well from Louis-Jean and brilliantly from Prutton, Bart had a free kick which had direction but no power, Brennan showed us he can use both feet with a drive from outside the box, Johnno hit the post with a header from a corner and fired over twice, and Andy Gray rolled an inviting ball along the six-yard line which no Forest player got anywhere near. For the final 15 minutes Hjelde and Chet took it in turns to stay up and augment the attack.
But - you've guessed it - though Norwich's defence was looking more and more desperate, they held out. And then... in injury time, after all that, we finally got the clear cut chance we needed. Marshall made a total hash of a kick from his hands, having it charged down by Bartman. The ball rebounded to Freedman 20 yards out, and we had Dougie, Chet and Bart advancing on the box in a line without a defender in sight. Dougie had worked his socks off until then, but I am afraid to say that when the chips were down he panicked (presumably thinking he had far less time than in fact there was). He didn't advance to take it round the keeper, nor draw him out and then square it to Bart. He shot first time, scuffed it wide of the far post and the chance was gone. Seconds later so was the final whistle. Cue, of course, resounding (and for once understandable) boos of frustration from the fans.

There were some good things today - Brennan had a terrific game; good going forward, decent crossing, able to shoot and sound in defence; my Man of the Match. At one point Eadie (hardly the slowest player in the world) popped up on the right and got past Brennan as he slipped. I was just about to put my head in my hands when Brennan showed awesome pace to get back to him and put it out for a corner. On the evidence of his first two games, a bargain. Johnno understandably still looks a bit ring-rusty, but he still showed enough drive and enough of those trademark runs into the box to show why we have missed him. Luca is coming back towards full fitness gradually. Gray, as I have mentioned, played well for the final 25 minutes. Woan, though he hasn't exactly added pace to his armoury during his long absence, played well enough. But (and it is a HUGE "but"), we can have players who make good runs down either side, players who can cross, players who get forward from midfield etc until we are blue in the face.... but unless and until we have someone who can get on the end of all this stuff and bang it in, we are going to continue to struggle. We played easily well enough to get a point today. Not for the first time.

Yet again we ended up with nothing. It can't go on.

 

 


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