Care in the community: Nottingham Forest 0 – 0 Middlesbrough

Sean O’Driscoll, as we have noted before, is interested in processes rather than outcomes. Obviously, he wants good results, but his post-match interview was quite revealing tonight. He said that, for the most part, we were not too bad against Millwall, but giving away a cheap goal, and then gambling later in the match was the big problem. He also said that he was pleased with tonight’s performance, even though it didn’t yield the victory it probably deserved.

As the gaffer had identified Middlesbrough as being the benchmark for the new Forest, so perhaps it is no surprise that the two teams cancelled each other out to an extent. The Nottingham Post has a more comprehensive report on the chances that we created, but suffice to say that Billy Sharp, Elliott Ward, Adlene Guedioura and Andy Reid could all have secured the win. Sharp was unlucky, especially with his effort that hit the upright, and Reid will feel culpable this morning as he seemed caught in two minds when on the edge of the six yard box, missing his shot altogether. However, it is also worth mentioning that Grant Leadbitter was very close with a fizzing long-ranger, and we were indebted to Danny Collins for a goal-saving challenge when I expected the visitors to nick the points.

Finally, you know how we never get penalties? Well I would like to see the replay of Andre Bikey’s challenge on Chris Cohen in the first half. Having said that, I actually have some praise for the referee, who was consistent throughout, and was keen to let the game flow, brandishing only two yellow cards (both of which were deserved, including one for Gueds who was taking one for the team).

Enough of matters on the pitch; the most notable factor was the flat atmosphere last night. If Saturday was Kids for a Quid, last night might as well have been Care in the Community night. I am referring to TBNTM who took half an hour to eat his burger, to the moanin’ ode gits behind who seemed keen to put down every man in a red shirt (until Billy Sharp almost scored, when he was all of a sudden the best thing since sliced bread), with Reid and Harding being particular targets (as it happens, Reid did have a poor match and lacked sharpness, and Harding picked up a knock which led to his substitution). Oh yes, let us not forget the lad who was having a go at Harding’s replacement, Brendan Moloney, who made a couple of misplaced passes, but was in the unenviable position of trying to slot into a back four, out of position, at a time when the result was still in the balance.

On the pitch, kudos to Lee Camp, Chris Cohen and Simon Cox; the latter in particular was brilliant and by far our most creative player (and my man of the match). Also promisingly, Coxy and Billy seem to be showing fledgling signs of a striking partnership, which may well be useful on Saturday when chances may well be at a premium…


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