|Nottingham Forest 2 v 1 Ipswich Town|
Saturday, 14th April 2018 Kick-off 15:00
|Freddies_Ears added 18:14 - Apr 14|
Mullet added 20:46 - Apr 14
Klug and his team named a largely unchanged side to Mick’s final game against Barnsley where possible and obvious, but some clear tweaks were necessary and welcomed by those who saw them. Ahead of Bart the official tweet suggested Grant Ward was at wingback, and he sort of was, in a move that head he Klug’s Tottenham days all over it I suspect. Kenlock his opposite, and Spence, CCV and Knudsen had Skuse and Hyam as a barrier. Waghorn and Morris were the attack.
There was little in the way of definition to the shape of the side, even if it wasn’t quite bare bones stuff. A nominal 3-4-3 that played at a flatter 3-5-2, all thanks to the way in which Forest tilted possession and territory, often split strikers and compacted central midfield and defence.
Jack Colback somehow looks younger these day, perhaps the air is thinner in the North East. But he reached no great heights as the most obvious sitter behind a bank of midfielders that all shuffled and cajoled behind youth product Brereton. Kicking and snarling like a player who’s stood still then gone backwards, in every sense since the promise of his Town days.
It was all headers and volleys and a case of who really cared in the opening salvos, all until Forest who had not scored in half a dozen games were gifted an opening chance through their eventual ad questionable MOTM Osborn. The young left-sided player mugged Ward who cushioned a dropping ball perfectly, but then lacked the requisite awareness as his opposition jinked clear, forcing Bart into the first of many all too comfortable saves.
Whilst on the left side a vivacious man of the match turn from Myles Kenlock had the added security of Knudsen and Nydam to protect and parry his play, you could see as the game went on; Spence was just as keen to maraud forward overlapping rather than underpinning the winger who also had defensive duties on the right today.
Forest would then hit the post from a Watson header. The other ‘midfielder rouquin’ was a close shave away from breaking the deadlock. The initial corner had been won by Brereton being allowed time to run and shoot and Bart to firmly push it away.
You could hear the rustling amongst the 25k crowd as they sensed that another game would leave Forest seeing the woodwork deny them the three points. Watson would find himself free for another corner only to sky his volley wayward in a period where Town’s play wasn’t so much against every run of theirs, but just chipping away at the home side’s shape and belief.
Pantilimon showed for a big keeper he disliked balls lofted across him. Ward when he got forward, had more success than bending play down the line to the isolated Waghorn. A frustration who needed to cut inside all too often. Making space behind the fullbacks, rather than tangling with Spence by trying to angle a direct run proved more useful. It was however from the left that Town got more joy.
Skuse and Hyam were solid enough, but Nydam was more mobile.
Morris did well to win the ball at times given how lightweight he seemed, but a lack of muscle on that side lent itself to guile. A cute chop dropped for Waghorn, but had a touch too much on it and the keeper gather easily. It would require a spectacular own goal from the covering defender to break the deficit then.
It was Nydam as the support act for Kenlock that saw Darikwa most uneasy. The athletic right back wasn’t so good with his use of the ball, so their interplay saw Nydam chopped down to no decision made in telling foreshadowing.
A quick throw by Knudsen would find Waghorn who worked on the periphery of the box, the usual midfield faces allowed the ball to fall to Kenlock who sent over a swift cross into a crowded box. Somehow Ward met the questions being asked of everyone with a nonchalant touch that beat its way into the back of the net. It was 38 minutes in the making, but no one knew too much about it.
The Town fans went wild, almost in disbelief and mockery of the sorry looking home faces. Those who had earlier celebrated Mick McCarthy ‘being on the dole’ were drowned, when it might have been more musical to have them frozen out by a change of songsheet. More and more blue and white and Ipswich filled the air. Thank Klug.
It was a half that looked likely to be defined by what didn’t happen more than what did all until the goal came. Town were not bad, Forest were not good. The game landed squarely in the middle at any given moment.
No changes for Bryan after the break. He remained seated, as Nash stood prowling the technical area. All gestures and instructions. It’s been many years since I stood next to him doing that on Southwold common, the distance I was sat from him only emphasised how far he’s come and the club as a whole.
