A late Darius Henderson goal saw Nottingham Forest beat Blackburn Rovers 1-0, as the Reds continued their strong start to the season. Jeff Reynolds offers a fan’s eye view from Ewood Park…
To be honest, as I was driving up to Ewood Park, I would have cheerfully taken a point. It’s not been a happy hunting ground for the Reds for some time and a point away from home is always good. So to get a 91st minute winner was so very sweet and, on the balance of play, fully deserved.
Ewood Park is a good ground to visit: easy to find, good parking and a decent ground. Driving down the road to the ground it was obvious, again, that the Garibaldi Red was everywhere and the away support would be as good as it always is. Blackburn are another team that have done away with turnstile assistants and you get into the ground by having the bar code on your ticket scanned in an impersonal machine.
Once inside, the bars were doing good business and the chicken Balti pie was tasty and very, very hot. I started it at 2pm and was still eating when the players began their warm up half an hour later. Sadly come kick-off time the ground was very empty. It was a good job there was nigh on 2,000 Trickies there, otherwise there would have been zero atmosphere.
Forest started confidently and it was obvious we hadn’t come to ‘park the bus’ even though we were playing an interesting 4-4-1-1 formation with Majewski playing just behind the ever-willing Henderson. As always there was much interchanging between our midfield with all of them keen to be on the ball.
Blackburn’s main threat seem to come through set pieces with the excellent delivery of Alan Judge, formerly of this manor and across the Trent. As half-time arrived, there was a sense of frustration amongst the fans as we had done enough to be in the lead and were restricting the opposition to very little indeed with Hobbs and Casual Kelv already looking an excellent partnership.
Blackburn began the second-half with more urgency and were pressing with a high tempo which made for an open game and the feeling that there had to be some goals. But both sides were restricted to half-chances with our subs Mackie, Derbyshire and Halford all making telling contributions (it’s a squad game folks!)
So, come the 91st minute and Mackie’s persistence set up Henderson who still had a lot to do and struck the ball very sweetly from 18 yards into the roof of the net. Cue delirium in the stands and also, tellingly, amongst the players.
In conclusion, I’m sure that WMD realises that we, potentially, have a very solid defence now and that we won’t be giving soft goals away too often. Hobbs and Lichaj again looked composed and solid, and Kelvin looked every inch the class defender he can be; his tackle on Best in the box in the second half was supreme. I still feel that there will be more rotation with our offensive players, with Billy trying to find the best combinations and it may be a case of different horses for different courses as the season progresses. Personally I think there is more to come from Pep and Reidy in terms of creativity and their desire to make the ‘Hollywood pass’ at every opportunity.
You can follow Jeff on Twitter: @smilingjeff
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