The City ground


Mr D.Pugh

Goal 1
Winjard 21 mins
Goal 2
Gray 34 mins
Goal 3
Rogers 44mins
Goal 4
Winjard 63 mins

Huddersfield Town
Crossley     Vaesen
Bonalair   Jenkins
Chettle     Vincent
Hjelde     Dyson
Brennan   Horne
Petrachi Gray
Prutton     Thornley
Bart-Williams     Irons
Johnson     Stewart
Freedman   Gorre
Beck   Wijnhard
Substitutes     Substitutes
Beasant     Senior
Freeman   Margetson
Gray   Edwards
Rogers Sellars
Mannini     Armstrong

© Nottingham Forest 1999

David Platt Mikkel Beck
Winjard soring his 2nd

I dragged 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 of midfield).
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.



Copyright © 2001 Nottingham Forest F.C.