Written by Neil Dawson
Without wanting to get too excited I would say this was relatively one of our best results for a few years. When I say relatively I’m referring to the strength of the team that can be put out currently which on paper is not great. What it does have though is belief, desire, and work-rate which will endear it to this fan base and the rapport is already back. Scott Parker was an industrious clever player and this team is starting to follow that lead.
If you had been told at the end of last year what this line-up was you’d have said it would get humped everywhere it went… it isn’t and that’s due to a full understanding of the ask, and belief in each other. The passing is brave, the movement into the triangles outstanding and we have real talent going forward in Marcondes, Billing and Brooks with the others playing admirable supporting roles.
Great coaches come into their own during adversity – as Eddie Howe often did with ten men or in trying to organise a come-back (in his earlier Premier League years). The re-modeling of this side when Forest briefly got on top, using Solanke on the flank to protect Zemura with his physicality stopped Forest playing down that side and forced the ball into a congested middle where Marcondes patrolled deep with no centre-forward. It was inspired and needs pointing out.
The big question now, with Brooks suspended and Billing limping, is how do we gear up again for Wednesday? You wonder what Parker would have done with last year’s team but he desperately needs signings for this year’s team as they will get found out. Great and inspiring though these youngsters are, and vital they will be with a smaller squad, we need a couple for the front three and a keeper at least to think of challenging when the injured come back. In the meantime, though let’s relish a manager and squad putting a smile on our faces….. in this year of all years it was well needed.
Travers 7 – Decent stops, maybe could have been a bit sharper on goal.
Mepham 8 – One great goal-line clearance and solid throughout.
Ibsen Rossi 8 – Outstanding in the air and clever on the ground.
Kelly 8 – Solid defending from the skipper.
Zemura 8 – Maintained recent buzziness but with better passing today.
Brooks 6 – Where do you start – 8 for the brilliance of goal 4 for stupidity
Marcondes 6 – Quieter today but still cleverly prompting before the withdrawal.
Kilkenny 7 – Lost it crucially once but otherwise very tidy and skillful again.
Billing 8 – Outstanding work and skill again as well as 3 in 3 goals.
Anthony 7 – Ran his socks off and was full of tricks, another assist.
Solanke 7 – Immense work rate but should throw himself at crosses more.
MOM – Tough one for me out of the 8’s. So as it was his debut – Ibsen Rossi, didn’t put a foot wrong and looked like he had played 60 games or more.
Matt Stevenson wrote…
I made it to the game and thoroughly enjoyed it. Too often in the past AFCB would have crumbled after Brooks send-off, but Parker’s marshaling of the troops was superb.
I’m putting my hard hat on here, but here is the xG, which is less rosy than you may have imagined from the comments.
Key incidents / impressions.
First 15 mins, we were under the cosh, nothing too hair-raising, but lots of promising positions for Forest. On 18 mins Billing has a possible chance that is tipped over. On 28 minutes Brooks scores what was a difficult chance (rated 1 in 20). Little happens before halftime apart from a flurry of chances (three) for Forest in the 43rd minute.
Second half Forest equalise from what is rated to be a difficult chance. I still haven’t seen whether it was a dive that won the free-kick, but the ref gave the home team a lot of 50:50 calls, so I wouldn’t be surprised. Billing then scored from a 9% chance. I think it is low because a decent keeper would have done much better, as Samba was beaten at the near post from a tight angle. Brooks almost immediately gets sent off but we manage to quieten the game with hardly a chance for 15 minutes for either side. (shots from offside positions don’t count, and still haven’t seen if Anthony’s attempt should have stood)
Hughton eventually made some attacking substitutes but all Forest created was minor chances at best, Mepham sliding in well to clear before Grabban could get there.
In summary, a great result, great attitude, great game management, and great tactical switches from Parker but not a dominant performance. – Join the conversation, click here.