If there has been a stick with which to prod Nottingham Forest this season, then it has been their penchant for making slowing starts.

The Reds can rarely be considered to have burst out of the traps.

In the grand scheme of things, they haven’t needed to.

Fourth place with 51 points will do just nicely, thank you.

Things could, however, have been even better.

A few precious points have slipped the net – think Millwall away and the recent meetings with Reading.

More could also have been taken from a trip to Birmingham last time out.

The 2-1 defeat at St Andrew’s is, however, the first time this season that the Reds have ‘lost’ a second half.

Now, games are obviously 90 minutes long.

Focus

Original Image: Nottingham Forest/Graphic Design: Beth Davenport

To only focus on efforts in half of said outings would be a little foolish.

Finishing, though, is what football is all about – in more ways than one.

Hit the net, reach the final whistle, end the campaign as high in the table as possible.

All ticks in the ‘finishing’ box.

Sabri Lamouchi’s side are looking to show that they can master all three arts.

Saturday’s outing in the West Midlands was a rare blot on the copybook.

Lewis Grabban fluffed his lines from the penalty spot, the hosts snatched the spoils and Forest slipped down a place in the Championship.

All of the above has been the exception to the norm.

Across 30 outings so far, the Reds have more than held their own.

As mentioned, only once have they been beaten across the second 45 of any given game.

Blip

 

To counter that minor blip, the Reds have won 13 second halves.

Which is close to a 50 per cent strike rate.

The problem is, as alluded to earlier, that they are not as productive before the break.

First-half goals have been an issue all season.

Which goes a long way towards explaining why Forest have only led seven games at the interval.

The impressive second half return rate dips below a quarter when turning the clock forward.

That hasn’t been a problem thus far.

And if you were going to choose, then you would prefer to end stronger than you start.

It is, however, an area for the collective City Ground finishing school to work on.

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