After going two goals up — with a first professional goal for Tyler Walker — Nottingham Forest managed to let Brentford score an injury-time equaliser to draw 2-2. Damian Bell offers a fan’s eye view from Griffin Park…
Today’s match report was brought to you by the letter ‘b’ and the words ‘ball control’ and ‘b*ll*cks’.
A bank holiday bathed in sunshine, with an end of season feeling should be beside the seaside, beside the sea … Bournemouth? Brighton? Blackpool? Nah, it’s the Bees of Brentford bubbling quite nicely towards the play-off spots. Forest’s play-off hopes had already died amongst the howling Wolves on Good Friday, much like JC (not JZ, let’s not create an internet meltdown unnecessarily) did for certain daydream believers’ sins. With Brentford needing to cement their position in the play-off places the pressure was all on them, not on Forest.
OK, cards on table: I had a crap view amongst the Brentford fans. However, despite this impediment I was sufficiently perceptive to determine that: a) this was a piss-poor performance from both sides; and b) this was a piss-poor performance from both sides.
The first-half felt like we’d come to watch circus clowns not professional footballers: Darlow slap-stick slips on a back-pass clearance; the ball rolls invitingly across area to the far post with the goal gaping wide only for Tyler Walker to take a leaf out of his dad’s shooting manual and horribly skew (that’s kind, actually he completely missed the ball) from eight yards. These couple I noted, the rest I shrugged, laughed or shuddered. Neither side could control the ball let alone the match.
The half-time interval brought needed respite: ‘A Message To You Rudy’ by The Specials playing over the PA, and with the lads from Coventry imploring ‘to stop your messing around’ a change of on-field application arrived.
The message was received loud and clear by Forest’s rude boys, and in the second-half things changed from dire to average with hints of promise. Forest went two-up: Walker slammed home the first to make amends for his first-half miss; the second, from Todd Kane, was well made by a Ben Osborn breakaway.
With only 13 (unlucky for some) of the 90 minutes left, Forest would comfortably hang on and secure all three points, right? Spoiler warning – no, no they wouldn’t. Andre Gray scored for Brentford, leaving a nervy ending for Forest. Four minutes into injury time, following a series of Brentford corners and some more comically desperate defending, Jota equalised. B*ll*cks.
Dougie Freedman bemoaned the naïvety of his players in not being able to close off the match having fought hard to gain their late two-goal buffer. Personally, I was more concerned by the lack of skills on show: basic stuff like passing, crossing and ball-control. An argument is that in these end of season games with little at stake it’s good to be giving youngsters, like Walker and Chuba Akpom (the recently arrived Arsenal loanee) match experience that they can develop going into the next season. This argument is justified, so long as the mistakes lead to lessons learned and with plenty of simple mistakes this match provided buckets of opportunities for learning.
Talking of buckets, grab your spade: after the knobbly knees contest there’s a sand-castle building competition in the 1950s seaside fantasy I’ve magicked-up … ooh we do like to be beside the seaside, beside the sea.
Image: Courtesy of franky242/FreeDigitalPhotos.net