Sunday, 6 November 2011

Cotterill's Fratton Park return ends in disaster

Erik Huseklepp is mobbed by his Portsmouth team-mates after scoring
Huseklepp celebrates a brace with his team mates

Portsmouth 3 (Huseklepp, 45, 84, Kitson, 76)

Nottingham Forest 0

Nottingham Forest’s impressive form under new manager Steve Cotterill was brought to an abrupt end at Fratton Park on Saturday as Portsmouth bagged three goals to send their ex-manager a stern message.

Although the Reds dominated for long periods they were unable to convert any of their opportunities and the home side struck just before the break – one of Cotterill’s last signings, Erik Huseklepp breaking the deadlock.

In an end-to-end second period both teams came close before Pompey made their pressure count when Dave Kitson nodded home from close range following a well-delivered corner.

And six minutes from time Huseklepp secured the points for the hosts scoring his second goal of the game and condemning his former boss to a second defeat in five.

The Reds looked dangerous from the opening moments of the game and USA frontman Robbie Findley could have given the away side an early lead – but his effort fizzed wide from 25-yards.

Forest continued to threaten and missed a golden opportunity to take the lead when Chris Gunter found space to cross from the right – Reds starlet Lewis McGugan got on the end of the cross and took a shot in the area but failed to control the ball properly and Pompey keeper Stephen Henderson quickly pounced to clear the danger.

The home side did begin to come into the game after the twenty-five minute mark when Kitson’s shot was deflected off Guy Moussi - However the ball skewed just wide for a corner.

The Reds might even have snatched a goal when McGugan hit a signature free kick towards Henderson’s goal moments later - but his long-range shot was tipped over the crossbar well by the Irishman.

Yet it was Portsmouth who took the lead against the run of play - former West Ham man Hayden Mullins drilled a free-kick towards goal which crashed off the corner of the crossbar and post before falling to Norwegian international Huseklepp who curled the ball into the top corner.

Forest shot-stopper Lee Camp was then called on to stop the home side doubling their lead straight away – Pompey striker Luke Varney squared the ball to David Norris whose shot was well saved by the Northern Ireland number one.

The Reds then came close to an equaliser when the on-form Marcus Tudgay found Findley in the box - he turned well to fire a shot towards the top corner producing a fantastic save from Henderson.

And Gunter could have put the away side on level terms when a clearance fell to him in the box – but the Welshman got too much on his effort and sent the ball high and over the crossbar for a goal kick.

With little time remaining the home side converted their second goal of the game from their first corner of the second period. Kitson rising high at the near post following a great delivery to convert past a helpless Camp and double his side’s lead.

With nine minutes remaining the Reds brought on striker David McGoldrick to replace Joel Lynch in hope of forcing a late equaliser.

However the hosts were rampant and put the result beyond all doubt six minutes from time as Norris found space to tee up Huseklepp who turned in his second and Portsmouth’s third to seal the victory.

The Reds now have the international break to regroup before they play Ipswich at the City Ground on Saturday November 19th. Kick-off is at 3pm.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Reds denied late penalty as Saints march on

Southampton v Nottingham Forest
Pretty Rickie: Lambert scores the first of his three goals at St Marys

Southampton 3 (Lambert 8, 24, 82)
Nottingham Forest 2 (Derbyshire, 7) (Majewski, 42)

Nottingham Forest were left with nothing to show from a much improved performance on Saturday as Southampton striker Rickie Lambert fired home a hat-trick to win his side all three points.

The Reds had taken an early lead but struggled to defend their penalty box allowing Nigel Adkin’s men back into the game. Although the sides were level at the break it was the Saints who marched on in the second half after Forest were denied a late penalty - Lambert capping a fine performance with all three goals to give the home side their strongest start to the campaign for 76 years.

The Reds got the match off to the perfect start following a strong run by Ishmael Miller down the left, the former West Brom striker picked out fellow new boy Matt Derbyshire who converted his first for the club from close range.

Yet some slack Forest defending allowed the home side back into the game less than a minute later. Brazilian Guly Do Prado was given far too much time to pick out Saints frontman David Connolly in the area – and although Forest keeper Lee Camp blocked his shot, he could do nothing about the follow-up from the lively Lambert who made it all square.

