I listened to the radio on the way to the match today and
am pleased that I did. David Platt was being interviewed and
explained to me (and others) why Forest were so poor in the
second half against Swindon. Apparently, whilst he could not
fault their physical commitment to the cause, their minds
were tired! So, the lesson of the week is - if you don't want
to run around like a headless chicken, then you need to use
your body and your brain at the same time! Rocket science
it isn't so I was looking forward to seeing how well they
had got one with this new tactic.
Well, things just couldn't have started better. Forest win
the ball from the kick-off, Louis-Jean puts the ball neatly
over a Norwich player to Lester who keeps control well and
puts it in the back of the net. His first goal for the club
- in14 seconds! It must be Forest's quickest goal this season
- well, probably several seasons! A great start. Forest took
early control of the match with some nice attempts on goal
from Freedman and Lester and good work from Rogers and Prutton.
But gradually Norwich started to get back into the game. They
are not a pretty side to watch but they were winning the ball
too many times. Forest were playing 'head tennis' far too
much and just kept giving the ball away. And on 27 minutes
Norwich equalised. Louis-Jean, on his own at the back, was
unable to turn quickly enough to clear the ball. He mis-kicked
completely and ended up placing the ball perfectly for Roberts
From then on both sides really looked as bad as each other,
with only Lester getting a shot on goal. And I hate to go
on about the refereeing but it was not good. Lester was brought
down in the box but the ref played on. And on 40mins Scimeca
had a goal disallowed, presumably for offside. Norwich practiced
their diving and managed to convince the ref on a number of
occasions. Perhaps the Forest players should be taking acting
lessons - how to dive convincingly, writhe with pain on the
floor, and look outraged every time a player from the other
team comes within a yard of them. It seems to work for some
teams. The second half started in similar fashion and continued
so for the first 15 minutes.
But then, for a spell of about 10-15 minutes, Forest found
some form again. Freedman lobbed a ball just over on 60 minutes.
This was followed by some intense pressure from Forest, which
included three corners in succession. The crowd finally found
their voices and for a while it felt like being at a football
match. Quashie was sent off for a second bookable offence
- and for once I can't argue about that decision. Marlon came
on to cause his usual 20 minutes of mayhem for the Norwich
defence and also managed a yellow card for some needless retaliation.
Forest actually seemed to play better with only the 10 men,
with shots from Johnson and Rogers and a good free-header
from Freedman. Beasant made a great save in the 88th minute
to prevent Norwich from taking what would have been an undeserved
lead. So, it finished 1-1 and that seemed a fair result with
neither team deserving to win.
I'm off to Portsmouth on Saturday, yet another 'must win'
match, but even more so with only managing the one point tonight.