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Thread: Forest 1 United 0 - report

  1. #1
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    Forest 1 United 0 - report

    It was another disappointing away day in the Midlands for United as another sub-standard performance saw the Blades lose to a Lewis Grabban goal in a poor game at the City Ground. Neither side created much all game and it seemed destined for a stalemate until one moment of quality saw Carvalho skip past Kieron Freeman and hit an angled cross that was deftly flicked in by Grabban. United did not have a significant effort on goal all game and Forest in the end saw them out relatively comfortably with a late scramble that ricocheted wide the closest they came. Sadly, given a real chance to extend their lead at the top of the table; United lacked the belief and performance they needed and now have been knocked off the top.

    Faced with injuries and suspension; Wilder brought in Crainie and Coutts into the starting eleven and chose to keep McGoldrick on the bench with him being on four bookings. Duffy was still not considered fit enough to start. Forest were missing suspended Jack Colback but still had a side packed full of talent/high transfer fees and will have wanted a response to the defeat at Burton in the week.

    United kicked away from their sold out away following towards the Trent End of the City Ground. United stated with a decent move and Norwood dragged his shot wide. Little did we know that would be one of United’s closest attempts to a goal all afternoon! Forest grew into the game and Lolley hit a half volley over before good work from Cash nearly led to a chance but Egan read the game well. The same man then got a good tackle in as Grabban tried to get around the back.

    Both teams were giving the ball away and it was not a classic at all. The ball resembled a hot potato at times and United seemed to lack the fluidity they have shown for much of the season. Sharp won two free kicks with good hold up play and use of his body but they came to nothing. Freeman was slow to react and Egan had to get him out of trouble with another smart piece of defensive play. Forest were having more of the ball in midfield now and United were just not getting hold of it and the home side won a couple of corners but the Blades defended well.

    Egan had a header down and wide from a corner before Norwood’s corner was flicked over the bar from Pantilimon before Robinson made Henderson have to scurry across to save at the other end. The half time whistle came soon after in a relatively even game that had lacked any real clear-cut chances at all.

    The second half saw Forest start the better and Cash showed nimble feet to get in but was defended well by O’Connell. Stevens shot was well off target and then Sharp from United’s best move angled his head wide and over from a deep cross from the right. Grabban and then Carvalho showed neat touches to stretch United but Cranie and then Egan got back to make telling interceptions.

    McGoldrick came on for Coutts in an attempt to give United more control of the ball and more of an attacking threat. It was a bit more open now and Lolley then got in but dragged his shot wide. Guedioura was becomingly increasingly influential as Forest started to control more of the ball but they were not creating that much and the goal came out of nothing.

    Carvalho had caused one or two problems and skipped inside Freeman who should have done much better and then the midfielder hit a great cross-cum-shot that GRABBAN got the slightest of touches with his head and into the far corner. It was the one moment of quality in a really poor game and United were now chasing anything they could get from the game. Fleck tried to run at men but lost the ball and Henderson had to save a low shot as Lolley looked to put the game to bed.

    McGoldrick at least was able to give United more of the ball after the goal with some neat touches as he slowed things down and brought others into play. Sadly, United were not testing the Forest goal at all and made a double change with Woodburn and Baldock coming on for Cranie and Freeman. Baldock drew a poor foul as he sprinted down the right but the set play was cleared. Soon after United did have a chance as the ball bounced around in the area after Egan’s header at the back post but the ball bounced the wrong side of the post inadvertently off Woodburn. Three minutes of stoppage time saw United win a late corner and up came Henderson but the ball was cleared the final whistle came immediately after this.

  2. #2
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    United – Last year I came to Forest and we played really well. Duffy was sensational and we outplayed them most of the game. Somehow, we lost 2-1 in a game we bossed throughout save for two sloppy goals. We looked a really good side. We played great football and it was swashbuckling stuff all afternoon. I think despite the defeat even we shocked Forest that day how good we were. Today was nothing like that. We were pedestrian, poor in possession, gave the ball away and never looked like scoring. It was a really average-poor performance. We had no decent attempts on goal all game and the keeper did not make a save. The only saving grace is Forest were poor too. It was a rotten game with no quality really at all save for the cross for the goal. Outside of this I cannot think of many good moments either way. We need to do much more in such games if we want to stay in the top 6 by the end of the season as games likes that will happen quite a bit. We need to be able to raise our game, play higher up the pitch and try to dictate to teams. Today that simply did not happen. We were very passive and almost sluggish. Defensively we kept our shape and limited to them of course but it was like we were happy with the game being level. We needed to push onto them and turn them round but it never happened and we lacked belief that we could really hurt them.

