A disappointing 0-0 with Rotherham United leaves Nottingham Forest still in the chasing pack but in dire need of form and consistency. Liam Harrison offers a fan’s eye view from the New York Stadium…
Saturday saw another fine away following watch an inconsistent and seemingly passionless Nottingham Forest, lacking any type of killer instinct, struggle to a 0-0 draw with Rotherham United.
Heading into the game, Saturday’s opponents had secured a credible point away at Cardiff, a game that also ended 0-0. Forest also earned a point after a fine second-half performance with Charlton at the City Ground.
The result sees Forest five points behind the play-off pack, despite moving up a place to ninth.
Pearce made four changes to the side that faced Charlton – Wilson, Tesche, Blackstock and Assombalonga replaced Lascelles, Osborn, Ince and Fryatt who all dropped to form a strong looking bench.
A trend reoccurring like a bad dream saw Forest start sluggish and nearly slip behind after two minutes when Wilson fired a back pass at Darlow who, looking anything but cool and calm, hashed a clearance away.
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Other than Antonio making inroads and getting at the Rotherham defence, the big chance — well, the only chance — of the first-half fell to Ledesma of Rotherham who cannoned a shot off the bar from the edge of the box.
As the referee brought the first stanza to a close Forest had been flat, but if recent weeks are anything to go by Peace would rally the troops for an assault on the Rotherham goal in the second-half.
Just minutes after the break, Lansbury rose to meet an Antonio cross but fired over the bar. The glimpse of intent wasn’t taken advantage of as the game took a scrappy route, not helped by the ref who blew at any opportunity, stopping the game flowing suited the hosts more than the visitors.
Despite the referee playing his part in a scrappy battle, Forest didn’t help themselves. Rotherham assumed control of the midfield, as a result, nullifying any fast-attacking move and getting in behind the defence where Forest have the ability to punish teams.
Again, Rotherham’s best chance of the half fell to Ledesma who fizzed a shot just wide of Darlow’s goal but it was Forest who put the ball in the net. Blackstock powered home a header from a Forest corner only for it to be ruled out as the ref deemed he had pushed his marker in the process.
As the game petered out Forest were awarded a free-kick in a prime attacking position on the 90th minute. Any hopes of a dramatic late winner were ruled out when Danny Fox put the ball into the travelling Forest fans.
And the game ended in controversial fashion when the ref blew for full-time before the corner could be taken.
In short, disappointing; but in Psycho we trust. Leeds on Saturday is a must-win if the aim is still promotion. The key now is to find a consistency – Wilson offers much more in terms of defensive ability than Lascelles and partnering Mancienne looks solid.
Personally, I’d like to see Tesche retain his place, while Lansbury, Paterson, Lichaj and Blackstock drop out for Hunt, Osborn, Burke and Fryatt.
Onwards on upwards I guess but, while there are no definites in football, there can’t be many more performances like Saturday between now and May or promotion will be another distant dream.