August 17, 2019 and the City Ground faithful rises as one to celebrate Lewis Grabban putting Nottingham Forest 2-0 up against Birmingham.

Said ovation occurred in the 22nd minute.

Some seven minutes earlier, boyhood Aston Villa fan Joe Lolley had taken great pleasure in breaking the deadlock and goading the away support.

All was well in the world.

Even Michael Dawson, with his first goal for the Reds in 15 years, got in on the act after the break.

Few in attendance that day could have imagined that they would still be waiting for similar achievements 17 weeks later.

That is the mark Forest are about to hit on Saturday.

When Sheffield Wednesday roll into town, four months will have passed since the Reds last recorded a first-half goal on home soil in the league.

And you have to stay in August for the last effort recorded in the opening 45 in any competition – with two registered in a 3-0 Carabao Cup win over Derby.

There have only been eight in the second – including Dawson’s header against the Blues and Joao Carvalho’s fortunate effort versus the Rams.


Original Image: Nottingham Forest/Graphic Design: Beth Davenport

A lack of cutting edge has been something of an issue all season.

Grabban has fared admirably as a lone frontman and is already into double figures.

The supporting cast have not delivered as often as Sabri Lamouchi and a loyal fan base would have liked.

With nobody delivering at all of late when emerging out of the blocks.

The desire to be defensively solid has won out over ambition and adventure at times.

Wayward finishing, such as when firing in 30-odd shots against Cardiff and dominating proceedings at home to Middlesbrough, has also been a problem.

Tuesday’s outing against Boro followed an all too familiar script.

There was plenty of knocking on the door from the Reds, but nobody to throw it open.

Groundhog Day on Trentside.

Sabri Lamouchi said in the Nottingham Post afterwards: “We played well in the first half. We created a lot, but we didn’t score. Playing not so good in the second half, we scored.

“If we don’t score, if we don’t achieve the second goal, don’t give them anything. We can’t.”


Forest were left to pay the price in midweek as Paddy McNair’s late penalty cancelled out Ryan Yates’ opener.

Lamouchi added: “We gave them the possibility to take the ball, to play more direct and push us back. We need more character, especially at home, because the game was in our hands.

“We have a lot of regret – the last two minutes at Millwall and tonight, it is a lot of points.

“I am upset, like the players, because we lost two points. We are frustrated and disappointed because I thought we controlled the game until the goal.”

That is the major sticking point here – one goal is not control.

Narrow advantages always leave you vulnerable.

And the inability to establish a commanding lead – or a lead of any kind – early on causes tension to spill over from the stands and onto the field.

Forest have two more home games to come in 2019, against Wednesday and Wigan, before opening the New Year at the City Ground when Blackburn pay a visit.

Ample opportunity to start righting a few wrongs and cement a standing inside the top six which could, and should be more solid than it is.

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