Ipswich started brightly, and Ward again brought the ball down with finesse and found the byline. But what really buoyed the travelling fans, keen to see something different came from a short Waghorn freekick. Dinked to the near post, the defence almost didn’t feel the need to pick Hyam. Their dereliction or arrogance nearly cost them as the youth product bore down on goal, then slid a shot the wrong side of the far post.
The reds were left suitably close to embarrassment as they gathered themselves and looked to restore some balance. As the hour approached it was obvious that some of the younger faces in the line up would lack the experience and endurance for a hot day under the glare of the Championship sun. Morris who had toiled but not really earnt his place in the memory made way for Carayol.
The youngster made one last grab for the grey matter with an intelligent switched pass on the halfway line. Setting away Nydam who was too green too know the four reds closing in around him could have a foul bought from any of them. A slimline Tomlin just pushed him off the ball and retrieved the momentum.
The substitute who ran onto the pitch, still stood at the end of an ad banner across the length of the main stand. So much had changed at both clubs since the summer, but so little was different. Equally invariable was the short-term contractor’s inconsistency. Lightening quick, he ate up the ground and the goodwill of fans who wanted to see one of his final passes meet Waghorn not the stumbling leg of a former colleague running back to stop them.
Nydam was changed for Connolly who perhaps missed out due to being on loan, rather than lower down in the pecking order. It gave Town a more familiar feel as Karanka seemed to sharpen the tip of his attack. Substitute Cash pushed Lolley further forwards as the home side had a lot more of the ball.
When Carayol again broke he had Waghorn waiting but forced the striker too far, or too wide by one step. The chip towards Pantilimon was almost an insulting surrender of possession rather than a legitimate shot. Once again Town looked good until it got to where it mattered most.
A blatant penalty shout for Town which was given as a corner was the first of a series of decisions which defined the game. Ward beat Osborn all day long, and Osborn was nearly as successful in the other direction. It would be this game of run and cross which saw a red-hand caught by the ball and hesitantly the linesman awarded a corner. When in the 70 odd of minutes Osborn tried to get in the box Ward pulled his shirt away, which took his legs away just outside. The ref waited until he lost his footing and possession to book Ward and give a free kick which would be wasted.
In the first half Town had stood and stacked around the box as a recent run of gifting penalties saw no one make a challenge. It was left to Nydam to pick pockets then a neat pass away to Morris to relieve the pressure in the most threatening of these moves. At the other end of the pitch and the match, it was the late 80’s when Ward would chop down the running man in the most obvious of fashion from behind. With just minutes left, he was lucky not to talk himself into the second booking he’d narrowly avoided. CCV who had been quietly strong and silent, was also making a monologue towards being cautioned it seemed.
Brereton stepped up, and Bart couldn’t stop it. A free hit from 12 yards meant the fingertips of the Pole weren’t enough to keep up the goal drought and damn Forest to defeat. A sickening leveller. Last year we’d gifted them Championship survival, this year our lead again, as we so often did under the man who wasn’t here.
It was the introduction not of an extra striker that had changed Forest’s ideas, but Bridcutt in the middle. Watson was all action and antics, Bridcutt business and belief. When the board went up for five minutes additional time, you just knew. I don’t know how, but we just did.
Waghorn was dead on his feet but Hyam already off for Gleeson, perhaps to combat the new legs in their midfield, we were out of options. A pitiful short corner routine which just needed a good thump at goal summed up Town’s lack of idea and intent.
When Brereton again trundled at goal our defenders stood up and off him. Where an hour or more earlier a flying header or solid block tackle would disrupt or deflect any cross, he was softly pushed aside and lofted a lovely ball for Lolley.
This season I’ve seen three goals before the striker hit them, where I knew they were in already. The first was McGoldricks’s volley at Barnsley, then Celina’s free kick at Burton. As the ricochet off Bart confirmed it and the net rippled like a boxer’s face in mid consciousness, the left hook of a volley put Town down for the last time.
You can argue that the line-up reflected the current situation all too well. Little changes, and little had changed. It was no surprise to see those with academy and White Hart Lane pedigree making the starting line-up, before Town looked more like and more to those McCarthy had assembled this season. The result was not a fair one.
The dismal run at the City ground continues as yet again Ipswich are the architects of their own undoing. Forest fans must look for this fixture, after their Derby games every July.
It’s no wonder the season is long over but still all of these things just won’t end.
Arnie added 11:47 - Apr 15
You need to log in to participate in Your Report