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Derby day gloom for McClaren's men: Nottingham Forest 1-2 Derby County

Saturday 17th September 2011
Today's game was the most important that Nottingham Forest have come across this season. Not only was there the spice of a fierce local derby, but Forest were under major pressure to get a result after a run of three games without a win.

The game got off to a perfect start for Forest in a sun bathed City Ground. With just a couple of minutes gone, Matt Derbyshire held up the ball in the box before flicking it to Ismael Miller, who knocked the ball around Frankie Fielding before being bundled over. Referee Scott Mathieson pointed straight to the spot and reached for his back pocket, sending Fielding for an early bath. Substitute goalie Adam Legzdins came on and Tomasz Cywka was the man sacrificed.

 
Andy Reid was made to wait while changes were made before stepping up to take the spot kick. But the Irishman sent the keeper the wrong way and curled the ball home into the right corner of the goal. Forest had got off to the perfect start, and it was the fifth time in recent years that Forest have scored within the opening 5 minutes against Derby County at The City Ground.

 
However, during the play-off semi-final last season against Swansea, Neil Taylor was sent off early, and Forest struggled to play against their 10 men, so it was clear that there was a long way to go.

 

Chris Gunter then got his name unnecessarily in the notebook after rolling the ball away following a Derby throw in for a second time. Ishmael Miller was beginning to look a handful, and Guy Moussi got off to a great start, getting in plenty of crunching tackles and holding onto possession very well.

 

Derby's Theo Robinson did a great job as the lone from man and the first half chance for the Rams fell to him. Ben Davies crossed from the right hand side, but Robinson couldn't flick his header on target.

 

The next chance fell to the man who had the job of marking Robinson; Wes Morgan. Andy Reid whipped in a free kick from 10 yards inside the Derby half, but Morgan couldn't get the glancing header and turn the ball goal-wards.

 

But the first half was a half of few goal scoring opportunities. Ismael Miller made a strong run down the left hand side, but his heavy touch in the box ran the ball out of play. Lee Camp and Adam Legzdins didn't have much to do.

 

Forest then had a good spell of possession in and around the Derby area. Miller dummied the ball to Derbyshire, who knocked it back to Moussi who then spread a great ball out to the left. Andy Reid then delivered a good cross, but again, Miller couldn't make contact, as the ball then evaded the on running Majewski who didn't really gamble at the back stick.

 

The game sparked into controversy on the half hour mark. Chris Cohen tangled with a Derby defender Mark O'Brien midway into the Derby half and lay on the floor in considerable pain with what looked like a knee injury. Some Forest players surrounded the injured player and called for Derby to knock the ball out. However, Derby continued to play on, urged on viciously by manager Nigel Clough. With Forest minds clearly distracted, the ball came to Jamie Ward on the left hand side, who danced past Radi Majewski and Chris Gunter with ease, before slotting in from a tight angle passed Lee Camp.

 

Forest fans and players were incensed at the lack of sportsmanship from not only Derby players, but the referee who failed to stop play despite the injury. The goal summed up Forests fortunes of late. It was feared Cohen would have to be stretchered off, but he hobbled to the touchline to be replaced by Joel Lynch at left back. Forest may feel aggrieved by the goal, but it was a very poor goal to concede and we should have just made a tackle or got rid in order to halt the Derby progress.

 

The goal gave Derby fans and players a huge lift and it was noticeable immediately. Right back John Brayford bent in a cross for goal scorer Ward, who dropped off his full back considerably from both goal kicks and free kicks, but he headed over.

Forest then had the ball in the net just before half time. Joel Lynch produced a great cross (one of many on the day), Miller rose with Legzindes, but Miller was judged to have knocked the ball out of the keeper's hands, and unsurprisingly, a foul was given and the goal was chalked off.

 

A Jonathan Greening shot was blocked in the box with shouts of handball from the Forest faithful, but nothing was given as the first half ended 1-1. Forest were wasteful and didn't appear to go in for the kill when Derby were reduced to 10 men.

