Somewhat predictably, after beating Wolves, Nottingham Forest managed to lose 3-1 to Ipswich Town. John Turner offers a fan’s eye view from Portman Road.
Expectation levels prior to this match were probably as high as they have been all season. After two straight wins for us, and bearing in mind Ipswich Town’s woeful form this season, we went into this game as strong favourites to come away with all three points and extend our excellent recent results against Ipswich, having completed the double over them in the previous two seasons.
The high expectation levels were only matched by my pre-match nerves. Having lived in Suffolk my entire life, and with half of my family supporting Ipswich, there is no bigger game in the calendar for me.
I almost feel a little bit guilty because it seemed as though my nerves had creeped their way into the away dressing room. The first-half performance was one of the worst I have seen for a long time from a Forest team. Our talented midfield couldn’t string two passes together; the contrast in performance from, in particular, Henri Lansbury and Adlene Guedioura, couldn’t have been more stark from Saturday. We were not at the races at all and I lost count of the number of times we had to pass the ball back to Lee Camp, as a result of the lack of movement in midfield, or send long balls to Dexter Blackstock.
Perhaps that is the reason Camp decided to play as an outfield player – first rushing out and clattering DJ Campbell, where he was fortunate to only see yellow, and then rushing out again to clear a ball that was Danny Collins’ all day long, only to miss it completely and gift Guirane N’Daw a goal.
The second-half began much better for us with the introduction of Andy Reid and James Coppinger providing some natural width in midfield. Reid in particular was excellent, whipping some dangerous balls in. His combination with Billy Sharp led to our equaliser, with Blackstock tapping home.
We hadn’t been celebrating for long when Ipswich went up the other end and were awarded a penalty, with DJ Campbell slipping over in the box. Poor decision. The penalty was saved by Camp but unfortunately palmed out straight to Luke Hyam, who finished well. Clearly it wasn’t to be our night.
This goal seemingly killed us in the game. We went back to looking nervous and lacklustre. The final blow came towards the end of the game, once again we gave the ball away in a dangerous position and were punished with a simple goal for Daryl Murphy.
Hopefully we will learn from our mistakes and get stronger as a result. I would like to see Lewis McGugan given a chance to play Simon Cox’s role in his absence – with less defensive responsibility, and his creative ability, it’s a role that would suit his game well. I like Blackstock as a player but it seems when he plays we cannot resist sending long balls up to him, rather than play the attractive football that has served us reasonably well so far this season.
Follow John on Twitter: @Turns88
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