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Nottingham Forest scrap their way to a vital 3 points. Watford 0-1 Nottingham Forest

Saturday 24th September 2011
After a strong performance on Tuesday night against Newcastle United, it was time to transform that display into points, as the Reds travelled down to Vicarage Road to face Watford.

 



McClaren set Forest up in a strange and unfamiliar 5-3-2 formation, with Chris Gunter and Joel Lynch operating as wing backs, while Morgan, Chambers and new signing Clint Hill were centre backs. Guy Moussi, Jonathan Greening and Lewis McGugan operated in midfield, with Robbie Findley and Ishmael Miller up top.

 
Among the Watford ranks was former Red Joe Garner, who left the City Ground in summer for £200,000 and he had the first effort of the game after 6 minutes. He collected the ball from Craig Forsyth, but Garner lost his footing and could only blaze high and wide with his left foot.

 

Neither team were getting a major foothold in the game, but when Lewis McGugan was given the chance to whip in a ball from a free kick on the right hand side, Clint Hill almost marked his Forest debut with a goal, but the ball was just inches too high and he could only head the ball wide.

 

McGugan was then fouled inside the Watford half, but a smart advantage from referee Robert Madley lead to a storming run from Guy Moussi. The Frenchman get into the box and Watford defender Lloyd Doyley swung his leg, and Moussi flung himself to the ground. Moussi's dive was very theatrical and Doyley managed to pull his leg away at the crucial moment, to avoid making significant contact.

Forest were the better side in the first 25 minutes and when Findley broke at speed, he played the ball inside to McGugan, whose slotted through ball to Ishmael Miller was just over hit and ran out for a goal kick, but it looked as though Miller could have shown more urgency to get on the end of it.

 

It was then a similar story at the other end, as Mark Yeates linked up with Joe Garner, but the latter's ball through to Marvin Sordell was over hit and Lee Camp came out to smother.

 

The next half chance fell to the again impressive Joel Lynch. He won a header in the Watford box, but Miller couldn't control, but the Watford defences tame attempted clearing header found its way back to Lynch, but his low driven effort was parried by Watford keeper Scott Loach at the near post. Lynch had another chance from the resulting Lewis McGugan corner. He rose above his man, but could only flick his header a yard wide. It was Forest's best chance of a very poor first half.

 

Watford's best chance fell to Joe Garner. A Lloyd Doyley throw was held up well by Sordell, who turned Lynch and dinked in a left footed cross. Joe Garner got across Luke Chambers at the near post, but his glancing header was well saved by the strong right hand of Lee Camp.

 

Watford came into the game in the last 15 minutes of the first half. Sordell whipped in a great ball into the box, but Joe Garner didn't gamble. Watford had penalty shouts rightly waved away. Joe Garner going down under the sliding challenge of Clint Hill, but he won the ball.

 

The first half was extremely scrappy, with very few goalmouth incidents, and the second half, unfortunately, was a similar story.

McGugan managed to latch onto a loose ball after Lynch had won possession, but the former's cross was just over the head of Ishmael Miller. Joe Garner played in Forsyth, who had been played onside by Hill, but Camp galloped out of his goal, and blocked Forsyth's shot with his legs.

 

Then, Watford had arguably the best chance of the game. Forsyth spread the ball out to the right to the unmarked John Eustace. He had plenty of time to pick his cross, and he delivered a great ball into Joe Garner, but he couldn't inflict misery on his former employers and his diving header went wide.

 

On the hour mark, Lee Camp then punted the ball long up field, and Watford centre half Martin Taylor didn't get his head on the ball. It then bounced over Carl Dickinson and Ismael Miller, aware of the on rushing Scott Loach, managed to get round the defenders and flick the ball into the empty net with his shin. It was poor defending and Miller, as strikers should, took advantage and Forest had a vital lead.

 

But Forest were still giving the ball away too much, and some lazy and tiresome running from the strikers invited Watford pressure. Joe Garner headed the ball into John Eustace after a dummy, but it was well cleared by Wes Morgan. It was then upto Luke Chambers to clear, this time from a Forsyth cross.

 

Robbie Findley and Lewis McGugan were then replaced by Matt Derbyshire and Andy Reid. For Watford, Forsyth came off for Troy Deeney.

 

Watford then had a chance from a corner, the ball seemed to sit up for Martin Taylor, but he ducked, after a call from Eustace, but in the end, neither got a touch and the ball was cleared by Guy Moussi.

 

Both sides made a striking change. For Forest, Marcus Tudgay came on for goal scorer Miller, who had looked tired for most of the afternoon. For Watford, Joe Garner wasn't going to haunt Forest, as he came off for Chris Iwelumo.

 

Tudgay then latched onto a free ball and ran towards the Watford box, his drilled left footed effort went through the legs of Adrian Mariappa, but Scott Loach got down well to save and parry away to safety.

 

The final chance of the game fell to Watford, but they were unable to knick a late equaliser. Jonathan Hogg's ball into the box was headed on and found Eustace. His tame shot went through the legs of Wes Morgan, one of four on rushing Forest bodies, but Lee Camp saved.

 

The final whistle went and Forest had their second win of the season. It was a very scrappy game and not very pretty to look at, but it was crucial Forest earned themselves 3 points, and they did that, as well as keeping a morale boosting clean sheet. It lifted Forest up to 18th, with 8 points from 8 games, the same tally after the same number of games as the 2009/10 season, where we managed to finish in 3rd place.

 

After the game goalkeeper Lee Camp said: “We rode our luck a little bit, but I thought we defended really well, and strongly. We got a bit of luck and we've kept a clean sheet. A clean sheet is a great building block and it's good to get back to that.”

 

The win hopefully will give the team a lift, even if it wasn't the best performance. I thought that Clint Hill had a solid debut, and hopefully he will help address our defensive issues. Once again, I find myself giving Joel Lynch a huge well done. I thought he was solid again, but left wing back isn't quite the position for him. In terms of formation, it worked as we came away with a win and a clean sheet, but I would like to see a bit more adventure and drive, especially up front, because today, Miller and Findley looked slightly leggy. But, first and foremost was the win, and we got it, so hopefully it'll be onwards and upwards.

 

Written by James Bolton

Follow me on Twitter - @Bolton0301
James Bolton

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