Did You Enjoy Playing Forest?

Posted by on Aug 10, 2009 in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Despite Billy Davies’s posture and demeanour remaining as combative and shouty as ever, Nottingham Forest looked a whole lot more solid than for most of last season during their opening run out on Saturday. Davies and Reds fans returning to Reading station on the bus were united in decrying their lack of defensive reinforcements, although openly attacking one’s employers when they have given you six million to spend might be unwise, especially with twenty more days in which to do business. Infact, the often maligned Wes Morgan had a strong afternoon, albeit against a lone striker making only his second league appearance in Simon Church. At full back, Joel Lynch and Chris Gunter looked athletic, the latter enjoying an especially good debut, and Luke Chambers’ sending off was debated long and hard, with few in the ground in a decent enough position to see what actually occurred, although many feel they can nevertheless offer forth an opinion.

Davies does admit to have the attacking and midfield armoury in place to launch a challenge however. Paul McKenna eased into his new red shirt after a dozen years at Preston. His was a captain’s display and let me wondering quite how he has never graced the Premier League. That said, his constant bickering at the referee should have been rewarded with an early yellow card in order to stamp it out. Radoslaw Majewski, the Summer recruit from Polonia Warsaw also proved himself willing to hack the odd player down as Reading indulged in their new keep-ball style, although Forest were equally as religious in their devotion to keeping the ball on the deck.

Chris Cohen justified his player of the season tag with an energetic performance but up front, Davies may need to work on the chemistry. Dele Adebola looked every one of his 34 years despite a few late headers and David McGoldrick had little joy against a makeshift centre back pairing. The latter seems more effective playing deeper and didn’t enjoy his role pressed up against the last man — again, it seems unclear why Davies has spent £1.5 million to bring the ex-Saint to the club when he already has Lewis McGugan, practically identical in style.

Rob Langham
Rob Langham is co-founder of the defiantly non-partisan football league blog, The Two Unfortunates, a website that occasionally strays into covering issues of wider importance. He's 50 and lives in Oxford while retaining his boyhood support of Reading FC. He tweets as @twounfortunates and has written for a number of websites and publications including The Inside Left, When Saturday Comes, In Bed with Maradona, Futbolgrad and The Blizzard as well as being nominated for the Football Supporters' Federation Blogger of the Year Award in 2013.


  1. NickP
    August 10, 2009

    As a Forest fan I'd agree with most of that – McKenna and Gunter both had solid debuts, and Lee Camp gives the defence far more confidence than the jittery Paul Smith.

    A new left back and centre back are still must-buys, especially in light of Chambers' sending off. Joel Lynch is too shaky and was beaten down the outside countless times, as well as having an uncanny knack of playing hospital passes in his own half.

    Billy's comments have been misconstrued as an attack on the board, I think he was directing his frustration at the press who have been asking him over and over again about defensive cover.

    Provided we do make further signings I'd like to think we'll be capable of a solid top half finish, and any more would be a bonus after the last few seasons of struggle.

  2. Lloyd
    August 10, 2009

    Maybe Billy Davies should have had a Plan B in mind in terms of recruiting stoppers? Mills, Barker and Fox were all highly coveted, so I'm not surprised that Forest missed out there. There will be plenty of young Premiership defenders available on loan, so perhaps Forest will make an early move for a Jack Cork or Craig Cathcart?

    I know that Joel Lynch always sulked when asked to play at left back for BHA, so he could shift to centre back…

  3. Ben
    August 10, 2009

    Forest would always have lost out to Celtic for Fox, but surely Barker and Mills weren't beyond them? If Darren Purse stays fit, I reckon he'll be a very useful signing for Sheff Wed, especially on a free – they could have tried for him. Wonder if Chelsea will be prepared to send Michael Mancienne out on loan again?

  4. Lloyd
    August 12, 2009

    Personally, I think that Derby (with Clough and a sell-out crowd every week) and Reading are more attractive alternatives, but money probably came into play.

    Purse has been a liability for a couple of seasons now.

  5. Ben
    August 13, 2009

    Ah, so Chelsea WERE prepared to let Mancienne go out again – but to Wolves again.


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