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Lancashire Experience: Playing Patience

3 October 2012

After the robbery of Sunday's game (which still has me absolutely steaming over) there's nothing like another game soon after with the hope of something of a backlash for the visiting team.  Oh, but hang on a minute.  It's only Blackburn who despite the fiasco surrounding Venky's and the very recent departure of the embattled Steve Kean (and we thought we were getting a rough ride last season), have demonstrated how the players can appear to shut that all out and remain focussed on the job in hand, which is something we've failed to do since 1998, and despite Rovers hardly ranking amongst my favourite of local sides, their decent start to the season has to be applauded, especially with their unbeaten away record still intact.

So where did that leave us?  Thanks to the incompetent refereeing on Sunday, we were one or two first-choice players light, and with Guedioura serving the third of his three-match ban the opportunity to introduce Henri Lansbury seemed an easy choice, the problem of whom to partner Billy Sharp up front a far from easy conundrum, and the prospect of the return of a certain one-time City Ground favourite - whose fortunes have gone in pretty much the opposite direction to Forest's since leaving us - utterly mouth-watering.  

That said, this game was never going to be as high-profile as Sunday's, and the lack of atmosphere was all too evident with 10000 fewer fans in attendance. All the same, despite the blank scoresheet, satisfaction levels were somewhat higher than three days ago.  

The continuing worry however is the lack of goals and making those chances count.  We've been here before at this stage of the season though, so we mustn't panic - yet.  The reality of a recently assembled team still searching for the best combinations is more apparent now than it was a month ago, however there is no reason to suspect things will go sharply downhill like they did this time last year.

FLC 03 October 2012, 1945
Nottingham Forest 0 – 0 Blackburn Rovers
The City Ground
Clear and dry. Cool.
Away fans

Hard not to wonder how many of the thousand-odd Rovers fans here tonight (strung out along the back of the Bridgford Lower) would have still travelled had Steve Kean still been at the helm - half maybe, or even less?
TimekeepingNormal service is resumed now the TV cameras have gone - two minutes late starting.
The Match
Despite a bright start by Forest (attacking the Trent End first half) and showing intent to put Sunday's disappointment behind them, it was Rovers who were allowed to boss the midfield and for a short while looked distinctly more composed, presumably in search of a smash-and-grab goal which might have been enough.  Fortunately they were even more tentative in front of goal than we were, and the run of play swung back in our favour as HT approached and that's how it stayed for the rest of the evening as Rovers seemed content with defending in numbers, though Forest not short of determination and Radi's arrival late in the game helped shake things up.  Best chances fell to Lansbury and Sharp.
No contest: the huge welcome for JJ as he came on for McGugan with 20 minutes to go.  Nothing fancy, and he looked a little ring-rusty, but a positive contribution nonetheless.  Our first clean sheet since the opening day, and, at long last, not a single yellow card.
One on one, six yards out - it's Billy.  Surely.  Ohhh, he's driven it into the side netting! After great work by Reidy, an early contender for Miss of the Season. Don't worry, Billy - the goals will come, but we need to make those chances count!

Another stirring performance by Gillett who made his presence felt the entire length of the field, and Cohen once again reminding us just how much we've missed him, seemingly having gained an extra half a yard in pace into the bargain and a constant threat down the right.
RefereeMick Russell - went some way into restoring our belief that decent referees do still exist! This was demonstrated just before the hour mark when Jordan Rhodes (looking to score against us for the second time this season with different clubs) went down a tad too easily inside the box under a Chris Cohen challenge.  No dice from Mr Russell, and we breathed a collective sigh of relief. Let the game flow, kept stoppages to a minimum and his cards in his pocket.  Mr Madley please note.
Entertainment Value5/10 - not bad as goalless draws go, especially since it was Forest who came closest to breaking the deadlock.
Promotion Rating3: This was a good point earned (though ought really to have been all three) against a side yet to lose away from home, and still comprising of several players involved in the defeat of The Filth at Old Trafford less than a year ago.  By comparison, only Reidy, Camp and McGugan (and Radi as sub) were in Forest's starting eleven from last season.
Whatever's happened to the heralded half-time entertainment we enjoyed at the start of the season?

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