As the old cliché goes, "It's a funny old game"
This report should be one of a celebration of great win from the
amount of pressure Forest put on Oxford; instead it is one of frustration.
On a cold and very wet night, Forest managed to dominate the game
for 80% of the game and yet came away with draw. It was a very small
crowd, but they made more noise than the previous two home games.
Forest played the first half at breakneck speed, passing the ball
on the ground for once, and using the wings to good advantage. Brennan
and Gray were both patrolling the wings, something we haven't seen
for a long time.
Prutton was running around midfield like a terrier. They looked
like a side that were playing to win and to win well. There was
more urgency from Bartman and Quashie, although on past performances,
that was not too difficult to improve on. Stern John had a very
quite night, putting the ball over in the opening minute. Creating
a great chance for Bart-Williams on 32mins and laying the ball off
for Freedman in the second half, which Dougie managed to miss what
turned out to be the chance to win the match. On 39 minutes Scimeca's
cross from the right was completely missed by 3 Oxford defenders,
and Freedman slotted the ball home. By now both Brennan and Gray
were sending in crosses from both wings, at times wayward, but at
least they were getting them across.
Andy Gray looked as if he wanted to fill the position on the right
and make it permanent. I think on the night's performance, he would
be worth persevering with for a few more games.
So to Bovril, and the talk was to say the least interesting! I think
I went to a different match to everyone else. There were the usual
doom and gloom people, who are never happy whatever is happening.
What really surprised me was that people were not seeing the change
in the work rate and commitment from the players.
The second half started off again at a fair pace with a beautiful
run from Brennan, whose cross was saved eventually by the goalkeeper.
This was followed by another save from a Freedman shot, although
the goalkeeper was happening "a bit of a 'mare". On 75mins, totally
against the run of play, Oxford had their first shot on goal of
the night, when sub Powell cut in from the right and put a curling
shot into the far post. Minutes later Oxford managed to squeeze
the ball through and hit the base of the post. Freedman had the
chance to win the match with the miss of the night from 10 yds out
after Stern John had managed to nod the ball down into his path.
A night of frustration, after domineering so much of the game. I
enjoyed the match, and saw a lot more commitment and discipline
in the players. However by the booing at the end, I had obviously
seen a completely different match to everyone else.
Bridport Red wil be back for the Fulham match, if he has managed
to recover from his 40th birthday celebrations!