I think it’s fair to say that was hardly a classic. A lacklustre performance became secondary come 7pm as Forest recorded their 2nd successive home victory against Bristol City at an all but empty City Ground. Tiago Silva’s excellent free kick was the decisive bit of quality in a game which sadly left a lot to be desired for.
We’ll get the negatives out of the way early and it was another workman-like performance from Sabri Lamouchi’s men which lacked fluidity for the majority of the game. From the opening 15 minutes; you sensed it wasn’t going to be a classic. Ball retention was a huge issue as Forest failed to string more than a few passes together without the ball going astray. It’s frustrating watching as we all know that Forest can do so much better. We simply have to keep going and hope that it comes together sooner rather than later for my nerves!
Joe Lolley picked up a calf problem in the first half and although he initially ran that off; he got caught with a kick just before the break and didn’t make it out for the 2nd half. Fingers crossed it was a precaution because we really can’t do without Joe. It’ll be a sickener if he misses out against Derby on Saturday so every Forest fan will be crossing their fingers that he’ll be available come Saturday lunchtime.
Despite the level of performance with the ball there were still plenty of positives. As I alluded to in my preview, Bristol City are something of a bogey team for Forest and so to grind out another win at home is a massive plus.
Once more Forest’s back 5 were outstanding. To a man, our defenders coped admirably with what Bristol could throw at them and considering Benik Afobe and Famara Diedhiou are fairly decent strikers in The Championship; Joe Worrall and Tobi Figueriedo made light work of the pair. Brice Samba in goal was pretty reliable as ever although he didn’t really have to make a save of any note. He dealt with balls into the box quite comfortably and so the clean sheet was thoroughly deserved.
Matty Cash looks a Premier League player by the game with his assured performances at right back and Yuri Ribeiro on the left hand side goes from strength to strength also. It is the strongest and well balanced defensive unit we have had for some time and that’s not to mention the attacking threat they pose also.
Get forward, get back, clear your lines 👊
— Nottingham Forest FC (@NFFC) July 2, 2020
With their consistent levels of performance; there is a confidence about the side that appears comfortable in not having the ball. It makes me feel far from comfortable but we have to trust the players and the manager and I can’t knock the defensive performance tonight. It was very good.
Joe Lolley’s replacement Nuno Da Costa built on a couple of promising appearances against Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield with most accomplished performance yet. Almost playing off Lewis Grabban, Da Costa showed strength, nimble feet and intelligence to link the play further up the pitch. I won’t get carried away but promising is the right description for now.
Tiago Silva scored a cracking free kick to decide the game and considering his contribution in the first 20 minutes; I may have balked at the suggestion he would win the game with a top quality moment of magic. But I guess that is Tiago in a bit of a nutshell and says a lot about his character. Even when the game isn’t going his way, he continues to dig in and fight for his team mates. Ashley Williams took exception to Tiago’s tenacity in the tackle; and stupidly took it out on Yuri; flattening him with a forearm to the face. As far as sending offs go, I can’t remember seeing more stupid ones.
In fairness to Forest, the goal settled a few nerves and we looked a lot more comfortable counter attacking after that moment and certainly carried more of a threat. The front 3 all started to show greater game intelligence in looking after the football; with Grabban, Da Costa and Ameobi showing moments of quality. Samba Sow got some minutes on the pitch and both Matty Cash and Ryan Yates had the scars to prove that they’d been in the wars.
— Matty Cash (@mattycash622) July 1, 2020
Sabri’s Forest may not be the prettiest but there is plenty of fight in these lads and we’re right behind them. It hasn’t quite come together as a collective since the restart but the signs are there. I’m praying that it clicks before now until the end of the season. There’s a no better time or place for it to start then on Saturday at the sheep dip…
TEAM PERFORMANCE: 6 – Defensively, we were much better but attacking wise; we had an off night.
SAMBA: 7 – Calm and confident.
CASH: 7 – Dealt with what came his way.
RIBEIRO: 8 – MAN OF THE MATCH – Superb display from our Portuguese left back.
WORRALL: 8 – Big performance from Joe. Faultless.
FIGUEIREDO: 8 – Another solid display. Again – faultless.
WATSON: 5 – Not his best game in a Forest shirt.
YATES: 7 – Still has those moments of concentration loss with the ball but showed great fight and determination in the Forest midfield.
SILVA: 7 – He frustrates but no doubting his quality. Tiago produced the big moment for his team mates.
LOLLEY: 5 – Struggled first half and looked untidy in his play. Not helped by picking up a knock and persevering on.
AMEOBI: 6 – The good, the bad and the ugly at times but showed some maturity in his performance when we needed to see the game out.
GRABBAN: 6 – Another one of those games when his team mates barely gave him a sniff but made sure the Bristol centre halves knew they were in a game.
DA COSTA: 6 – More bright moments – can he make a name for himself at Pride Park?
SOW: 6 – Got stuck in from the off. Needs to let Wayne Rooney know he won’t have the freedom of Derbyshire to play on Saturday.
WALKER: 5 – Barely got any game time.
DAWSON: 5 – Brought on to see out the final moments but rarely touched the ball.