A 2-3 home defeat against Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup probably wasn’t the result Alex McLeish was looking for after the New Year’s Day drubbing at Ewood Park. Justin Heaton offers a fan’s eye view from the City Ground.
Whatever the Forest players had at half-time in the game against Leeds, Oldham must have found the remains of it at half-time today. The old cliche of a game of two halves has never been more evident.
They say bookies never get it wrong, well they did today in a big way. Oldham were 11/2 to win this game, and anyone watching the first 30 minutes could see why.
Forest, with a 3-5-2 formation — although it was more like 3-2-1-2-2, or maybe 3-1-2-2-2, depending if Gillett was in front or behind the wing-backs — literally walked through the first half an hour without Camp making a save and never looking in trouble apart from a 25-yard free kick that went just wide.
The home team seemed to be attacking at will, albeit in slow motion, and cutting the Oldham defence apart on a regular basis, but for all this domination only had one goal to show for it. A free-kick floated over by Reid from the right hit a defender and went in. Blackstock should have doubled the lead going clean through to see his shot smothered by the advancing keeper.
Half an hour in though Forest lost Reid to a groin injury and seemed to lose their way. Although it hadn’t been thrilling to watch, the Reds were never in any danger and the result seemed to be a formality so what was to happen in the first 15 minutes of the second-half was unbelievable.
MORE FOREST STORIES
From the off, Oldham were a different proposition, attacking incessantly, and with their supporters smelling blood, a goal seemed inevitable. It duly came nine minutes into the second-half and this only encouraged Oldham to attack more.
Forest had no answer and when Oldham took the lead four minutes later, nobody was surprised. Three minutes later Collins was sent off for a professional foul, the visitors scored from the free-kick and the game was over. Just as we had taken Leeds apart in 15 minutes, 10 days earlier, the roles were completely reversed.
To be fair, Forest never looked like mounting a sustained attack on the Oldham goal, and Billy Sharp’s goal in injury-time was neither here, nor there.
Being a diehard Red of over 30 years, I really should be used to Saturday evenings like this but unfortunately it never gets any easier. And although my son is too young to be depressed about anything for more than 10 seconds, I’m already worried that he will have a lifetime of miserable Saturday evenings. But hey, it’s days like this that makes winning even better and we should make the most of every victory.
Only the most pessimistic (or realistic) of fans would have taken the bookies 11/2, so I’m off to collect my £13.
You can follow Justin on Twitter: @justinheaton72
Image courtesy of nuttakit/FreeDigitalPhotos.net