myself to The City Ground today for this 1:00pm ko after a
particularly good evening out.By 2:45 I really wondered if
it was worth it.
This has to be the most lack lustre performance I have seen
from a Forest side for a long time, as Bridport Red says in
his report, the team went off to the sound of booing.For once
I believe they deserved it. On the positive side Brennan making
his home debut, and Mikkel Beck his full debut, gave us something
to be pleased with.
The defence had a 'mare and the midfield was non existant.
Oh well, pass the Alka Seltzer!
Report by Bridport Red
As an ex-Serviceman with Dorset commitments on Remembrance
Sunday, I decided to write this report after watching the
game on Sky. On the whole I am pretty glad I saved the petrol
money. We were dreadful and got the thrashing we deserved.
Before I go on to talk about how poor Forest were, it is only
fair to the opposition to point out that Huddersfield were
excellent today, and look thoroughly worthy of their third
place in the table. They played some high-quality passing
football, were in control for about 85% of the game and showed
some tremendous movement up front, where Clyde Wijnhard and
Marcus Stewart pulled our central defenders all over the place.
They look a good side, and rather reminded me of Forest two
seasons ago... .... whereas we simply reminded me of Forest
last year. No passion, not enough movement, gave the ball
away far too much, some shocking central defending and - most
worrying of all - no confidence whatsoever. In the words of
the manager in an honest post-match interview, "We have all
- players and the manager - got to hold our hands up and take
responsibility, because that's not the sort of performance
that will get us any points. We were fortunate to go in at
half time still at the races, but in the end we thoroughly
got what we deserved." That interview was the best thing about
us all afternoon.
I would exempt a handful of players from what follows - even
in a dismal showing like this there were some (a few) good
points. David Prutton moved to right back when Bonalair was
taken off after 20 torrid minutes (Louis-Jean was suspended)
and he and Jim Brennan handled the Huddersfield attack with
considerably more aplomb than the two in the middle. Tank
played well after coming on as sub, scoring a goal and linking
well with Brennan on the left - but even he was reduced to
running into the centre of midfield by the end to find the
ball, which must tell you something. Andy Gray made a couple
of decent runs in the final ten minutes. Apart from that?
All the players had varying degrees of a bad day, and several
of them had a total stinker.
For the first ten minutes we played OK-ish, with Beck showing
some decent movement and winning more in the air up front
than we have managed all season. Bart went close after 7 minutes
after Beck and Dougie had flicked on a cross from Luca. Beck,
in fact did some very good things with his back to goal (lay-offs,
holding the ball up and flicks). Not quite so sharp when facing
the goal, alas, but we'll come to that. Huddersfield, meanwhile,
were looking increasingly confident and dangerous (on the
break initially, then in general as they completely took charge
After 20 minutes we had a let-off when Marcus Stewart went
past Bonalair like he wasn't there, Norm half saved his shot
from a narrow angle and Hjelde cleared the ball off the line.
We then immediately went up field and the ball ended up in
Claessen's arms. He bowled it out to the left back, who played
it forward to Stewart wide on the left.
For the second time in a minute Bonalair did his tissue-paper
defender impression, the ball was played into the middle,
Chet stood off for what felt like an age, and Wijnhard accepted
the invitation to shoot by curling a beauty from just outside
the box over Norm, who had no chance. A couple of minutes
later Platt was at least decisive in recognising that Bonalair
was having a nightmare against Stewart and Ben Thornley, replacing
him with Tank, moving Prutton to right back and Bart into
the middle. An improvement on the right of defence and the
left of midfield - no change anywhere else, though Luca and
Beck did combine to make a half-chance for Dougie at the far
post. 30 minutes - Chet concedes a needless free kick just
outside the box on the right. The free kick is a standard
curling cross, but Hjelde and Chet allow Gray to muscle his
way between them to give Norm no chance with a header from
4 yards. Bad defending again, I'm afraid.
To be honest I thought the game was over at that point, but
we then had our only good ten minutes of the game. First Dougie
made a good break, pushed it into Tank's path and he played
a good low cross along the 6-yard line. Mikkel Beck in an
instant undid all the positive impressions he had made with
his general play by missing the ball completely with an open
goal. Two minutes later came 30 seconds that might have turned
the match. Yet more awful defending saw the ball come to an
unmarked Huddersfield player 5 yards out on the far post.
Norm produced an excellent reflex save, we broke upfield,
Beck did well to find Johnno, he played an instant pass to
Tank and (no doubt chastened by the miss from his cross only
a couple of minutes before) this time he shot powerfully from
an identical position. Vaessen got hands to it but allowed
it to squirm in. 2-1. Way more than Forest deserved, but the
chance to come out and still win the game in the second half.
Uhhhh... not a chance.
We played a bit better (though still not exactly well) for
a few minutes, Luca shooting over after a corner, Beck having
an effort well saved from close in, and Tank and Jim B causing
some real damage down the left. But Huddersfield were still
looking like scoring with almost every attack; Norm was lucky
to see a weak shot squirm out of his grasp and go narrowly
wide when it could easily have gone in, and Stewart missed
the far post by inches with an all-too-easily won header with
Norm beaten. It seemed only a matter of time, and so it proved.
The final killer goal, when it came, was abject - a racing
cert to appear in Sky's howlers of the week section next Friday.
Ball won on the half way line, long ball for Wijnhard to run
onto, Chet gets there first with Norm advancing. All he has
to do is use his right foot to play it for a throw, or his
left to put it out for a corner, but no. Instead, Chet tries
to play it across the face of the goal, it rebounds off Wijnhard
who cannot believe his luck as he walks it into an empty net.
Game over, apart from some pretty feeble huffing and puffing
from Forest and several Huddersfield attacks when the two
central defenders had our hearts in our mouths again only
to be bailed out by Johnno, Prutton, Tank or Brennan.
A few weeks ago I got some interesting emails after my "What
Do We Think Of It So Far?" marks out of ten for the players.
A lot of them asked how I could possibly say that Chet and
Jon Olav had done well so far this season, but at the time
I thought they had. Not today. Hjelde was having one of those
games where his defensive headers (strong in recent weeks)
were going straight up the air and he looked like scalded
cat when Stewart or Wijnhard ran at him. Chet had a nightmare
- as Brian Clough (summarising for Sky and in typically blunt
form) put it, "It isn't often you see a defender get a hat-trick!".
He was at fault for all three goals.
Bonalair was awful for the twenty-six minutes before Platty
put him out of his misery. Only Brennan and then Prutton defended
with any conviction, which is nothing like good enough against
a side like Huddersfield - with defending like that we were
never going to score enough goals to compete. In midfield
Johnno ran around a lot but still looks only about 80% fit
to me (not surprising in view of his long lay-off) Bart did
nothing much except give the ball away. Luca was peripheral.
Tank played well, Gray did OK for a few minutes at the end.
Otherwise nothing. Up front?
Oh I give up - you get the picture, I'm sure, without me going
through every single player. We were very much second rate
today and got exactly what we deserved. We missed Riccy, ML-J
and Toto badly and cannot get Stern John (or whoever) into
a red shirt fast enough. Oh, and they were resoundingly booed
off. Not a word of criticism of that from me this week, I'm
afraid - and as you will know by now, I am an optimist. Yes,
we were that bad. Sorry.