Monday, February 18, 2008
Nottingham Forest 1 Swindon Town 0
Scott Dobie has slipped out the Forest exit door almost unnoticed. It only got a one-liner in the Nottingham Evening Post. He had his leaving do at The Park Hospital, where naturally he’s on first name terms with all the doctors and nurses. They had a whip round and bought him a first-aid box. He’s due back at The City Ground on Monday March 3rd, with his new pals at Carlisle United. Get your mortgage on him hitting the onion bag. (Bugger, just been told he's not eligible to play)
It’s “The Skipper’s birthday party today. Both my boys have been as good as gold of late. Threats of a visit to Meadow Lane for poor behaviour have not been required. We shall visit there in March, when the League Two form team, my team, Lincoln City are in town.
It was announced this week, from Sincil Bank, that our manager Peter Jackson has throat cancer. The team have responded in the right fashion, winning five on the bounce. Get well soon Jacko.
I’m with eight kids and Big Al, a Glaswegian. We park off Musters Road. We’re walking towards the cricket ground. The memories come flooding back of this famous road: McKays Café, Harvey’s Bar and EMPICS were all once on this road.
We walk past Forest legend Ian Storey Moore’s betting shop. He‘s now Chief Scout for Martin O’Neil’s Aston Villa. At the end of Musters Road is my summer holiday home, Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club. The Parr Stand has gone, replaced with a stunning piece of architecture.
People are pouring over Trent Bridge. West Bridgford is bathing in glorious sunshine. The vible feels good around this famous old club. Cautious Colin Calderwood has criticised the Forest faithful this week, foolishly in my opinion. Their patience is beginning to wear thin. Forest have only taken six points out of a possible eighteen. It leaves them hanging onto fourth spot. Could it be a case of déjà vu?
Swindon is in Wiltshire and has a population of 150,000. Famous Swindonians include: Diana Dors, Dean Ashton. Mark Lamarr, Melinda Messenger, Billie Piper and John Francome. Honda, BMW and Intel are major employers in the area. The best selling book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, is set in the town, as is A Touch of Frost.
A pall of disappointment has hung over the Forest camp this week. Victory was snatched away from them by referee Mark Halsey at “Dirty Dirty Leeds.” Jermaine Beckford, once again, proved to be their nemesis.
Today looks to be a home banker. I wonder if former Robins’ manager Lou Macari will be having Forest on the coupon, like he had Newcastle, when Swindon played them in a cup tie a few years ago.
Both Calderwood and his assistant David Kerslake have played for Swindon Town. The visitors are without recent acquisition and leading scorer Simon Cox.
We’re sat in the Main Stand. The boys are hovering around the tunnel collecting autographs. Nathan Tyson won’t put pen to paper, to avoid a wrist injury.
It’s a lively start from both teams, in the first five minutes. Tyson closes down Swindon’s giant Slovakian keeper’ Peter Brezovan, he fires the ball straight at Tyson and is fortunate to see the ball loop back up in the air and straight into his hands.
Swindon try the extra pass, when it’s crying out for a shot. It’s the stalest of stalemates. There’s no Essien to feed Junior Agogo today. The front two are starved of any service. The Forest midfield look leggy and weary.
Forest keeper’ Paul Smith is cheesing me right off. I can get ready for a night out with Mrs P quicker than it takes him to perform a goal kick .He constantly picks the ball up, putting it back down again. And he never shows the slightest bit of urgency.
It’s been a turgid affair. I don’t think Big Al will be in a hurry to come back. The game’s flat and the “A” Block are subdued.
Both teams up the ante in the second period, throwing more men forward. Tyson latches onto a Lockwood through ball, down the Forest left flank, and shows the Swindon full-back a clean pair of heels. He smashes the ball into the back of the net from the tightest of angles. The Swindon keeper’ will be disappointed.
Forest have a golden fifteen minutes. Tyson is running riot. He puts in an inch perfect cross which Junior Agogo fluffs. He’d have buried it in his Ghana shirt. McGugan also blazes over.
Tyson has been limping for a while now and is replaced by Arron Davies. Cautious Colin shelled out £750,000 for this guy on the strength of a one man demolition for Yeovil versus Forest last spring. John Curtis was the Forest right back that horrible Friday night. Even Mrs P could dribble round Curtis. Davies hasn’t reproduced anything like that sort of form for the Tricky Trees and rarely starts a game.
Swindon substitute their best two players, livewire winger McNamee and industrious striker Blair Sturrock, son of Paul. Christian Roberts enters the fray and that cheers me up. I always rated him at Exeter City and Bristol City and was saddened to hear of his fight a few years ago against alcoholism, a battle which he is winning. Despite it being only a cameo performance, he still shows he can cut it at this level.
There’s still time for incompetency from the referee, Mr Foster, and the official on the Main Stand side. Tyson and Agogo are too quick for the linesman and marginal offsides are flagged. Sinclair is hauled down on a one on one but no yellow card is shown. It reduces Calderwood, dressed immaculately in his Armani cloth, to boot a water bottle away in frustration at a free-kick awarded against Commons for a clean tackle.
Wes Morgan had to leave the field earlier in the game after a clash of heads. He returns with his head swathe in bandages. Both he and Kelvin Wilson have firmly shut the door on the Robins’ forwards. Morgan is head and shoulders man of the match today.
Swindon are disappointing. They have lacked self-belief and quality. And return home empty handed, although left-back Jamie Vincent is pleasing on the eye.
Forest 1 Tyson Swindon 0
Attendance: 23,439 (1264 from Swindon)
Man of the Match: Wesley Morgan