    It was a 0-0 game and like Bristol City and Derby we needed to just get the point and get out. As with those games we did not do that as other teams have produced that bit of quality to get three excellent crosses in to score and win games. So, games we should have got three draws from; we have lost all three. We were poor but deserved a draw but did not get it. After they scored we huffed and puffed but other than a scramble never really looked like scoring and there was no quality or composure all game. We never got behind them; the wing backs did not advance and the midfield was so fixed with no movement or penetration all game. We tried to pass it through all game and were three fixed compartments and with the passing poor; it meant we never had the ball for a decent spell all game. It was really disappointing. We did not press or harry and at times seemed to be just going through the motions. For a top of the table side; I felt as many Forest fans have said; we looked crap to be honest. We looked a side that would be mid table at best.

    Worrying that we have played some of the better teams recently in Forest and Derby and both have not been that great but have beaten us still. We have to do much better. Both games were winnable but individually and collectively we were found lacking. We were desperately missing someone getting on the ball and taking the game by the scruff of the neck but it was all so passive. No one wanted to make a difference and seize the initiative. I actually felt we lacked belief today. We were top of the league and confidence should have been high but we looked like we did not believe we would create much or score a goal which is bizarre. Is it all down to Basham and Duffy not playing? We will have times when players miss and it was not like Coutts and Cranie were awful but we did not look the same team and miss the threats they give us. With McGoldrick on the bench our attacking threat was nil. I did not think we were ever going to score today at all. I did not see us conceding either but when it did come; we had a long time to get back into it but never looked like even getting a clear chance.

    So, on we go to Friday. Wednesday are in a bit of a mess and both teams managers will want a reaction. We have to put in a 90 minute performance which we have not done since the international break and even though we are still 2nd; it is one win, two defeats and a draw since and sadly as we have started to play some of the better teams at least table wise; results have dropped off and indeed performances (Stoke for 70 mins and Derby for 45 apart) have not been that great. Still it is a weird division and we are still 2nd and can go back top with a win on Friday. There are so many odd results at this level so anything could happen Friday night. We need to make sure we are bang at it. If we can start well and get that first goal I feel we will win but the longer the game goes on; they do have some quality that can still score goals out of nothing (Reach, Joao etc) but if we play like we can do then I feel we will win.



    Forest – The annoying thing is they were not great. I never felt they threatened to rip us open. They had a few breaks as we chased the game at 1-0 but they were quite cautious for the most part for a team with some talented players. They almost seemed to be settling for a draw and I felt the goal came out of nothing. They will say that the keeper did not have a save of note to make but then neither did ours. It was a really poor game and one that was for the taking if Unite had played anything like. Forest did not offer half the threats Derby did or even Wigan the previous week but ultimately did not have to do too much to get the win. One decent ball and poachers’ flick and the game was over. Forest defended really comfortably after we conceded and like Derby I never felt we looked like scoring save for a bit of a scramble from a corner in each respective game that I suppose could have gone in.

    I really did expect more from Forest. They showed a few decent bits of play at times but gave it away a lot and did not really have much of an attacking thrust at all. I did not see a team that I feel will rip teams apart and seemed more workmanlike despite having spent a lot of money and having a much bigger wage bill than us. However, they will see us as being top of the league and think the league is wide open. Both teams looked miles off promotion sides on todays evidence and then you look at the table and wonder how both would be so high up based on what we saw but it was one game. On that one game you would expect both of us to be around mid-way at the end of the season as there was very little quality on show.

    Opponent man of the match – They gave Dawson man of the match for simply heading a few balls away and dealing with the easiest opponent he will have all year in what Clarke offered up against him. Carvalho showed some decent touches and made the goal. The lad I was probably most impressed by was Guedioura. He was better than anything we had in midfield and controlled play for long spells. Our midfield never had control of the match at all and gave it away. He was the player who kept the ball the best for me. They had one of key men out injured in Colback but still controlled midfield. Shows that others have more depth than us sadly as when we lost key men we struggled.

    Weak link – Just as there was no real stand outs; not sure there were any weak links. They were just all very average. I expected more from the likes of Lolley and Cash but they were not in the game that much either as attacking forces. Not sure the lad Robinson is any better than we have – know we chased him a lot last summer. Pantilimon always has a mistake in him and nearly shoved a corner into his own net but we never really tested him at all – in fact we did not test him at all.

  3. #3
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    Henderson 7/10 – Made one routine save on the break when they attacked near the end and had no chance on the goal at all. Other than that, he was largely unemployed. Came running up at the end for a corner and challenged for the ball. The whistle went soon after. He came running up the United fans telling them to keep their chins up and was geeing them up. Shame the team could not show some of this fight and hunger the previous 90 minutes when they served up a nothing performance.

