Sunday, 2 September 2012

Nottingham Forest 2 v Charlton Athletic 1

It was a decent day out in good company in spite of the result. Five and a half of us made our way up to Nottingham on the 10.30 train. The talk and hopes were about how competitive we would be and whether or not we would be ambitious enough to win the game.

We were all pleased by the lack of any final day transfer activity and after a few pints by the canal in the centre of town we made our way down to the City Ground  and took our places in the sunshine ahead of kick-off. As anticipated, the 'unsettled' Stephens was left at home to contemplate nearly becoming a Villa legend and was replaced in midfield by Bradley Pritchard. Jordan Cook started on the wide left and saw a lot of early ball but was dispossessed with every touch.

Forest started like the home side they were and they were either allowed plenty of space across midfield or else they completely outplayed us because they knocked it about with relative freedom as we backed off. Andy Reid was the first-half tormentor-in-chief as he caught the ball time and again and drove us back towards our line and into our box. Forest should have taken the lead inside the opening ten minutes when Reid, instead of shooting, cut the ball back to a colleague whose deft chip hit the underside of the bar and came out off the post and line. They didn't have long to wait before Lewis McGugan netted from a poorly awarded free-kick. The fussy ref, Graham Salisbury, adjudged Chris Solly to have fouled when he looked more like the victim. McGugan fired the free-kick into the box and a host of near-post players. Hamer came hurtling out but he was concentrating on the players in front of him and not the ball. It simply passed him by and went straight in. Poor goal to concede and definately down to our keeper.

One down and we hoped for a response but there was none. We tried to get down the left flank but Cook was having no success and Kermorgant could make nothing stick that was played up to him. Forest's back four are all big and they looked to have something to spare all day. Wright-Phillips was playing too far out on the right and contributed very little.

After the break and kicking towards the 1000 Addicks behind the goal, we hoped for more and whilst more effort was made, I think it was a Morrison header from fifteen yards that recorded our first effort on goal. Jordan Cook was subbed on the hour and Danny Haynes made a welcome return to ball-chasing although our game plan didn't look to be changed to accommodate him even if we switched to 4-3-3 in search of an equaliser.

Forest looked to be going through the motions but a second goal was on the cards and it arrived from Sam Hutchinson who controlled the ball with his hand as he turned and beat Hamer with a low drive. With ten minutes to go, predictably, we switched to all-out attack by bringing on Kerkar and Fuller. The pair had an immediate impact with Kerkar flying down the left flank and creating a succession of good crosses. It was Solly, however, who supplied the cross for the Charlton consolation. Ricardo Fuller met it with a subtle header that struck the inside of the post and bounced down across the line. The scrabbling Camp in Forest's goal managed to knock it in but it I think Ricardo can justifiably claim it. Say what you like about Fuller but he is going to be exciting to watch. What price he gets the winner against Palace? He did something with every touch and Bradley Wright-Phillips will need to look over his shoulder in the coming weeks.

Our first Championship defeat then but we shouldn't be too down-heartened. We have faced four of the better sides in this division and not been embarrassed. There will be easier sides and plenty more points to come. We do need to be prepared to be more ambitious away from home because we can't expect to defend our way to draws.

I didn't get a programme yesterday and with no scoreboard, I didn't know who most of the Forest players were. The tall, rangy left winger caught my eye, along with Cox and Reid. He reminded me of Chris Waddle and was not unlike Dale Stephens at his most positive on the ball. I was surprised to find it was none other than Greg Halford converted from full-back, so undone by two former comrades yesterday.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hit Sam Hutchinson's hand? What game were you watching? If you watch it again it clearly hits his chest. You've been very generous in your post match reflection to your team. Carlton were well and truely beaten by the better team.

Anonymous said...

Halford was at left back for starters! There wasnt even a hint of hand ball. And the score board is that big 20 foot long flashing thing at the end of the pitch!

Anonymous said...

mate it never touched his hand. a little bitter sounding.

Dave said...

Anon - it looked like handball from where we were and our players were fuming. Ready to accept it was ok and I think I acknowledged you were the better team on the day. We had 47 per cent possession and more corners than you, so maybe more competitive than you realise?

Anonymous said...

Replay clearly shows it hitting hutchinsons midriff. Not hand.

I good report spoilt by lazy observations.

Competitive yes, but not very.

Dave said...

Anon - ok, no handball. I'm not your mate.

Anonymous said...

From the Forest end there wasnt even a hint of handball and i havent read any other reports that even hinted at it. Seemed like your keeper was annoyed about something though as he raced forty yards to get himself a yellow card; a bit of karma after his shameful play acting to get Cox booked.

Dave said...

Anon - you may be right re the karma. Hamer made a meal of that challenge and tried to cover it by supporting you player at the end in front of the ref. we have a bit of form for this I am sorry to say. I am assuming it wasnt you who raced down from the back row to remonstrate with Hamer when the ball went out minutes later?

Dave said...

Anon - ok, no handball. I'm not your mate.