A New Year saw a defeat for Nottingham Forest as Alex McLeish’s men went down 3-0 to Blackburn Rovers. Rob Terrace offers a fan’s eye view from Ewood Park.
The first full game of the Alex McLeish reign was always going to be a tough one, as Blackburn has always been difficult for Forest to go to, despite winning on my only previous visit in 1999.
Dexter Blackstock, Radi Majewski and Chris Cohen were all dropped to the bench while Elliott Ward returned to Norwich after his loan deal expired.
Forest came out of the blocks quickly, passing the ball about with some skill and looking to overlap on either side, with Dan Harding and Greg Halford pushing forward, and putting their opposite numbers under pressure.
Henri Lansbury, Andy Reid and Adlene Guedioura were busy as well, playing short balls over the Blackburn defence and into the box; and it was one of these that broke lose to Lansbury, who failed to bring it under control and sliced the ball wide.
To say it was all one-way traffic, however, is unfair on the hosts, as Ruben Rochina, Colin Kazim-Richards and Josh King pressed Forest back.
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Lansbury once again had a chance, as a ball from Halford bounced up from a Grant Hanley challenge and it was hit with power, evading Jake Kean in the Blackburn goal and went just wide into the side netting.
Lansbury was at the forefront of a lot of the action for the remainder of the half, his running battle with Martin Olsson being the highlight, with Lansbury being booked shortly after a challenge from Olsson which saw the full-back escape unpunished.
A lacklustre first-half saw both teams playing through midfield but without too much action.
Blackburn came out early for the second-half, as the heavens opened, but it was Forest who had the first opportunity, with Reid winning a free-kick following Hanley’s foul.
And it was from this that Blackburn took the lead after breaking clear following the breakdown of the Forest set-play. Josh King broke clear from his own half and supplied Ruben Rochina, who was fortunate to see Daniel Ayala’s tackle on the edge of the Forest box ricochet back into his left leg, and beat Camp into the bottom corner.
The goal seemed to knock Forest back a little bit, and although Billy Sharp was industrious in his partnership with Simon Cox, forcing an excellent save from Kean with a point blank header, it was another mistake at a set-piece that led to the lead being doubled.
Following a foul on Guy Moussi, Reid tried to find Harding on the left-wing but the ball was intercepted. Camp attempted to throw himself at the ball, neglecting to realise that Danny Collins was between him and the ball. Taking out Collins left Jordan Rhodes with an open route to goal, and the Scottish international rolled the ball in to take his season’s tally to 13.
It was the introduction of Dexter Blackstock shortly before the goal, however, that caused the most ire for the travelling fans, as Guedioura, who was playing his last game before departing to lead Algeria in the Africa Cup of Nations, was withdrawn as Alex McLeish looked to pull the deficit back.
Any likelihood of Forest making a comeback from 2-0 down was almost instantly extinguished, as Adam Henley once again broke clear on the Forest left and his ball across the edge of the 18-yard box saw Kazim-Richards fire home.
That provided the end of the major action, as Blackburn held onto possession for large periods of the remaining 15 minutes, without ever causing any problems to Camp.
Forest can now look forward to the transfer window. It is plainly obvious that we need to sort out our problems down the flanks and also look at another left-back, as Harding was woefully exposed at times today (however, that could be because Reid was playing very narrow). And another goalkeeper needs to come in, as Camp has had no real competition for his place in the team since Paul Smith was sent out on loan in the middle of last season.
You can follow Rob on Twitter: @rmt_1982
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