An injury-time equaliser saw Nottingham Forest draw 1-1 with Bournemouth in a frustrating encounter. Scott Eley offers a fan’s eye view from the City Ground…


It was a massively frustrating afternoon for the Reds’ home draw at the City Ground yesterday. Kids for a Quid had guaranteed a sell-out but once again an expectant crowd went home disappointed. We must have alienated an entire generation on the back of this initiative…

Credit must go to to Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth team for showing the bravery to stick with their passing game. We should have been seen the game out yesterday but Bournemouth played and played until the final death and their offside trap was like watching a well organised Arsenal side from the late ’80s. They deserved their goal. An equaliser shouldn’t have been in the reckoning by 90 minutes however.

It was a sloppy game from our point of view given the wasted chances and basic errors that kept giving hope to the visitors. A number of players were all guilty of poor decision making in crucial areas. I thought Hobbs was outstanding; Cohen is getting better with every game at left-back; and Jara is just pure class in this division. I’d prefer to see Jara in central midfield than Reid when seeing a game out. Jara is simply too good not to be involved and the same will apply to Lichaj after his suspension is up. Can we accommodate them both?

My immediate reaction to dropping points was to put it down to the substitution of Majewski midway through the second-half. Radi has been below standard for a few weeks and his substitution wasn’t a surprise. It was what happened as a result that was significant in my opinion. Billy went with Reid in the centre of midfield that really invited Bournemouth into the game. Reidy for all his talent isn’t going to make the tackles or win the headers to nullify the opposition. The Championship simply doesn’t allow for a ‘Ryan Giggs’ role in midfield. The game needed to be seen out yesterday and without options on the bench, we were limited. Bournemouth’s short passing game needed to be harried and pressed into mistakes, which in fairness we did well for the first hour of the game.

The midfield dilemma isn’t something new of course. We’ve worsened the situation ourselves by selling Guedioura. Never weaken before strengthening if you are serious about going up.

That said, Henri Lansbury has really stepped up his game in recent weeks. For too long Lansbury had been flitting in and out of games on the right-hand side and it’s only now that we’re seeing the best of him, at the heart of the action in a central midfield role. He’s got magic in his boots and the aggression to match. A through ball to Cox in the first-half was sublime and his goal was an absolute ‘worldy’. He will be a big miss when suspended next week.

Without wanting to bang on about the obvious, we are desperately lacking a man who craves goals. Henderson should have wrapped the game up; Cox squandered an equally as good chance first half. We simply have to put those chances away.

Billy likes his work-horse type of striker to win games over the course of the season but we are missing an Earnshaw/Sharp type up front. People may say that 20-goals-a-season strikers don’t grow on trees but the type of striker who has natural-finishing ability, rather than closing down centre-backs, do.

Although Henderson was guilty of a bad miss, I actually think he is improving as a player. Hendo is our biggest goal threat and for all the hard work he has to put in as our target man, I think it’s unfair for him to carry the can on his own. I like Cox for his endeavour but it is his place that’s in jeopardy for me. Mackie and Derbyshire are similar, workmanlike players that rely more on industry than ability.

History in the Championship always tells us not to get too high or too low with results and performances. History under Billy tells us that we will consistently pick up results that will keep us up there come May. Unfortunately, history also shows us that a pattern is emerging under Billy – his philosophy doesn’t guarantee goals.

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