Thursday, 27 December 2012

Nottingham Forest 4 - 2 Leeds United

Boxing Day is usually a day for recovery and long lie ins after all the drama of Christmas Day, not for us though as Leeds United were away at Nottingham Forest. For me it involved getting up at 7am to get ready for the early kick off.

As we arrived at the City Ground, team news began to filter through and we were surprised to hear that Rodolph Austin was back in the starting 11 after being injured since early November.
Warnock made two other changes to the lineup bringing in Michael Brown and Adam Drury to replace Michael Tonge who had returned to Stoke City after his loan spell at Leeds United had come to an end last week and Lee Peltier who was injured.

It had been a great couple of weeks and we were all in good spirits as the game began. Paul Green gave us more of a reason to smile when he scored from close range on the 12th minute of play.

Forest almost found theirselves an equaliser on the 28th minute. Michael Brown fouled Guedioura and Andy Reid took the free kick. Elliott Ward had a shot on target and Paddy Kenny sprung into action to make a fantastic save.

As Forest were pushing for equaliser in the latter end of the first half, there were two very good penalty shouts turned down by referee Lee Probert within minutes of each other. One of them an apparent handball and the other a tug inside the area. The home fans were really getting on the refs back, and I think he began to realise he had made a mistake. We now had to be careful, we had the feeling that even the smallest of challenges made inside the box would be given as a penalty, regardless of wether it was or not.

On the 42nd minute of play a penalty was eventually awarded to Nottingham Forest for a foul on Billy Sharp by Tom Lees. It was soft but we could hardly complain after what had happened earlier.
Billy Sharp stepped up to take the penalty and sent Paddy Kenny the wrong way to make the score one a piece.

The half time whistle blew and both sides headed back to their dressing rooms.

I was disappointed we'd let them score just before half time, I felt they were going to come out all guns blazing, and sure enough they did.

53 minutes in and Billy Sharp scored his second from inside the penalty area and he here began our seven minute demise. On the 56th minute came an own goal scored by Rodolph Austin, Followed by another goal on the 60th minute by Dexter Blackstock.

We had completely caved in and our defending was lacklustre. We had now left ourselves a mountain to climb and it seemed impossible to find a way back into the game.

Neil Warnock changed the team around, bringing on Davide Somma for El-Hadji Diouf. Minutes later Warnock changed the side again, taking Rodolph Austin off for Jason Pearce.

Nottingham were having all of the possession and chances, We were dispossessed of the ball whenever we managed to get it, which wasn't very often.

Striker Ross McCormack replaced Sam Byram on the 78th minute as Warnock tried everything to reduce the 3 goal deficit.

Some good work by Ross McCormack on the 89th minute saw him pass to Somma who scored what was only to be a consolation goal from inside the area. However, if he'd have put away the chance he had on the 91st minute, it might have been an interesting end to the game, but it wasn't to be and the game was brought to a close by Probert.

A disappointing result and a disappointing game by all accounts with very little positives to take out of the loss, happy for Davide though, to see him back scoring is brilliant and inspiring after he's struggled for so long to get back to full fitness.

We must learn from this loss and not dwell on it especially at this time of year when the schedule is as busy as it is.

The most potentially worrying thing for me at the moment though is Warnock trying to tie down Tonge, Thomas and Tate to permanent contracts with the club. They have been distinctly average and should we be looking at climbing the table and getting into the Play Offs, I think we need to look again. Save the money we'd spend signing them up and spend it on better players.

We lack pace, someone who can break from midfield and get the ball into the strikers or fast winger to tear teams apart. A creative and a defensive midfielder for me is important.
We very much need to strengthen defence too, some of the defending was absolutely terrible and wouldn't have stopped a League Two side scoring goals let alone a Championship side.

Like I said, plenty to build on. We need to pick ourselves up for another away game on Saturday at the KC Stadium. Hull are currently sitting 2nd at the top of the table. It'll be a very tough game, here's to hoping we can get 3 points.

MOT xx <3 xx

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