    Freeman 4/10 – Really poor. As he did at Derby at fault for the winning goal as he let his man come inside and beat him too easily before hitting the cross for the goal. He had been beat a few times before this and his play on the ball today was woeful. His marking and positional sense was all over too. The last two away games he has to defend when we have been under pressure and as a full back (as that is what he has been forced to play) he has been poor and looks a big weak link as teams attack us down this side. He barely got forward all day today. Needs to improve from last few away performances but was not helped by not having much help around him and got exposed. Also, not having Basham as an outlet to play alongside as they have a good understanding.

    Stevens 6/10 – Better than Freeman and he at least did cut out a few balls or stop a few crosses. He put a few tackles in too. Going forward we saw more of him but his final ball was dreadful and he telegraphed 2 passes in the second half that put them on the attack. Kept plugging away but another that being forced to defend more and turn the other way does not look the same player.

    Egan 7.5/10 – Comfortably United’s man of the match. Won a lot of headers, tackles and used it well. Showed some lovely control to bring down some high balls and looked a very good defender. He did what he had to

    O’Connell 7/10 – One of our better players and defensively did ok for the most part. He was closest to grabban but hard to be too critical. We did not stop the cross or put any pressure on the cross and only needed a nick. He should have been tighter of course though but hard balls to defend. Outside of this he did his job and tried to carry it forward but we had nothing in front. Cannot really blame the centre backs today for the defeat at all as they limited them to one meaningful chance.

    Cranie 6.5/10 – Do you know what he played quite well and was fairly comfortably after a few dodgy moments to start. He does not offer what Basham does and meant he played exclusively as a defender almost. He did his job in this sense and read the game well and used the ball ok. He barely got forward and our shape was quite fixed and with the full backs sitting in; meant we did not get men forward enough. This was fine at 0-0 but we could not change it. He went off at 80 mins as we went to change it but it was all a bit late.

    Fleck 6/10 – First half he was poor and gave it away quite a bit and did not influence things. Also lost his man quite a bit. He got better 2nd half and at least made 2 or 3 runs forward and tried to penetrate or draw defenders but final product lacking. He also lost it a bit from said runs but at least he tried too carry it. We were trying to pass our way through and had no one trying to commit defenders. Felt he was looking for free kicks a bit too much and twice went to ground under minimal contact.

    Norwood 4/10 – He was really poor against Birmingham and today he was the same. His passing was wretched all game. He gave it away short and long and his touch and control was also off. Three times he set them on attack. He tried to be too clever at times and this meant the easy ball was not played and they broke on us as a result. We did not have control of midfield from the start and also did not create anything of note all game really. He needs to be much better on Friday night as we have to control more of the midfield than that. His set plays were also poor. I would have been temped to switch him and Coutts for a period just to see if him playing a bit further forward would see us get more control. The goal came for them and McGoldrick helped but we never kept the ball for any spells in the game at all to make or create much at all.

    Coutts 5.5/10 – Not sure he influenced the game much at all. He was not awful by any stretch but he played it quite safe and simple and also does not have the acceleration to get past his man. Did a few neat things but also gave it away a bit too and I felt the game just passed him by. Put in a wide right position of the three which did not suit him. He needs to play in front of the defence but Norwood played there. Not sure those two can play together as they are quite similar. I thought today those three would control midfield and possession and we would create chances. We did neither. On paper they are all great but all those excitedly waiting for the day the three played together; saw a poor Forest midfield control the ball (did nothing with it mind) and we did not keep it and did not create anything. All three like to pass it and none want to get forward of the attack or support the attack. It was all too fixed and immobile and we only improved after McGoldrick came on. It is an odd one with Coutts as his quarterback position is quite unique and now Norwood plays that; what do we do with him? We saw when he played wide-ish or to the side of the midfield under previous managers it does not suit him. He needs a lot more games to get match sharp too as wanted too long on the ball at times.

    Sharp 6.5/10 – I thought he tried really hard and won numerous free kicks and tried to run the channels. He at least put a lot of effort in. Had no chances at all though as we created nothing. Must be frustrated that he does not get the plethora of chances other strikers do (Maupay at Brentford for example) and has to be really prolific with that he gets and to his credit he has been this season. He was feeding off scraps. Had no partner whatsoever alongside him.

    Clarke 4/10 – A pitiful performance. He will not have needed to wash his kit this weekend. I thought in some of the recent games (Stoke for example) he was getting back to what we saw last season with his strong running, closing down and nuisance value. Today his effort was really poor. I watched him carefully and he was not closing down, did not chase lost causes or even win any headers. He did not link with Sharp at all and when the ball came to him it squirted off him. He had no service so will give him that but need far more from him. One moment summed him up when he ran down the channel and we had a chance at the end (not sure which player had it – Fleck maybe?) and he ran alongside his man and blocked the chance off – he needed to go wide or bend his run inside but basically defended our man. It was incredible lack of football brain. He of course was a hero last year against Wednesday but if Duffy is back; he goes on the bench for me on Friday.