The Saints then turned on the attacking flair they have shown at home all season – the resolute Wes Morgan denying Saints midfielder Dean Hammond with a great block before Lambert went close with a free-kick from just outside the area.

The south coast men continued to press and soon had their second goal. The observant Jack Cork finding Connolly who flicked the ball on to the waiting Lambert - rising to head past Camp with ease at the back post.

Camp then had to be alert again moments later as the highly-rated Portuguese defender Jose Fonte connected for a free-header following a Danny Fox free-kick. Fox was then at the centre of some controversy after he brought down Miller in the box - despite appeals from Steve McClaren’s men referee Iain Williamson failed to award a spot-kick.

Miller was at the centre of everything the Reds did well in attack and played a part in the Forest equaliser three minutes before the interval. The powerful striker found Derbyshire in the area and the former Olympiacos man calmly squared the ball to Radoslaw Majewski who finished coolly from eight yards.

Before half time Forest could have taken the lead with what looked like a move straight from the training ground. Andy Reid’s corner found Majewski on the edge of the area who struck a neat cross to Reds’ skipper Luke Chambers whose header was deflected marginally wide.

McClaren may have had a few inspiring words for his side in the dressing room at the break and it showed as the away side started the second half well. Saints keeper Kelvin Davis called into action immediately to deny Miller’s header from a pinpoint Chris Cohen free-kick.

Miller then caused more problems for the Southampton defence as Cohen pulled the ball back to allow him time in the area – however unfortunately for the Reds the ball was soon scrambled to safety.

At the other end, Fonte nearly restored the Saints lead as he headed against the post following a corner. Northern Ireland international keeper Camp then had to dive to keep out a powerful long range shot from Frenchman Morgan Schneiderlin.

Although the second half was not as lively as the first there was more controversy late on as the Reds were denied what looked to be a clear penalty by the referee’s assistant. Derbyshire tangled with Davis in the box and the Southampton keeper appeared to trip him, but astonishingly the Forest striker was booked for diving.

To rub more salt into the wounds of the Forest faithful the Saints restored their lead less than a minute later. Again McClaren’s men were undone by another set-piece as Fox’s free-kick found the dazzling Lambert who headed home his third to take away the match ball and a club record 12th successive home league win for Southampton.

Forest now sit fourth from bottom in the Championship and play bitter rivals Derby County next at the City Ground on Saturday 17th September. Kick-off is at 1pm.

Will Steve McClaren walk away if Forest fail to back him?

Even the most optimistic Nottingham Forest fan would agree it has been a turbulent few weeks at the City Ground. Just last week Steve McClaren was rumoured to have been on the brink of exit following frustrations with the lack of signings in the transfer market, and fans were worried it could spell disaster for the remainder of the season. However the tides of the River Trent could still turn in the coming weeks but that is not dependent on McClaren himself, but the infamous transfer acquisitions panel.
Last week’s McClaren quit rumours were soon ousted following crisis talks with chairman Nigel Doughty when the ex-England boss, seemingly rather reluctantly, agreed to voice his ambitions to stay at the club and help guide the Reds to the Premier League while still admitting his aggravations.
The notion conjured up in the press was that McClaren was guaranteed loan signings, three Premier League quality players to be precise. The 93-day emergency loan window swung open today and McClaren is believed to be hot on the heels of a few much-needed stars already.
Danny Collins is one of the names that has been thrown into the transfer-panel mixer. The 31-year-old defender was on the bench for Wales as they lost 1-0 to England at Wembley last night and McClaren is hoping the Forest panel agree to pay his £25,000-a-week wages to land the full back ahead of Ipswich. Tony Pulis is keen for Collins to get game time elsewhere and has not featured the former Sunderland man in his 25-man Premier League squad.
However, the man who is at the top of McClaren’s wanted list is former Forest loanee Ryan Bertrand, who had a spell at the City Ground last season. The Chelsea left-back has yet to be given a squad number for the Champions League and is believed to be falling out of favour with Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas. During his time with the Reds previously Bertrand found fine form and along with Collins could help bolster a lacking Forest defence who have let in eight goals in their first five Championship games.
The latest player to catch the eye of McClaren is Baggies starlet Craig Dawson. The 21-year-old can also play at left-back and is a hot prospect for the future having already featured for the England U21s. He is also keen on Spurs winger Andros Townsend, the 20-year-old was on loan at Millwall last season and would fit in perfectly with McClaren’s style of play which includes using width to break down opposition. However it is not clear whether Townsend would prefer to remain in the London area.
The loan window will remain open until January, but as McClaren and Forest fans are well aware the players need to come immediately if this Forest team are to have any hope of challenging in the Championship, a league that has this season become more difficult than ever before.
The board must keep in mind that the bottom line is McClaren may walk if loanees fail to enter through the doors of the City Ground over the next few weeks, and few Reds fans would blame him.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Forest slump to home defeat against high-flying West Ham

