I was still cursing my decision not to go to Huddersfield last week having predicted the win, but with not enough hours in the day at the moment through moving house some sacrifices have been necessary. In hindsight I was probably glad I missed the late capitulation at Bramall Lane too, but the trend has become worrying with these 80-minute performances.
The Championship, Wednesday 19th February 2014, KO 1945hrs|
Nottingham Forest 2 - 2 Leicester City
|Venue||The City Ground|
Cool and dry
2000 packed into the far corner, though far less vocal than they were last May – anticipating another late-season slide?
Two minutes late starting
The next turning point followed shortly after the break with the dismissal of Paul Konchesky (almost unrecognisable from his time with us by virtue of him sporting a full head of hair) for a lunging tackle on Mackie. There was little hesitation by the ref, despite the commentary team’s reservations at the decision, but a sense of deja-vu began to creep in as Forest failed to fully exploit the one-man advantage. Norwich, Derby, Swansea and now The Foxes: all games we’ve failed to take by the scruff of the neck and ultimately we paid for it. Tonight’s version was more than a tad unfortunate, in fact I would go so far as saying we were positively robbed when Danny Drinkwater’s dive under pressure from Pato eight mins from time would have picked up full marks for artistic impression at Sochi, a place in the final of Splash! and probably a Bafta thrown in as well. The ref was 20 yards away and still bought it. Kevin Phillips (on for Nugent) stepped up for the spot kick, Darlow went the right way and stopped it and 24000 fans erupted in delight, only to be silenced a split second later when the ball was passed back into the middle and Mahrez then poked home past a stranded Darlow. Despite reacting badly to the setback we were unable to regain the lead in the few minutes remaining, and it was a long frustrating journey home, made worse by badly-timed road works in Clifton heading out causing delay.|
Even allowing for the local derby factor, this was a somewhat bizarre encounter, with some excellent crisp passing football being interrupted by goals caused by mistakes. The opener came on the half-hour when a forward ball by David Nugent (who was otherwise destined for another frustrating game) was misjudged by Darlow in a rare error by his standards. Lascelles was equally hesitant resulting in the ball dropping right into the path of Vardy 20 yards out, and he had little more to do than poke it into an empty net. Ten minutes later, after an initially rocky period we were level after Big Wes had brought down Mackie prompting howls for a red card as well as a penalty. The pen we got, which Reid despatched with aplomb, but Wes only receiving a yellow was to have ramifications and the home fans voiced their displeasure. Not that we were immediately bothered because two mins before HT Pato worked his magic with a superbly taken header to give us the lead.
|Highlights||Excellent recovery to turn the game on its head after a sucker punch of an opener. Pato’s goal to give us the lead the latest of fine strikes from a player becoming ever more promising.|
A fatal hesitation between Darlow and Lascelles for a bizarre goal; failure yet again to kill off the game from a winning position has cost us, despite the unfair manner in which the equaliser came about; King Billy being sent to the stands at HT following protests – presumably for the non-dismissal of Big Wes. Reid coming off with ten still to play raised a few eyebrows, not least prompted by the look of disgust on his face. Is there more to this than meets the eye, I wonder?
Pato and Reid were both excellent. I’d say also Darlow for the initially stopped penalty but…
Oh, dear! Darlow falls into both camps this time for a rare mix-up causing the first goal.
8/10: Despite the somewhat subdued atmosphere for an East Midlands derby this was a thrilling encounter which Forest had the better of for long periods.
5 = Relegation fodder
4 = Flirting with danger
3 = Mid-table
2 = Playoffs
1 = Automatic
|2 – Still in the hunt, though this was definitely two points dropped tonight.|