An afternoon at the DW Stadium prescribes disappointment and yesterday’s performance and result offered not a lot else.
Whilst it would be easier to say that Sabri Lamouchi got it wrong with his team selection, it felt like if we’d still been playing now, we wouldn’t have scored a goal. Its a bogey ground alright.
I’m definitely not suggesting that the players were out the night before but the performance of many resembled that of The Long Eaton Sunday Morning League. Whilst we were perhaps ready for a break, yesterday we looked a side that had forgotten we were second in the table on merit.
The real disappointment for me was that lost belief. The performance was very much what we’ve become accustomed to at Forest for a number of years. The expectation goes as quickly as it appeared! I couldn’t fault the effort as such, it was just the continual basic errors and lack of quality that really curtailed any hopes of getting back into it. Until Thiago Silva came on to put his stamp on the game, Wigan looked like they wanted it more than us which came as a bit of a surprise to me.
Samba Sow’s tenacity was a big miss in midfield. John Bostock looked off the pace and sat next to Ben Watson in midfield, it was a bit reminiscent of last seasons midfield when it was felt he was too similar to Jack Colback for them to play as an effective pair. Bostock hasn’t played much football this season and it showed. He did show some nice touches and he played a lovely ball through to Rafa Mir just before he was substituted.
Bostock possesses similar qualities to Watson and we lacked a bit of energy in there. It was unfortunately a little too late when Silva arrived. Although we huffed and puffed for the remainder of the game, I couldn’t see a goal coming.
There were some interesting and slightly concerning stats being thrown about by the Sky commentators that Forest’s ball retention was only better than two other championship sides and that our shots on target were equally as poor. Those type of stats catch up with you in the end so there’s certainly room for improvement.
On a day where we needed a bit of luck, it was nowhere to be seen and honestly, I had no complaints with the result. The referee was the usual standard and the challenge on Ribeiro in the 2nd half that went unpunished was frankly, a joke. By the letter of the law, the basic shirt pulling on Sammi Ameobi should’ve been given as a penalty in the first half but his theatrics didn’t help matters. Ribeiro was so incensed at the decision that didn’t go his way, he was still ranting a good ten minutes later to get a booking.
Forest without Dawson, Sow and Grabban is a tough act to follow by any means. Maybe replacing all 3 with those lacking in game time was too much to ask. But they have to start somewhere with game time, we all know it’s a long season ahead.
I was surprised at given the changes there was no place for Albert Adomah. I think the games against the likes of Wigan are perfect for Albert. He’s still got the know how to unlock defences and whilst he can’t do it every game, I fancied him to make a start yesterday. Maybe the front 3 of Lolley, Ameobi and Adomah would’ve been too cavalier.
The striker situation feels like it’s teetering somewhat given the lack of alternatives to Lewis Grabban. Rafa Mir needs a goal desperately and I don’t care how he gets it. We’ve seen Lewis go from zero to hero this season and it wouldn’t surprise me to see a similar turn of events for young Rafa. Somebody give him a break.
The Forest fans sarcastically cheering his substitution showed a lack of respect towards him and the managers decision to start him. If anything happens to Lewis, we’ll need this lad to be feeling as confident as he can. Being jeered is just stupid. Plain stupid. Unpopular opinion but despite the misses, this was his most threatening showing in a Forest shirt.
Giving such a poor goal away left us up against it on a day when we weren’t at the races. A scuffed cross gave just the type of opportunity to Jamal Lowe that Rafa Mir could do with. It looked like we’d gotten away with it given the quality of the cross but Toby Figuerido appeared to let the ball go in anticipation of his keeper claiming it. Safety first next time….
This was definitely one for the deleted section in my Sky recordings box. Forest will have to improve but as quick as the games come, it’s a great opportunity to not dwell on a forgettable afternoon. I won’t bemoan the quick turnaround of fixtures. It’s a good thing at this point that Hull will be at the City Ground on Wednesday evening.
Sabri’s facing a test to improve some of those stats and get our key players firing again. We know he’s got what it takes. Let’s keep the faith.
Team Performance – 5 – a truly average performance.
Samba – 7 – excellent in goal once more. His distribution is unreal at this level.
Cash – 6 – coped fine at full back but was lacking that bit of quality when in the final third.
Robinson – 6 – solid enough. No real problems with Jack.
Figs – 5 – at fault for their goal. Switched off. Game became a battle after that.
Worrall – 6 – slightly better than his partner but almost handed a 2nd goal on a plate with a miss kick. Please don’t let the silly mistakes creep in Joe, we’ve come too far for that.
Bostock – 5 – struggled with the pace of the game. Some nice touches in fairness.
Watson – 7 – played well but needed some help. Mr consistent.
Ribeiro – 5 – still getting to grips with the English game but shows potential. Another one lacking in game time and doesn’t feel like further up the pitch is his best position.
Lolley – 5 – worked reasonably hard but just struggling to get away from opposition defenders like he was last season.
Ameobi – 6 – carried our greatest threat going forward. It doesn’t come off every time but there’s no doubt that without Lolley and Carvalho in good nick, we’d be struggling without Sammi’s contributions.
Mir – 5 – would love to see the lad get a shot on target. He had a decent headed chance in the first half and should have equalised when put clean through.
Silva – 7 – Man of the match. We looked 100% better when he came on. Consistency is improving by the game.
Carvalho – 5 – we need his undoubted quality to start kicking in. As a No.10 he rarely looks like scoring and that’s a concern for me.
Grabban – 5 – an improvement on Mir but he missed a chance that was as bad. Looked half a sleep when it dropped to him.