The City Ground


Mr Paul Danson

Goal 1
Gudjohnson 23 mins
Goal 2
Harewood 35 mins

Bolton Wanderers
Crossley     Jaaskelainen
Louis-Jean     Cox
Scimeca     Bergsson
Hjelde     Todd
Bonalair     Johansen
Merino   Jensen
Bart-Williams Holdsworth
Quashie   Gudjohnson
Rogers   Gardener
Freedman   Whitlow
Harewood   Warhurst
Substitutes     Substitutes
Beasant     Glennon
Chettle   Taylor
Woan Hansen
Petrachi   Phillips
Freeman     Strong

© Nottingham Forest 1999

I hadn't seen the report that Bridport Red had written but I had already written myself, how amazed I was to hear booing at the end of the game. What do the fickle fans of Nottingham Forest think that will do for the players? What is the point? Why do we spend every game mentioning Derby County in the songs and not Forest. I recall Brian Clough coming to The City Ground and taking at least 18 months to start to put together a side that went onto to take us to places and cups that we had never even thought were possible for little old Nottingham Forest. We are in a new era, Ian Wright has played for us and given us enjoyment I am sure that the manager will come up with more suprises before the season is finished. Nottingham Forest has come back to Nottingham, believe me!

Report by Bridport Red
Forest booed off again after a home draw - what's going on? Time we looked at this, I think, since it seems to be happening almost every week. So, a more analytical than descriptive report tonight. Personally, I am one of those fans who never boos Forest and never leaves before the end. But this evening I felt almost in a minority at the end, so clearly something must be happening. I didn't think we played badly - better than the Stockport game, for a start - and after we had equalised never looked like losing, but still the final whistle was greeted with a chorus of boos. From their reaction over the past few games, I can only assume that there are a lot of fans out there who assumed that we were going to waltz through this division this year. Frankly that was never going to happen, in my opinion. It didn't happen in the early stages of our last two visits to this division, either, but that seems conveniently to have been forgotten. I have said it before, but it is worth reiterating, that last year's was the worst Forest side I have ever seen. There was therefore an awful lot of rebuilding that was required before we were going to storm up this league, let alone build a premiership side. Having now seen Forest play 15 matches this year, I would say that we are getting there but are still short of quality in three main areas... which leads nicely on to tonight's game. 1. I think we badly need a decent left back. Platty has clearly decided that Tank is best on the left of midfield, and I wouldn't disagree with that - excellent player, but he spends too much time on his backside to be a totally convincing out-and-out defender. We tried Chris Doig there at Port Vale and for Stockport, and though he wasn't disgraced he looked what he is - a converted centre half. Tonight we tried Bonalair. I like Thierry, and he is a decent footballer, but he is a midfield player, NOT a defender, a fact that we have seen demonstrated too often. The Bolton goal came - see if you can guess... from our left. They played some neat passes across the middle, and when it came out to their right Bonalair was nowhere to be seen. Hjelde (who had an excellent game tonight) came across to cover and was thus pulled out of position, his half block merely deflected the ball straight into Gudjohnsen's path in the middle 10 yards out, and he smacked it in leaving Norm with no chance. There is strong talk that we are looking to sign Jim Brennan from Bristol City. We certainly need him or someone like him. Platty has gone on record (in FourFourTwo magazine this month - check it out) saying that he likes 4-4-2 as a formation, but ONLY if the two fullbacks are good enough to cover and help the central guys when they get by-passed or pulled out of position. Matthieu Louis-Jean (who I think has settled in very well and looks the part) did that several times tonight, but the same thing was not happening on the left. 2. (And this is hardly an earth-shattering revelation) we need a striker (or two). Contrary to what I was hearing from callers to Larry Lloyd's show before tonight's game, it is hardly Platt's fault that Henrik Larsson broke his leg at Celtic, and that Ian "Jocky" McWright therefore chose to finish his career playing in front of 60,000 fans every week rather than with us. The timing, however, was terrible - 24 hours before a game, leaving us no time to do anything other than play Marlon and put the young Irishman David Freeman on the bench. But now that Wrighty has gone (and thanks, Ian, for your contribution while you were here) we need a striker all the more urgently. Marlon had a good game, actually - the best I have seen from him. He put himself about well, showed some good touches and came close several times. He also scored a blinding equaliser ten minutes after Bolton had taken the lead. From a long pass from the back he got the ball with his back to goal 30 yards out. He controlled it, laid it off to Dougie on the right and set off into the box. Dougie crossed it first time and Marlon hammered the ball on the half-volley into the roof of the net. Not an easy chance by any means, and Marlon buried it. He almost repeated the dose 5 minutes later, smacking another Dougie cross against the angle of post and bar. In the second half he again came closest, volleying narrowly wide from the edge of the box. So... well played Marlon. BUT... despite tonight's performance I don't think he and Dougie are the long-term answer. We are too lightweight in attack - the chances are being made (not enough of them - which we will come on to - but we made several chances tonight), but there is no Campbell or Collymore figure who frightems the life out of Division 1 defences when he is running at them and/or can win those tussles inside the opposition box. Dougie is no giant and Marlon is poor in the air for such a big man. So, though these two will score goals I don't think they will score enough on a regular basis. So we need a striker (dare I mention Stern John?) - and probably two unless David Freeman is good enough for him, Dougie and Marlon to be the "other" one between them. We need someone to lead the line, as old lags like Andy Gary would put it. 3. This is probably the most important in my opinion - we need someone who can take the game by the scruff of the neck in midfield and drive us forward. Tonight's midfield, like the attack, looked lightweight. Once we equalised the game was there for the taking and, though we had a lot of possession and mounted a lot of attacks (and though Bolton didn't have a single shot on goal in the second half), we didn't look that frightening. Quashie played well enough, but deep. Bart played some good passes, but again played fairly deep. Carlos Merino was rather muscled out of this match and was kind of peripheral (which will happen at times to a young player of his sort), and Tank did some good things before going off (minor injury?) half way through the second half. David Platt clearly knew were not making enough happen in midfield, because all of his substitutions tried to address this problem. Luca Petrachi replaced Merino (a bonus - I for one wasn't expecting him to return for a few weeks yet), and looked the creative, sharp and dangerous player we know he is (one trademark driving run inside and left foot shot just over the bar was particularly good). Welcome back, Luca. Chet replaced Tank, allowing Riccy to move forward into midfield and Bart out onto the left. And finally Woan replaced the tiring Bart - and almost won the game for us with a perfectly measured though ball which Marlon just failed to beat the keeper to. None of this worked. When games are there to be won (tonight, Stockport, Swindon, Man City, WBA) we don't seem to have anyone who can up the tempo and orchestrate a stream of attacks. Archie Gemmill, the young Neil Webb, Roy Keane, even Lars Bohinen... that sort of thing (not asking much, am I?). The manager himself could do it in his youth, but I get the impression that he doesn't intend to play much unless injuries force him to. Johnno played half a game in midweek, apparently, and his return certainly will help - currently we have nobody who makes his driving runs into the box beyond the strikers. Luca will make things happen on the right. Bart has eased himself back in well... and even Woany, if he can get back to the sort of form he showed in the dim and distant past when he was fully fit a couple of years ago, can unlock defences (and can certainly shoot). But, even with all these fit, there remains the sneaking suspicion that we are a midfield general short. [It would be nice if he could take a mean free kick as well, by the way - I suppose after ten years of Stuart Pearce and Pierre van Ego we have become spoilt, but free kicks near the opposition box no longer look dangerous.] So. Left back - Jim Brennan?? Striker - Stern John??? Midfield dynamo... ???? Then we might get somewhere! The encouraging thing is that it's clear Platty knows all this, even from his public statements (and he plays his cards close to his chest when it comes to transfers). However, if I may make so bold, David, now is the time to do something about it. Patience, my friends...



Copyright © 2001 Nottingham Forest F.C.