Kevin Nolan leads the celebrations at the City Ground
Kevin Nolan and Carlton Cole both headed in close-range efforts as the pressure stacked higher for Forest boss Steve McClaren at the City Ground on Sunday.

A Luke Chambers own-goal had sent the Hammers on their way and the Reds were unable to find a route back into the game – although they hit back through Robbie Findley they failed to properly defend and New Zealand full back Winston Reid secured the points for the visitors with a late tap-in.
The first half began slowly for both sides but it was Forest who were asking the questions of the West Ham defence early on. The highly-rated Lewis McGugan setting up Findley with a corner in the first twelve minutes – the American did well to latch on to the ball but unfortunately it deflected off him and went narrowly wide.
Forest playmaker Chris Cohen then went close with a solidly struck free kick from 20-yards out forcing former England keeper Robert Green to jostle the ball wide for a corner.
Yet it was the East Londoners who took the lead after a great break – ex-Bolton midfielder Matt Taylor fizzed in a low ball from the left and Luke Chambers failed to connect properly for the clearance allowing the ball to hit him and deflect past Lee Camp in the Forest goal.
Three minutes later former Newcastle midfielder Nolan got a second for the Hammers after a long corner found the head of James Tomkins at the back post – he headed the ball across for Nolan who comfortably put the ball past the bemused Camp.
The home side had two chances to strike back immediately. The on-form Ishmael Miller sprang clear on the right wing but crashed his shot into the side netting, before Green tipped McGugan’s shot on to the post following Chris Gunter`s weighted cross.
However West Ham were not finished yet and scored again moments later sending a few home fans heading for early half time refreshments – Reid heading down Joey O’Brien’s cross in the box for the unmarked Cole who rose to head past Camp from a yard out.
The Hammers could have had four before the break after the Reds again gave them time and space in front of goal – Cole sending the ball across the six-yard box to Nolan who had bags of time but sent the ball wide of the far post.
In the early stages of the second half Forest pushed forward to no avail and McClaren decided to bring on summer signings Matt Derbyshire and Andy Reid in an attempt to salvage something from the game.
The change proved an effective one seven minutes later as Forest scored what was probably the best goal of the game. Cohen and Joel Lynch combined well on the left and Lynch cut the ball back precisely to find Findley who fired the ball into the roof of the net giving the Reds a flicker of hope.
The noise around the City Ground was soon subdued however as the visitors scored again. Forest failing to clear from yet another West Ham corner – allowing Taylor to loft in a defence-splitting cross to the feet of Reid – who had looked confident all game and calmly slotted past Camp.
Forest carried on until the final whistle but never looked like scoring and it was the away side that came closest in the third minute of stoppage time when Nolan’s shot was deflected just wide off Reds’ defender Wes Morgan.
Findley also came close to snatching a consolation in the dying seconds after beating Hammers’ keeper Green only to see his shot casually cleared off the line by the collected figure of Tomkins.
Forest remain without a home win in the Championship and play Southampton next on September 10th. The game is at St Mary’s and kick-off is at 3pm.

Miller on target as Forest sink Chairboys

Nottingham Forest finally found their attacking finesse on Tuesday evening as the Reds cruised past League One Wycombe to go into Saturday’s draw for round three of the Carling Cup.

Forest bagged two goals in the opening six minutes at Adams Park through Ishmael Miller and a Lewis McGugan penalty.

