January 11, 2016 by notjustpumpkinbread
Plucked from the air with the grace and guile of a seasoned pro; his drive into the opposition’s half exhibited the strength and speed only a few possess – that look of abject horror from the opposition left back a signal to all that (perhaps) this wasn’t to be his day guarding their left flank; the only thing on this bright young thing’s mind was to bury the ball – so adroitly received – into the back of the net and help to propel his team forward to the 4th round of the cup.
The ball left his foot close to the speed of sound, homing into the bottom left corner of the goal with all the accuracy of a laser guided missile loosed from an agile fighter jet. We watched, our posteriors poised some 6 inches above our perches, waiting for the denouement. That a fellow teammate sporting the world famous Garibaldi had the wherewithal to ghost in at the far post – making his run of similar speedy proportions just in case – proved pivotal. Those few extra visiting supporters in the Bridgford End must has puffed in unison to deny him a goal so richly deserved. One outstretched leg later and the ball nestled in the back of the net beyond the despairing dive of the keeper. Oh how we cheered.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Oliver Burke; ably assisted by the quick of mind and fleet of foot Jamie Ward. It was Jamie’s first goal for the club and one long overdue. It will be remembered, however, as “that goal” created by Oliver Burke.
We could talk about the sitting too deep in the second half. The urging from the touchline of the Forest staff to get up the pitch. The weathering of the storm that was the increasing pressure of an advancing QPR team looking to get something from the game. But why should we? Oliver Burke and his performance in the first half is all we need to be reminded of. Oh, and the fact we won 1-0 and are in the draw for the 4th round of the cup!
I will touch on a few things though; for while we seemed to toil somewhat as the game progressed, we must remind ourselves that this was a team containing players for whom a regular starting position has not been forthcoming for one reason or another.
A welcome return for Gary Gardner saw him play his first game this season, having not featured at all for a struggling Aston Villa side. Chris Cohen had the last 4 minutes of the Charlton game under his belt before taking his place at left back; a first start since September 2014. Kelvin Wilson has been struggling with an achilles issue recently, but in fairness, if fit would be behind Mancienne, Mills and Hobbs in the pecking order; while Jack has found himself out of the team lately due to the rich form of Mills and Mancienne. Then, of course, there’s Mancienne playing at right back – presumably to give Eric a bit of a rest. All in all there were seven changes to the team that drew with Charlton, so their ring-rusty nature was to be expected. That they did an exemplary job of beating QPR, both in attack in the first half and in defence in the second, can only signal the depth we have in our squad.
That depth of course will be diminished somewhat with the departure from the pitch of our Henri on a stretcher, his left ankle immobilised and sucking in some oxygen. He’d only been on the pitch for about 15 minutes, having been a second half replacement for an inevitably tiring Gardner. We feared the worse, but recent reports tell us the X-ray shows no sign of a break. We shall have to wait until an MRI scan is performed to see how badly his ankle has been damaged. Fingers crossed everyone. The timing of a quality midfield player being signed on loan could not be more prescient.
It had looked like Mendes was coming on until Henri got injured, so a change of tack from Mr Dougie saw Eric move to right back – he had replaced Cohen on 71 minutes – and Mancienne to midfield alongside Tesche. This signalled our chance to look at another of our recent loan signings – from Villarreal, left back Bojan Jokic. With a broad smile on his face, he received a jocular arm around the shoulder from our manager and clearly relished the opportunity to take to the pitch. From what I saw in those final 18 minutes, he looked solid. Here’s hoping he’s another quality signing – it seems our manger is (generally) good at those.
So, another home win; a place in the 4th round of the FA Cup; the return of Gary Gardner to the fold; a start for Chris Cohen and hopefully the beginning of the rest of his career; a simply stunning display from Oliver Burke; Tyler Walker getting back into the match day squad; Michael Mancienne showing yet again that he is a footballer of utilitarian talents; a long, overdue rest for such principles as Lord Nelson, Mendes, Vaughan and Mills. What more could we wish for? That our Henri wasn’t injured is the obvious one, but this wouldn’t be Nottingham Forest without something of that nature. It’s Birmingham at home next. No problem!
COME ON YOU REDS!!!