Forza Garibaldi once again ensured that the Forest supporters arrived at the City Ground in style, but the team’s naivety gifted the win to Wolves on Saturday.
The visit of high-flying Wolverhampton Wanderers was always going to be a tricky one for Nottingham Forest, but they had themselves to blame for the manner in which they lost the game.
Before I the ruffle the feathers of our own supporters, my opening comments refer to the final 15 minutes of the match.
The home side began the match in a positive manner and passed the ball far better than they had done at Sunderland in midweek, but after a number of promising build-ups, things unravelled somewhat in the final third. Despite not quite playing to their full potential, Wolves still looked the more likely to break the deadlock.
As I’ve mentioned many times this season, when I see Ben Brereton stuck out on the right, I just know it’s going to end in tears.
My mate Liam, who sits next to me, came up with a realistic reasoning for the youngster’s deployment so far away from his natural striking role.
He asked the question; could there be a clause in Brereton’s contract that stipulates x-amount of starts in the first team?
I, for one, think that is highly plausible; if not, why on earth would you continually play him in such an alien role?
Rather than harp on about the defensive woes of late, I will heap praise on the wonder strike by Mustapha Carayol last weekend.
The exciting winger has certainly staked a claim to be a starter in Mark Warburton’s next couple of matches; having come on against Wolves and scored that exquisite 25-yarder.
Carayol’s thunderbolt should have been the catalyst to secure an excellent point against the Championship pacesetters, but instead, it triggered the naivety which I touched on at the beginning of this piece.
With less than 15 minutes remaining, I fully expected the Forest players to play the percentages and simply look after the ball.
Instead, they did the complete opposite and continued to play in the wrong areas and put themselves under pressure by doing so.
Many have rightly pointed out that it was Ben Osborn who squandered possession prior to Wolves’ winning goal, and although I agree, it was the collective naivety and poor decision-making that alarmed me most.
Regardless of whether it was Mark Warburton’s directive to play in all areas and at every opportunity is irrelevant.
Professional footballers have to take the initiative and make executive decisions based on the nature of both their opponent and the balance of the game.
In layman’s terms, if you’ve just equalised against a superior side, one that you haven’t been able to threaten offensively during the entire game, shut up shop and protect your point.
If this were a side from the Evo-Stik League, I guarantee you that they’d have tucked their wingers in, played the channels and ran down the clock accordingly.
Despite the bitter taste of such an unnecessary, late capitulation, it was encouraging to see the attendance above the 25,000 mark yet again - something that the new owners are adamant on achieving throughout this season.
A large portion of the bumper crowd were in fine spirits, thanks to the ingenuity of the Forza Garibaldi fan group.
Forza, who have been the brightest light at the City Ground during the Fawaz years, once again stole the show with their spectacular pre-match flotilla on the River Trent.
In all, six separate vessels ferried hundreds of Forest fans, including the legendary Colin Barrett to the ground, amid a cauldron of noise and red smoke.
It was a sight to behold, especially from my boat, which was the smallest of the lot, and one that received some fiercely hilarious banter.
Despite the bitter pill of defeat, it’s always that little that bit easier to swallow when Forza Garibaldi are in town!