Robbie Findley scored a magnificent third after the break and although the Chairboys pulled one back from the spot, Radoslaw Majewski put the result beyond all doubt with a neat finish 15 minutes from time.

Steve McClaren’s decision to make a double change up front ahead of the game in Buckinghamshire proved to be a wise one as the Reds began the game confidently - USA international Findley partnering Miller who caused Wanderers problems from the off.

Within the opening two minutes Majewski teamed up well with Chris Cohen in the middle of the park – Cohen thumped in an early ball which flashed across the face of goal towards Miller but unfortunately the former West Brom man was unable to get on the end of it.

However Miller did not make the same mistake twice as shortly after he fired in Forest’s first following a perfect through ball from Majewski - Miller was quick to latch on and slid the ball past the standing Chairboys shot-stopper Nikki Bull.

The Reds continued to showcase their attacking flair and won a penalty minutes later after a through ball from Jonathan Greening sent Miller through on goal – he shrugged off the Wycombe defenders but was brought down unfairly by Bull.

Lewis McGugan stepped up to score his second spot-kick in as many games.

McClaren’s men continued to pile on the pressure as again the lively Miller was denied his second thanks to a great reaction stop by Bull.

For the hosts Swindon Town loanee Elliot Benyon’s shot took a wicked deflection and nearly had Forest keeper Lee Camp beaten but the Reds were saved by the inside of the post.

Forest continued to pose a threat and Findley got the Reds an excellent third just after the hour mark - Majewski fed a ball through to the rapid American who fought off two defenders to turn and curl a shot into the bottom corner from 16-yards.

Wycombe were then awarded a spot-kick of their own when Joel Lynch needlessly brought down Chairboys midfielder Stuart Lewis. Benyon stepped up and sent Camp the wrong way to give Wycombe a glimmer of hope.

Yet it was the Reds that continued to attack, substitute Joe Garner went close with a header before having a hand in Forest's fourth.

The frontman - who spent much of last season on loan at Scunthorpe United - beat the tackle of Dave Winfield before unselfishly squaring the ball to Majewski who applied the simple finish.

Nineteen-year-old prospect Kieron Freeman made his first team debut in the closing stages replacing McGugan in midfield. The hot-prospect went close to scoring in the final minute when Chris Gunter pulled the ball back for the youngster who slipped when set to strike.

The draw for round three of the Carling Cup will take place just after 12 noon on Saturday 27th August. The last 32 will include the Premier League teams involved in Europe.

Late Forest show denies Foxes a feast

Nottingham Forest 2 Leicester City 2: match report -George Boateng (right) scores a late leveller for Nottingham Forest
George Boateng (right) celebrates his last-gasp winner at the City Ground

George Boateng was Steve McClaren's unlikely hero with an injury-time equaliser as Forest came from two goals down to rescue a point against east Midlands rivals Leicester on Saturday.

The Foxes were on top at the interval scoring twice within three first-half-minutes after mistakes from the Reds in possession - but McClaren's men fought back late in the second half with a spot-kick and last-gasp Boateng goal helping them finish the game with a share of the spoils.

The first half was one to forget for the home side and Sven-Goran Eriksson's men caught the Reds sleeping early on - forcing Lee Camp to make two saves in quick succession. The first following a corner from Neil Danns that found the head of Leicester marksman David Nugent who saw his attempt saved. Soon after Ivorian defender Sol Bamba found space on the edge of the six-yard box and the Forest keeper was forced to hit his powerful shot away for a corner.

The high-spending visitors had been threatening a goal and it came after 18 minutes when Jonathan Greening gave the ball away poorly in his own half. The nimble Gelson Fernandes latched on quickly running past Luke Chambers and squaring the ball to the waiting Nugent who was left to fire into an empty net.

The Reds failed to learn from their first mistake – giving the ball away again in midfield minutes later. Chambers could only find Danns with his wayward pass and the sharp midfielder pounced darting into the box and playing a slick one-two with Nugent – although his shot was cleared off the line by Chris Gunter it came to Fernandes who buried the ball in the bottom left-corner to make it two.

