Steve Cotterill picked up his 3rd win in 4 games, taking an impressive total of 9 points from an available 12 as Nottingham Forest beat Reading in a classic game of two halves - on a chilly night at The City Ground. The game started in erratic style, with neither team capable of keeping the ball on the grass – opting instead to hoof the ball from head to toe giving the other team possession at the earliest opportunity. It became abundantly clear early on that we are still suffering from a dismal lack of invention in the middle of the park as we struggled to keep the ball out of our own half the first 5 minutes or so. Reading took advantage this scrappy, mindless play, and went on to dominate the majority of an extremely frustrating first half.
Starting with a side featuring two changes from Saturday’s game against Hull, Radoslaw Majewski was again deployed on the left wing – a position in which it seems he contributes nothing to our attacking play. Continually marked out of the game, as he was against Hull – his lack of effort sapped all energy from of the midfield in the first half, and exposed our desperate lack of width
The decision to remove Jonathan Greening for Guy Moussi was a curious one. Despite Greening’s relatively poor start to his Forest career, he seemed to finally be growing in confidence in Saturday’s loss to Hull - though I’m sure getting dropped for a midweek game against Reading probably knocked him back down a peg or two. In his place, Moussi put on a truly shocking performance in the first half, only marginally improving in the second. I cannot recall seeing a player so inconsistent – not only from game to game but also from minute to minute, his reactions have to be some of the slowest in the game.
Andy Reid replaced Majewski and Cotterill re-shaped the team... The change worked well, with Reid continually looking for the ball and finding the right passes to advance up the field..
The continual resurgence of Joel Lynch at centre back was the only obvious positive from a dour first half performance from both teams. His first half shift being enough to stem any chances Reading may have had on goal.
Coming out in the second half, Andy Reid replaced Majewski and Cotterill re-shaped the team, with Robbie Findlay going out on the left wing and Reid playing a central role just in front of the midfield. The change worked well, with Reid continually looking for the ball and finding the right passes to advance up the field - we instantly looked a brighter side.
After a good spell of attacking play, and several decent efforts on target from Andy Reid’s buttery in swinging corners, we managed to grab a goal with 15 minutes to go.
Lewis McGugan fed a rampaging Luke Chambers down the right, who sent a perfect cross into workhorse Marcus Tudgay, for him to turn and with the help of the post, slot the ball past a helpless Adam Federici from close range.
Having not seen much action for Forest under the previous regime – Tudgay has started all 4 of Steve Cotterill’s games in charge so far. Picking up 2 goals and working tirelessly for the team throughout. He is looking like the closest thing we have to a centre forward – his ability to pop up just at the right time to grab a goal could be invaluable this season.
Another promising defensive performance saw us manage to close the game out with relative calm, although a late last-gasp save from Lee Camp was needed to seal the 3 points and our second home league win of the season.
I’d hate to speak to soon, but it does appear to be onwards and upwards for Forest. Managing to grind out a result from a relatively scrappy encounter might be nothing to shout about - but it’s something that we looked incapable of doing only a few weeks ago.
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