Forest slipped to another predictable defeat on Boxing Day; against high flying Huddersfield Town.
The Championship table doesn’t lie and the so called big clubs like Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers are fighting relegation; whilst the unfashionable outfits like Huddersfield and Reading have very realistic promotion ambitions.
Despite all our recent woes, it was fantastic to see 1,500 Forest supporters packed into the away end on Boxing Day; and Newcastle tickets have almost reached the 2,300 allocation also.
Perhaps the biggest shock of the day was the inclusion of Jack Hobbs in the NFFC starting line-up, which ended the extra payment clause rumour that’s been doing the rounds of late.
It was interesting to hear the player’s comments regarding his availability and delayed selection by Philippe Montanier after the match, more evidence to back up my theory that the players have little confidence in their coach.
Another shock came in the form of Hildeberto Pereira giving Forest the lead at the John Smiths stadium, a lead that the away side would retain until the break.
The game had been even until Pereira broke away in the 24th minute, to score a goal of real quality it must be said.
The Terriers won’t be happy with the defending as the Portuguese powerhouse broke away from three players on route to goal.
Pereira outran the last defender before brilliantly chipping Coleman from just inside the box, showing real composure in the process. The Home side responded well and Kasey Palmer, on loan from Chelsea, asserted his presence on the midfield with some conviction.
His sublime skill and close control created a great chance for Nahki Wells, who shot inches wide of the right-hand post.
Town upped the tempo immediately in the second period and were level after 52 minutes; Aaron Mooy completely miss hit a short corner from Holmes-Dennis, which found its way to the head of Palmer.
Palmer’s header was nothing more than a flick on but it carried the pace of the initial effort by Mooy and crashed into the net off the crossbar. Despite the fortuitous build up to the equaliser, it was fitting that both Mooy and Palmer were involved, both of whom had excellent games.
Huddersfield’s second goal, which would turn out to be the winner, was even luckier. Rajiv Van La Parra whipped in a cross from the right flank, it took a slight deflection off Eric Lichaj before being sliced into his own net by Michael Mancienne. The confidence literally oozed out of the Forest players and the fans were under no illusion as to what the result would be.
Forest had done well to limit Nahki Wells to a handful of chances but it goes to prove that the Terriers are not a one-man team and are genuine promotion contenders.
I have not watched Huddersfield much this season but I bet they’ve had a settled side and a nucleus of players in which they trust. Stark contrast to Forest who have chopped and changed at every opportunity despite having a slightly better squad than last season. Massively evident was the excellent player recruitment of Town’s compared to ours; both Palmer and Mooy are on loan from Chelsea and Man City respectively. They are excellent players and were the difference in my eyes.
It was disappointing to see that Apostolos Vellios was once again left on the bench whilst Bendtner continued to misfire in a Forest shirt, the lad deserves at least half an hour in my eyes. Spare a thought for Michael Mancienne too; I don’t think he’ll have many worse day’s in football than Boxing Day 2016! An own goal and being sent off in the same game all makes for a miserable Christmas for the former Chelsea player.
At this point I will refrain from ranting about the misgivings of the whole situation at Nottingham Forest, let’s face it, we’ve all had a good moan already. Next up is Newcastle United away, a game that will require no team talk I’m sure.
The Geordie fans are baying for blood after the recent encounter at the City Ground and ironically both, Jonjo Shelvey and Henri Lansbury will not be taking any part.
Jack Hobbs will increase his chances of a prolonged run in the side during Mancienne’s suspension and Daniel Pinillos is once again close to a first team return.
One thing is certain; I think that every Nottingham Forest fan in the world can’t wait for this year to end!