The home fans looked shell-shocked at the break and not surprisingly considering Forest’s only chance of the half came when Gunter crossed from the left for new signing Matt Derbyshire who failed to test Schmeichel and headed wide.

McClaren decided to change things when the teams emerged from the tunnel for the second-half and Ishmael Miller was brought on for the second time in as many games – replacing Derbyshire who had seen little of the ball. USA starlet Robbie Findley also came into the action replacing David McGoldrick in attack.

Miller used his height well and began causing the Leicester defence problems immediately - setting up Findley with a precise flick-on from a long goal kick - the frontman crashed a powerful shot towards goal but Schmeichel dived to his left to make the save.

Miller then went close himself seconds later, turning quickly in the six-yard-box to find a shot out of nowhere - however Schmeichel was equal to it and clung on to the ball.

Following a good period of possession the Reds began stretching the Foxes’ back four and got a goal back soon after. Gunter got away down the right and put a cross in towards Findley who was blocked out by Leicester new-boy Matt Mills. Both fell to the ground and referee Jonathan Moss awarded Forest a penalty after Mills was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box.

Mills was booked and Schmeichel was also given a yellow for arguing with the referee. Lewis McGugan then stepped up to finish clinically from the spot - smashing the ball out of the reach of the diving Leicester keeper. Schmeichel then received a second yellow card and was sent for an early bath in a moment of madness after throwing the ball away in anger.

McGugan could have put the game back on level terms just before stoppage time with Forest winning a free kick on the left 20-yards out - but his effort hit the wall and ran away for a corner.

Forest did get their dramatic equaliser a minute from time when Chris Cohen put the ball in from a left-wing position - his cross sailed over Leicester substitute keeper Chris Weale and was scrambled in at the back post by Boateng who ran to celebrate in front of the adoring home fans in the Trent End.

Forest now have five points from a possible 12 and their next game in the Championship is at home to West Ham. The match is on Sunday 28 August and kick-off is at 1:15pm

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Gunter helps McClaren to first league win

End of the drought: Chris Gunter heads home the winner
Gunter heads home his winner after 31 minutes

Chris Gunter scored the only goal to secure Steve McClaren's first league win as Nottingham Forest manager against Doncaster on Tuesday night.

However the Reds did not have it all their own way and had to contain a strong Rovers side, who had the bulk of possession for long periods of the second half.

Doncaster had several chances within the opening few minutes of the game, Rovers star James Coppinger first coming close with a shot that had Lee Camp diving to his right only to see the ball fly wide.

Moments later Kyle Bennett hit a rasping shot from 20-yards forcing Camp to react again, tipping the ball over his bar, however referee Andy Woolmer did not see the touch and failed to give a corner, much to the anger of the home fans.

Forest's first real chance fell to Wes Morgan following a Andy Reid cross towards the back post, but Morgan failed to convert looping the ball just wide.

Camp was soon called on again when recent Reds trainee Giles Barnes provided for Simon Gillett whose shot on goal was too tame and was easily gathered up by Camp.

New Reds signing Matt Derbyshire looked sharp on the break and should of done better when the highly-rated Radoslaw Majewski found him unmarked - but his low ball failed to find the waiting David McGoldrick.

Forest's goal came after Brendan Moloney won the ball in midfield and hit a cross from the right finding the towering figure of Chris Gunter who headed the ball down towards Rovers keeper Gary Woods - who was unable to stop the ball trailing over the line.

Just before the break Doncaster could of been level after Gillett's weighted ball found Coppinger who hit a shot towards Camp's far post - fortunately for the Reds Camp reacted sharply, parrying the ball over the bar with both hands.

Forest also had dangerous spells before the break and Majewski hit a volley wide of the right-hand post following a driven Reid corner.

Rovers took control early in the second half and Barnes found Gillett again with a good cross - but the ex-Southampton man was denied thanks to great defensive work from Gunter.

Following a spell of possession from Rovers, which came to nothing, Majewski came close with a free kick which curled just over the goal and rested on the top of the net.

Ishmael Miller made his Forest debut with 15 minutes remaining, coming on to replace McGoldrick who had failed to get any real grip on the game.

