25th March
The City Ground


Mr K.Leach

Goal One
Ward 6 min

Blackburn Rovers
Beasant     Kelly
Louis-Jean   Flitcroft
Hjelde   Davidson
Calderwood     Short
Brennan   Dailly
Prutton     Grayson
Bart-Williams     Harkness
Johnson   Johnson
Rogers     Duff
Freedman Ward
Harewood   Blake
Substitutes     Substitutes
Crossley     Miller
Woan Gillespie
Lester   Broomes
John   Jansen
Gray   Ostenstad

© Nottingham Forest 2000

'We' all met before hand in the Larwood and Voce with John and Janet Heath making their first trip to The Ciy Ground from Australia. Bridport Red, or Bridport Ken as someone has christened him, Pod, Trent End Trickey, Russ and the rest of the 'Usual Suspects'. We put the world right and looked forward to another win! This is what happened!

Report by Bridport Red
Am I the only one who thinks that this season seems to have been going on for ever? Probably it's because we haven't been doing so well, but frankly I can't wait to get this one out of the way. The optimism of the start of the season (any season) now seems a thousand years ago, and I can't wait for the season to end, us all to take stock and then come back in the late summer refreshed, raring to go and optimistic again. But a few things are going to have to change for that to happen.

Have you missed me? Naaah - course not. I apologise for deserting my post over the past few weeks (new job, finding new house, clearing out old house, buying new house, selling old house, moving...), but normal service ought to be resumed now. Having said that, I'll miss Crewe....

If "miss" is exactly the right word, because this is desperate. I really don't know what to say tonight. Certainly I cannot begin to claim that the glass is half full. In fact I am finding it pretty difficult to locate the glass at all. We were dismally poor for my third game in a row (I gather we were not poor at Huddersfield on Tuesday, but I missed that one), Rovers won comfortably without ever really having to get out of second gear and - yes - we are in deep deep trouble. I have been saying for months that there is no way we will go down however much we may be struggling. Well if we carry on playing (and especially defending) like we did today I can easily see us losing away at Crewe next weekend, and then things would be looking bleak indeed. Yes, we could definitely go down. In fact I will go so far to say that the only way we will escape is if the sides below us contrive to be even more inept than we are. It is more than possible that that could turn out to be what happens - but it hardly fills you with confidence in the bright new Forest dawn if we are relying on Crewe, Swindon, the Baggies and Walsall to be even worse than we are, does it?

I actually saw two Forest sides today. Glutton for punishment that I am (or was it a premonition that I needed to branch out in order to see some decent football?), I tottered along to Holme Road at 11 o'clock to watch the U-19s play-off game against Chelsea. Despite the hideous weather, I and about a hundred other Forest fans saw a committed, skilful exciting game of football. Forest were massively the better side for the first 45 minutes, but only managed to convert one of several chances (a Matt Turner lob over the keeper). Gradually Chelsea came back into it, they equalised with 15 minutes to go, Gareth Williams hit a screamer from the edge of the box to put us 2-1 up with 3 minutes to go, they equalised in injury time. 2-2 at the final whistle. Then Niall McNamara scored with a volley to make it 3-2, Chelsea equalised very late again. 3-3; penalties. Baz Roche saved 2 to their keeper's 1, so we won 9-8 on pens.

Top stuff. Compare and contrast if you dare. Paul Hart's young side were by no means perfect this morning - they ought to have killed the game off long before half time. BUT... they were skilful, they work extremely hard, they talk to one another, they look like they care and above all THEY PLAY AS A TEAM. The firsts, however... We started off as though we had a death wish, giving the ball away three time in the first 90 seconds. They scored after 6 minutes, Johnno giving the ball away in midfield, Duff skinning ML-J and crossing low and Calderwood and Hjelde contriving to be sufficiently out of position for Ashley Ward to have an unchallenged tap in from 6 yards. Ten minutes later another Duff cross, this time a high one to the far post, found Christian Daley totally unmarked once more. He contrived to miss, but things were looking bleak and the crowd, with some justification frankly, started to make their feelings clear.

I'd like to tell you that things looked up, but it wouldn't really be true. I suppose they did a little bit, in that we started to play OK (but no more). Marlon produced a few moments of danger, notably when beating three defenders and forcing Kelly into a fine save at the end of the first half. Jim Brennan, who is a player I like but who had a stinker today, was replaced by Woany at half time, then Stern came on a few minutes later for Dougie. It is probably a mark of how unbelievably average we were today that the ageing Woan and a Stern who is patently only 30% fit produced more dangerous moments than the rest of them put together. In the end true desperation set in and we replaced ML-J with Jack, moving Bart to the back and going to 3-4-3. But frankly we could still be playing now and we wouldn't have scored - in fact I can only remember Kelly having to make two saves in the whole of the second half.

I am sorry, but this is simply not good enough. Whatever it is that the management team are doing with the players, it is not producing results. For a period around Christmas we looked to be improving, but in the past few weeks we have regressed rapidly, and now look devoid of ideas in attack, narrow in midfield and prone to defensive lapses at any moment. Calderwood looks so far like Chettle with a longer name. Brennan's early excellent form has deserted him. Tank seems to have stopped running at defences with pace. I could go on........

I didn't hear too many fans laughing this afternoon, so something needs to be done. I have my own opinion what it is, and no doubt you all have yours. So I will leave it at that. But I and thousands like me really do not wish to put up with much more dross like that. Sorry, guys - we were that bad.


Copyright © 2001 Nottingham Forest F.C.