After dominating the first-half, Nottingham Forest conceded three second-half goals and lost their first home game of the season 3-1 to Blackburn Rovers. Steve Wright offers a fan’s eye view from the City Ground…
I have to admit I am stunned by what we saw this afternoon.
The first-half was as good as we have seen this season. Forest dominated the game. They were composed and effective in possession. They created chances and eventually got themselves a deserved goal. It would have been perfect except they didn’t turn their dominance into enough of a lead. One goal didn’t feel like enough and so it proved.
The second-half was totally different. There was a sense of panic when Blackburn put the ball into the Forest box. There was no dominant figure to clear the ball away and it seemed to linger in a very dangerous area. You could feel the momentum of the game moving to the away side. Passes were also starting to get sloppy as confidence began to slip away. Something needed to change. Pearce turned to Lansbury and at the same time Gary Bowyer turned to Gestede.
Within a few short minutes Blackburn equalised as again the ball wasn’t cleared from a corner and Baptiste took advantage. There was an immediate response as Lansbury was first denied by the goalkeeper’s trailing foot and then by the post but it didn’t last and it wasn’t long before the substitute’s enthusiasm and impact evaporated.
Forest needed leaders to step forward and take charge but none could be found and within 11 minutes of equalising Blackburn had sewn up the game at 3-1 as individual mistakes allowed Gestedes and Rhodes through for goals. It could have been worse by the end as Blackburn continued to push forward and Forest failed to find a response.
In the first-half there was only one team in it. Blackburn were an average side there for the taking but with only one goal conceded by the break they still had something to play for. By the end of the game they had routed their opponents completely and were worthy winners, both sides transformed in their performances.
So what do we do now? We pick ourselves up and go again. What we don’t need is panic, negativity and yet more change. We are on a poor run but we need to rally together to come through it. After two turbulent years we are rebuilding and we need to be realistic in our expectations and patient in our judgments. We have good players but we are still trying to find the right mix, especially since losing influential players in Hobbs, Cohen and Reid, three leaders who we desperately missed today.
It was a hugely frustrating afternoon and it has been a frustrating few weeks, but the way out of this is not to turn on our club, it is to get behind them when they need us most. So many positive things have happened in the last few months; now let’s play our part by supporting our manager and his players through a difficult period. We are three months into a development process that realistically wants at least three years. Hold steady and keep faith.
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