Forest got proceedings back under way in the second half attacking the Trent End, and they started the brighter. Reid and Majewski played a neat one-two and Reid galloped into the box, but he shot with his favoured left foot, which meant he could only slice over. Then Miller had an effort comfortably saved by Legzindes. The striker was played in by Lynch, who shot through the legs of Jason Shackell on the turn.

 

Forest were given their second silly booking of the afternoon when Miller thought he'd been fouled and stopped the ball with his hands. The referee then blew and gave a foul the other way which angered Miller, who threw the ball to the floor before being shown a yellow. While there weren't as many bookings as you might expect for a Derby match, just four in total, Forest were foolish in the way they obtained theirs.

 

Despite Forest playing some neat stuff at times, and Andy Reid forcing a save from a free kick that was destined for the top corner, there wasn't going to be much more to shout about for Forest. Findley came on for the very average Jonathan Greening and nearly latched onto another terrific Joel Lynch cross, but it was headed clear.

 

Theo Robinson then found space in the right hand corner. He cut the ball back to an unmarked Ben Davies who dinked a ball into the back post to the again unmarked Jeff Hendrick, but he somehow headed wide from just 3 yards out. The Derby supporters had already begun celebrating a goal, but were in a state of shock when the 19 year old didn't bury the chance.

 

It was then time for Nathan Tyson to be introduced for Derby to a symphony of boos. The striker spent over 5 years at Forest, before joining Derby on a free transfer in the summer. But the script wasn't written for him, as he was fairly quiet.

Findley drove in a left foot cross, but no one could connect and the ball flew just wide of the post. McGugan then chipped in a flat corner, but the rising Lynch and Morgan couldn't divert goal-wards.

 

But then it was time for Forest's abysmal defending to be highlighted yet again. After a sustained spell of Derby pressure, Forest had numerous chanced to clear but didn't do so. The ball then fell to Jeff Hendrick, who made up for his earlier miss by curling home a low right footed effort into the corner of Lee Camp's goal. It was a great finish and 10 man Derby found themselves 2-1, with plenty of assistance from appalling Forest defending.

 
After that, Forest rarely threatened despite having a decent amount of possession. Lewis McGugan produced an excellent cross field ball for Joel Lynch, who chested the ball out of the air and forced Legzdins into a fine save with a fierce drive. The final chance of the game fell to Luke Chambers who found himself in space from a corner, but he could only fire his dipping volley over the bar.

 

Just when you thought the day couldn't get more humiliating, as full time approached, some fans revealed a “Mark Arthur Out!” banner, which was met with applause and chants by many. Lots of fans voiced their disgusted towards Nigel Doughty at full time, walking past the director's box hurling abuse at him. I think you can guess for yourselves what they were saying.

 

In his post-match interview, McClaren said he was again extremely frustrated and felt himself and the team had let the fans down. Dead right, but a half-hearted apology won't change things. I personally am surprised there was not more booing at full time, but a lot of the disgust was aimed at the club hierarchy.

 

This defeat has completely summed up the state of the club. Aside the fact it was Derby County, we failed beat a team that will most likely finish in midtable, who had 10 men for 88 minutes, with a 1-0 head-start. It was a truly rotten day all round. And more worringly there is no sign of respite on the horizon, with the club in a real mess.

 

Man of the Match: Guy Moussi. I thought he had an excellent game. He won tackles, held onto the ball well in some tough situations and really built on his display against Southampton. Hopefully this is a sign that despite an injury earlier this season, he is going to regain his best form.

Notable mention: Joel Lynch. I thought when he came on at left back in place of Chris Cohen he did reather well. He got forward and whipped in some great crosses, as he has done on a few occassions playing at left back. For me, if we arent going to bring in a left back, he should be the one playing there. Maybe now he will following an unfortunate Cohen injury.

Weak link: Matt Derbyshire. I can see why McClaren picked him. A goal and an assist against Southampton is good going. But today he was weak, nudged off the ball easily, and didnt really do all that much. Maybe if some of Miller's flick ons had fell kinder it would have been a different story, but in my opinion, he was poor today.

 

Written by James Bolton

Follow me on Twitter - @Bolton0301

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James Bolton

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