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Encouraging signs for The Reds as Forest fall to PSV

Thursday 28th July 2011
So, it was Forest's first match at the City Ground since last May's draw with Swansea, and the opponents were Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven.



The game began with a very cagey opening, with most of the possession being in the PSV half. After a few minutes of getting a feel for the game and passing along the back, PSV launched their first real attack. It game after 9 minutes and after Paul Anderson had tackled Dries Mertens, the PSV left winger, he was then dispossessed and the ball found its way to Dutch Under 21 international Georginio Wijunaldum, who, 25 yards out, curled a right footed shot superbly into the top corner past the diving camp. Having been linked with the likes of Liverpool and Newcastle in the past, Wijunaldum signed for PSV this summer from Dutch rivals Feyenoord for around 5 million Euros.

It took Forest just 1 minute to level the scores. David McGoldrick held the ball up well and spread it out wide to Chris Cohen, who stormed forward from left back. He the cut it back to Andy Reid, who curled in a fantastic trademark left footed cross deep into the box, leaving Anderson to head in at the far post, past the scrambling Jan Andreas Isaksson in the PSV goal.
PSV then enjoyed long spells of possession, passing the ball neatly and calmly around the centre of the field. George Boateng stood out in the Forest midfield, and showed despite being 35, that he has terrific hunger and desire to go and chase the ball. It was evident from the early stages that PSV coach Fred Rutten has got them playing simple and effective football. This style saw them finish third in last season's Eredivisie and qualify for Europa League football.

Having not seen Forest in pre-season yet this term, I was curious to see Steve McClaren's presence and demeanour on the touchline, and I have to say, I was surprised. Far from the ‘Wally with the Brolly' tag he's been branded with, he was actively patrolling the technical area and never put his notepad down, showing his attention to detail. He, like Rutten, follows the philosophy of playing football ‘as it should be played, and McClaren showed his frustrations when Wes Morgan hoofed a long ball up front and possession was lost. There was a bang on the wall of the Forest dugout by McClaren, something reminiscent of former manager Billy Davies.

While Forest may not be in the calibre of some of PSV's earlier pre-season opponents (such as Valencia), the Dutch side weren't having it all their own way. Forest worked a throw to Andy Reid, who yet again, produced a pinpoint cross deep into the box to find Brendan Moloney, but the young full back could only stoop and head narrowly over. A few minutes later, there was some trickery from George Boateng who skipped passed two defenders and slid a ball through to David McGoldrick, who could only tamely shoot right at the goalkeeper with the outside of his right foot.
But PSV fought back and when Lewis McGugan appeared to be pushed on halfway, but referee Joe Ross waved away protests. Eindhoven then quickly broke and Dries Merten latched onto through ball, but he could only slam his shot onto the base of Lee Camps near post.

The last chance of the half fell to Jonathan Greening. The ball fell to the Forest new boy after the impressive Paul Andersons cross was headed away to the edge of the box, however Greening's attempted half volley bobbled wide.

Half time came with Forests Boateng, who received a standing ovation when he was subbed early in the second half, proving very impressive in filling the hole left by Paul McKenna's departure. Paul Anderson also looked strong, showing good tracking back and not appearing to be the headless chicken he so often looked like off the ball last season.

In the second half Forest brought off the exciting Andy Reid and brought on Radi Majewski. But apart from a few notable Forest moves, it was to be PSV's half. After Lewis McGugan needed treatment after a clash to his side, PSV's inspiring Ola Toivonen burst into the box and saw his cut back bobble off Wes Morgan and eventually brilliantly clawed away by Lee Camp.
Like Camp, PSV goalkeeper Isaksson was almost caught out, this time by Lewis McGugan, as he drove down the left wing and drilled in a low left footed cross that nearly caught out the Swede at his near post. In a second half of few chances, Dries Mertens brought it to life. He gave PSV the lead as Brendan Moloney was dispossessed trying to shimmy his way out the box. Then Mertens finished brilliantly low and hard with his right foot past Lee Camps near post to make it 2-1. After the sprightly Robbie Findley cut inside and tamely shot right footed at goal, PSV countered as substitute Orlando Englandaar played a spectacular defence splitting pass out to the left to Mertens, who cut the ball back for Wijnaldum to blast home his second goal from close range, taking the score to 3-1 to the visitors.



PSV Sensation Georginio Winjnaldum.

Apart from a Robbie Findley header being cleared off the line by Funso Ojo and Joe Garner having his goal bound lash blocked, there was not much else in terms of attacking threat from Forest. PSV, as quality teams do, shut out the game and comfortably closed out the game.

PSV are probably the best team I have seen at The City Ground for a long time. You can see they are a top European team, but Forest, especially in the first half, held their own. Although the result wasn't a win or even a draw, Forest have a lot of positives to take from the game. George Boateng looked very impressive in the middle and held the ball well as well as getting stuck into tackles. Luke Chambers and Wes Morgan were as stable at the back as ever and Andy Reid showed the creative flair and that pinpoint accuracy of crossing we expect from a player of his calibre. Although there is work to be done and players to be brought in, and with the curtain raiser against Barnsley quickly approaching, Steve McClaren and Forest have a lot of positives to take from a game against a very good opponent.

Written By James Bolton

Follow me on Twitter - @Bolton0301

Photos sourced from Nottingham Forest Football Club Official Site - Extended gallery can be found here
James Bolton

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