Sean O'Driscoll's men did come close to an equaliser after catching the Reds out with a quickly taken corner. Gillett made a run into the Forest box and hit a powerful shot at Camp who saved well allowing Forest to hold on for three points.

The Reds now have four points from their first three Championship games and play high-spending Leicester at the City Ground on Saturday. Kick off is at 3:00pm

Final score: Nottingham Forest 1 Doncaster 0

Miller to make Forest bow

Miller could make his debut tonight

Ishmael Miller could be in line to make his Nottingham Forest debut against Doncaster tonight after the 24-year-old put pen to paper on a three-year-deal at the City Ground.

The powerhouse striker, who started his career as a youngster at Manchester City, is relishing the chance of first team football under Steve McClaren after a bad spell of injuries at previous employers West Brom.

Miller did well during a spell on loan at QPR last season but has slipped down the pecking order at the Hawthorns following Roy Hodgson's long awaited capture of Reading frontman Shane Long.

The deal, worth an initial £1.2 million will see Miller team up with striker Matt Derbyshire who the Reds recently captured from Greek giants Olympiakos.

Forest will be looking to the six-foot-striker for goals after recent short comings in their first two Championship games against both Barnsley and Millwall.

Doncaster entertain Forest at the Keepmoat tonight and Miller is training with the Reds today in hope of a call-up.

Toothless Forest put to slaughter in Lions Den

Lions made up: Darius Henderson (centre) shares his delight after putting Millwall in front
Darius Henderson (centre) shares his delight after putting Millwall ahead at the Den

Having failed to register a single shot on target in 90 minutes of football Steve McClaren's Reds were comfortably beaten by Millwall at the Den on Saturday.

Former Sheffield United striker Darius Henderson scored from a weighted near-post header following a corner after only seven minutes of the first half.

The Reds controlled possession much better in the second half but failed to have any affect in the final third and Liam Trotter sealed the win for the Lions on 77 minutes following a great counter attack from the home side.

The home side were straight out of the blocks early on and a well timed tackle from Chris Cohen was needed to prevent Millwall midfielder James Henry getting a shot in on goal.

However the Lions did get their early goal after Henry's corner found Henderson in the area who rose above a static Forest backline to head home.

Forest's first chance came on the 15 minute mark after new signing Jonathan Greening found Andy Reid who hit a rasping left foot shot which had Millwall keeper David Forde beaten but also beat the left-hand post.

Before half-time a mistake by Reds defender Luke Chambers allowed the Lions possession in the Forest box but a last ditch tackle from veteran George Boateng gave Forest a let off.

Forest came out for the second-half looking much improved on the ball and USA star Robbie Findley clipped the outside of the post from close range following a Cohen drive at goal.

The Reds brought on Marcus Tudgay and Radi Majewski late on but the two had little impact - Millwall continued to catch Forest out with their quick bursts of pace.

Following a good spell of Forest possession substitute Dany N'Guessan broke away quickly in the 77th minute and fired in a cross over the recovering Forest back four, promising striker Liam Trotter finished clinically and made it 2-0 to the home side.

Minutes later the home side could of added a third after N'Guessan rounded Chambers to cross for centre back Tamika Mkandawire who failed to control the ball.

The Reds looked lacklustre in front of goal and were beaten by a good Millwall side who will be looking to improve on last season's ninth place finish.

The match finished 2-0, meaning Steve McClaren is yet to claim his first Championship win as Forest manager. He will be looking to do so again on Tuesday evening, on the road at Doncaster. Kick off is at 7:45pm.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Derbyshire pens Forest deal

Image text here
Matt Derbyshire is back in English football following a two-year spell in Greece

Nottingham Forest have secured the services of Olympiakos striker Matt Derbyshire on a three-year contract.

The former Blackburn Rovers forward spent last season on loan at Birmingham City - making 13 appearances but failed to seal a permanent deal at St Andrew's. 

Championship clubs Leicester, Cardiff and Brighton were all linked with the talented forward and Forest boss Steve McClaren was alerted after Derbyshire was told by the Greek champions he was free to leave for another club.

The Englishman, 25, has won 14 caps for the England under-21 side and in his two-year spell at Olympiakos scored 11 goals in 26 appearances.

