Forest 3 Birmingham 1

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October 17, 2016 by notjustpumpkinbread

Let’s be honest.

Post-Burke sale, it’s all been a bit poo, hasn’t it?

And when I say poo, I’m referring to the whole thing, not just the results on the pitch.

There have been times when it’s looked like we were moving in the right direction – all those occasions we’ve been leading games etc. etc. – but we’ve walked away from many-a-match pondering what might have been.

Then there’s the off-the-pitch shenanigans that will (at some point in the future) be written about and looked upon with wide-eyed uncertainty by those of a younger persuasion.

Yes son [or daughter],” we’ll start, “our chairman, back then, was as mad as a bag of frogs!

What did he do with all the Burke money?” they’ll ask.

It’s in the wind,” we’ll reply.

That’s for another time.

But it does get you down a bit, don’t you think? You try not to let it seep into your very marrow – and trust me, I’ve been trying really hard – but there comes a point when our diamond-hard Garibaldi faith becomes a little vulnerable.

Yet we still turn up. Hoping for the better. Seeing the bright points. Muttering to ourselves when “stuff” doesn’t go so well on the pitch.

Then Birmingham turn up. They’d only lost once, with the remaining 10 games being divided equally between wins and draws. And there’s Gary Rowett. I might get round to mentioning him again a little later. But only if I can be bothered.

The atmosphere was a bit flat when the game started. The raucous lot in the corner were doing a fair job of drowning out any noise from the Forest Faithful. No Mancienne – in the 11 or on the bench – made you wonder if he was injured and Traoré was preferred ahead of Fox. I’m sure there were many supporters who were glad of that change.

So Mills stood alongside Perquis, Eric was in his usual berth and Vlad was backing them up.

It was good to see the triumvirate of Vaughan, Cohen and Lansbury in the middle, with Kasami giving way and finding himself among the subs.

Hopefully the international break had given Carayol a chance to gain some fitness and a modicum of interest in playing for our great club; while Benny found himself out on the left again and Bendtner was preferred to Vellios up top.

All-in-all a fair line-up.

We’ll start with the goals and see what else cops up. Firstly, though, I’d like to say that I don’t think I’ve seen us score 3 goals of that quality in one game before.

A lovely ball over the top from Bendtner found the advancing Eric for our first. It was a great example of the Danish striker’s awareness of the game, and while he held the ball well on occasions he didn’t – in my opinion – offer much else in the match. It was a great finish from Eric by the way. Right foot across the face of goal, beating the keeper and hitting the side netting.

But back to Nicklas. There was a point towards the end of the first half when Carayol had made a good run towards the corner flag on the right and stood with the ball in front of a Birmingham defender. After a momentary pause he put a nice ball into the box but apart from Benny, there was no-one there. Why wasn’t Bendtner attacking the 6 yard box? Carayol had given him plenty of time to get there. That pretty much summed up The Lord’s performance on Friday.

It was very unfortunate that he seemed to sustain a nasty injury in the second half, but had he been on the pitch when Lansbury put in a lovely early ball from the left, we wouldn’t have scored. Because he wouldn’t have been there. Vellios (Bendtner’s replacement on 56 minutes when the Dane was stretchered off) was, however; it’s just what you want from your striker. Gambling on being in the right place in the box. A good finish from a great ball. And great work from Vaughan to pick out our Henri on the left in the first place.

That made it 2-0 – which was all very pleasant – but it could have been 3 had the lino not inexplicably flagged for offside when our Henri buried a free kick into the back of the net from outside the area. Scenes ensued after 10 minutes of the first half; fans and Forest players alike. Some Birmingham players were trudging back to the halfway line, but we were denied. And that was the pivotal moment of the game as far as the home crowd were concerned. It ignited the passion and lifted the atmosphere.

We’d started quite brightly and Birmingham weren’t really offering much. They looked quite nice on the ball in short bursts throughout the match, but never really threatened to notch another number up on their win or draw tally.

Even their goal to make it 2-1 on 72 minutes didn’t look like it went in. The all-to-familiar penalty area scramble to clear the ball ended with us conceding again, but it never felt like we would relinquish our lead.

Not long after the goal Pereira came on for Traoré, taking his position on the right of defence with Eric moving to the left. Six minutes later Lam replaced the excellent Carayol and we went to 5 at the back. Novel. As for Carayol, well, he certainly stepped up and was one of our best performing players. But you couldn’t single anybody out as a weak link really. Even Bendtner played his part – to a degree.

That midfield 3 worked really well, the defensive solidity of Vaughan giving Cohen and Lansbury the confidence to push forward. Having watched the game I wouldn’t have said Vaughan was utterly outstanding; in hindsight it was clearly one of those performances that was so good you kind of took it for granted. I was more impressed by Carayol, but only because he had been so poor against Fulham, it was like watching a different player. That’s probably why I didn’t notice Vaughan as much. More fool me, obviously!

So a lovely ball into the box for the first and a great early ball for the second. We were in seventh-heaven, but had saved the best for last.

Pereira picked up the ball in the right back position and decided to go on a sortie up top. My friend David noted that at no point did he look like he had the ball completely under control. He’s probably right. Pereira did – however – have the wherewithal to look up and see a sprinting Benny on the left. The synapses of his footballing brain fired and he loosed a nice ball into Benny’s path. One touch to control it and a second to provide another early ball into the box for Pereira saw the Portuguese player finish coolly.

Game over.

A much-needed win and an air of control about the game we haven’t seen for a while. Solidity and control could be offered as descriptions of our performance, as a Birmingham side who were in the top six were made to look a bit ordinary. Mills looked like he was approaching the sort of display we saw from him last season; Perquis continues to impress; Benny worked his sock off again and it was good to see Vellios come on and score another.

It was nice to see the international break affording M. Montanier the chance to work on our game to such effect. The true test will be a visit to second from bottom Blackburn on Tuesday night. Let’s hope Philippe doesn’t ring the changes too much.

COME ON YOU REDS

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