  4. #4
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    Subs –
    McGoldrick 7/10 – Changed the game in the sense that we at least looked a threat. They of course scored after he came on but not sure this change played any part in the goal. They had not exactly been knocking on the door. Just poor defending. We did not create much before or after he came on but we had more of the ball in the Forest half and at least kept the ball for periods and he was a big part of that. He played 35 minutes and was maybe our 2nd best player after Egan. That shows it all. Lovely touches on the ball and at least we managed to find some little pockets of space but no chances came as he got crowded out a few times.

    Woodburn – Only had 10+3 minutes but looks a startled rabbit still. Twice lost the ball and they broke as he seems to think he has ages to take numerous touches. He is still trying to play games like they are u23/youth games and needs to sharpen up and fast. So weak physically as he just gets shrugged off it. He did have a bit of a chance from the scramble but it hit him more than him hitting it. Looks away off the standard physically and mentally to be a player at the cut and thrust of the Championship. The difference between him and say Wilson/Mount at Derby is staggering. People may say he needs games but he is not going to get games if he does not make an impact when he plays no matter how short the time he has. Other than a brief decent cameo against Boro; not sure he has done much right in a United shirt. He will get more chances before January but if he does not show ‘something’…’anything’ then I would send him back and see if we can find an alternative loan from the Premier League and a player that actually can cope with the speed at this level.

    Baldock – Did more than Freeman in the 10 minutes he as on as at least he got forward, won a corner and invited a bad foul. At this stage we had to go for it I suppose and we left gaps the other way.



    Wilder 6/10 – A 1-0 defeat and a pretty uninspiring limp performance. It was poorer than Derby and Bristol City and one of the poorest we have played this season in the sense we created nothing and did not look like a United team and showed none of the cavalier, attacking play we have become known for. It was all very safe and even saying that we lost it quite a lot. Forest were as bad really but credit to them they showed the one bit of quality when it mattered and just like at Derby we switched off at the key times. Cranie did ok but we did not have the same attacking thrust and the midfield two did not work. Clarke was also poor. So, the calls he made in selection did not work really in the sense that we did not look the same team. Missed Duffy and Basham so much it was untrue. McGoldrick helped and don’t blame him for putting Woodburn on. I looked at our bench though and even Forest with likes of Dias and Osborn have much better options (McGoldrick apart). We don’t have that striker o number 10 who can come on and really make a difference – assuming McGoldrick normally starts of course. We have to address this in January or you fear it will be similar to last season and we will see a lot more games like today. He is right we rarely get a point or three when we don’t play well but the reason is we don’t have those players who can unlock the door in such tight games with that moment of brilliance. We are a side that is almost having to score the perfect goal and that means when we are off it; as we were today you feel we could have played till midnight and not scored.

    Referee – Booked 3 Forest players for poor tackles and Egan for a bad one for us as they broke away. Forest became a bit cynical at the end but they did what they had to do. I felt we barely put in a tackle all game and we sat off them in midfield all game. They were as wasteful as us but we did not press or harry. In that sense the ref had a fairly easy game. Not sure I can recall a controversial decision at all. Odd how when we are winning, games seem to have like 4,5 or 6 minutes of stoppage time but when we are behind time is less – today 3 minutes which seemed light considering the stop start nature of a lot of the second half and number of subs etc.

    Day Out/Crowd/Fans – Thought for a 29,000 crowd it was really quiet both the home and away fans. It was such a poor game though so neither side’s fans could really that excited. The only real noise from the Forest fans came when they scored and on full time. United fans were also strangely subdued and I felt for a side top of the league did not make much noise. Forest do really indulge in the Clough tributes (video messages etc) but we would do the same. I have to say my Forest record is appalling. I have been now 6 or 7 times and only seen one draw (missed the two successive away wins under Bassett) and I think a late draw on opening day when Devlin scored is all I have. Saw us lose there 3 times under Warnock since and since then things have got no better. Maybe I should stop going. Thing is the last few defeats Forest have been garbage too and how they have beat us last two seasons I do not know.

    Like Nottingham as a place. It really has improved in terms of pubs/bars etc. We went to Junkyard and had a couple of very strong IPA’s and then headed to Das Kino round the corner from there and had a few more. After this we had some lunch at Oscar and Rosies (nice Pizza) and then headed to the ground. Post game had a beer at the Broadway Cinema café bar and then saw a bizarre band play at the Rough Trade Records bar as we had a few beers here. Had another drink at a lively place I cannot remember and then headed for home. Decent day again…once again ruined by the Blades. Should be the name of a book/record that phrase!

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