Derbyshire's move to the City Ground comes at a great time for the Reds who have so far lacked fire power in front of goal in the Championship following the departure of starlet Robbie Earnshaw to home club Cardiff.

Reds battle to spot-kick victory over city rivals

Wes Morgan celebrates his goal
Wes Morgan celebrates his late equaliser for the Reds

Nottingham Forest won a dramatic penalty shoot-out against rivals Notts County on Tuesday night thanks to a last gasp Wes Morgan thunderbolt in the 123rd minute.
The Carling Cup first round game was level at 3-3 after extra time, and Magpies skipper Neal Bishop missed the crucial penalty for the League One side, blazing his spot-kick over and gifting Forest a 4-3 victory on penalties.

The Magpies started the brighter - defensive stalwart Mike Edwards put Notts ahead with 15 minutes on the clock. However the Reds were quick to respond - Forest ace Lewis McGugan found the top right corner of the net with a superb free-kick after 29 minutes.

Both sides looked threatening in their opposing boxes on many occasions but the game remained level at half time.

After the break Forest drew first blood - a close range effort from USA frontman Robbie Findley beat County keeper Stuart Nelson to make it 2-1.

However former Forest striker, Craig Westcarr levelled again for County in the 75th minute with a close range effort from inside the area, delighting the away contingent who had made the short trip across the Trent.

The Magpies soon built up momentum and attacked the Forest box again, and Lee Hughes got his deserved reward with a thunderous curling shot past Forest keeper Paul Smith to make it 3-2.

The home side looked dead and buried until Findley found Wes Morgan outside the area who rifled a shot into the top corner from 20-yards taking the game to penalties.

Jonathan Greening hit the post with Forest's opening spot-kick, but his blushes were saved when another former Forest player, Hamza Bencherif missed County's third penalty.

The Reds new signing George Boateng was denied by Nelson before County striker Lee Hughes fired over.

Forest captain Luke Chambers kept his cool to keep Forest ahead and Bishop blazed over sending County out and Forest into the next round.

The draw for the second round of the competition is set to be made live on Sky Sports following the conclusion of the Sheffield Wednesday v Blackpool tie at Hillsborough on Thursday evening.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

If Forest back Steve McClaren, he may ignite those flickering embers

Steve McClaren has the ability to shine at Forest

As Nottingham Forest prepare for the dawn of a new Npower Championship this Saturday, there is one thing that is tormenting the minds of many reds fans along the River Trent.
That vexation is of course, whether or not the once proclaimed “Wally with a Brolly” will be given the players needed to complete his latest mission, and guide Forest to the destine which has so far been a bridge too far for many managers.
McClaren has not been afraid  to change things around at the City Ground since his arrival in June, following the sacking of Billy Davies. And in new assistant manager, Rob Kelly and first team coach, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink he certainly as an array of experience to install into his squad of players. An experience that can only aid when times are tough this season, and believe me they will be.
Andy Reid was McClaren’s first signing, the 29-year-old will be hoping to combine his Premier League experience with that of further signings George Boateng and ex Fulham star Jonathan Greening. The three will be vital in the Championship campaign, but a quick look around the league leaves one thinking that more are still required.
In fact, it is clear that the tricky trees need to add more players to the bulk of the squad if they hope to challenge the likes of newly relegated West Ham and high spending Leicester City. Both have squads which look set to challenge for the top spots next season, and in particular those lucrative automatic spots that Forest hope to acquire.
Recent Forest target Wayne Routledge seems to have slipped the radar and tied up a deal with Premier League Swansea, and with a week to go others may follow if the reds are not quick to act. Another winger that McClaren is keen to sign is dutch star Wesley Verhoek, however he faces fierce competition from Rangers and a host of other Championship clubs.
While Forest seem unable to sign a winger, they are also blinking on signing a much needed striker following the departure of Robert Earnshaw back to home club Cardiff City. Long standing reds target Nicky Maynard is also wanted by Leicester City, the pacy forward as yet to be tied to a new deal at Ashton Gate, but Forest have not looked close to grabbing Maynard from under the foxes noses.
Andy Reid was correct in admitting in a recent interview that Forest must sign 4 or 5 more players if they hope to challenge for the automatic promotion places this season. Early signals are suggesting that Steve McClaren has the ability to guide Forest to where they want to be, he has the belief and the tactics,  however many believe he still lacks the players that will allow him to do that.
Forest Chief Executive, Mark Arthur stated when McClaren was brought in that the board are happy with the current squad, and only wish to bring in a few new faces. They may have done that, and they continue to stress to Forest fans that these faces must be the right players and not just numbers, however that vital edge is still lacking. The edge I talk of is one that both QPR and Swansea had last season, and where are they now Mr Arthur?
With less than a week to go until Forest kick off their season against Barnsley at the City Ground, it may be time that Forest fans ask the board the same question the club asked them in their season ticket campaign last season. 
We’re serious about promotion, are you?

Dutch giants too strong for Forest

Andy Reid takes on his man.

PSV Eindhoven proved too much for a well put together Nottingham Forest side at the City Ground on Wednesday, as they finished the game 3-1 winners.
The Eindhoven side started brightly and were not looking to score tap ins, as the skilful Gerginio Wijnaldum showed, curling a precise shot past Lee Camp and into the back of the net with only 9 minutes on the clock.
Forest did not sit back though and drew equal two minutes later after a fantastic pin point cross from Andy Reid found the head of Paul Anderson, the winger headed home from 4-yards out.
The sides remained level at the break, PSV seemed happy to keep possession and bring the game to the reds, who often struggled to win the battle in the final third of the pitch.
However the score did change after 69 minutes following a out of character mistake from Brendan Moloney who let in Dries Mertens to slot past Lee Camp to make it 2-1.
Soon after Wijnaldum was given far too much space and showed the forest players how dangerous he can be with it, scoring another superb goal which left Lee Camp helpless.
Although Forest had their chances, they were unable to overcome a good Eindhoven side on the night but showed great promise for the forthcoming season which begins at home to Barnsley on August 6th.
Final Score: PSV Eindhoven 3 – 1 Nottingham Forest
Man of the Match: Gerginio Wijnaldum
Forest: Camp, Moloney, Chambers, Morgan, Cohen, Greening, Boateng (Gunter 61min), Reid (Majewski 45min HT), Anderson (Tudgay 72min), McGugan (Garner 75min), McGoldrick (Findley 61min)
Subs not used: Smith(GK), Darlow(GK), Lynch.
Scorer: Anderson 10min
PSV: Isakson, Manolev (Pieters 45min HT), Bouma (Engelaar 61min), Marcelo, Strootman (Bakkal, 82min), Toivonen (Zeefuik 82min), Wijnaldum, Lens, Mertens (Labyad 74min), Tamata, Ojo
Subs not used: Cassio, Menphis, Ritzmaier, Addo.
Scorers: Wijnaldum 9min, 73min, Mertens 69min
Referee: J. Moss
Attendance: 6,079 (Away: 49)

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Match Preview: Nottingham Forest vs PSV Eindhoven

Steve McClaren’s Nottingham Forest side face their penultimate test before the curtain rises on the new season tonight, as they face Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven in a pre-season friendly at the City Ground.
McClaren knows only too well of the presence of the Dutch side from his days managing FC Twente in Holland, and expects the reds to face their biggest pre-season test so far.
He said: “It’s a different kind of a test because of the way they play the game – one that will be more about focus, concentration and discipline than anything else.”
Forest ran out 2-1 winners in their last friendly away at VfB Stuttgart with Lewis McGugan and Robbie Findley both getting their names on the score sheet. Both could feature tonight, along side new signings Andy Reid, Jonathan Greening and George Boateng.
The match will provide McClaren with a good marker of where his forest side are at in preparation for their first game of the season on August 6th, at home to Barnsley.
Defender Luke Chambers may also feature, the club have recently opened contract talks with the 25-year-old after fierce competition for his signature from a host of Championship clubs.
Kick off is at 7:45 pm
Match Report to follow.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Forest improve offer for Wesley Verhoek and continue to chase Routledge

The initial offer for Verhoek was not substantial enough

Nottingham Forest are believed to have improved their offer for Dutch winger Wesley Verhoek. The ADO Den Haag ace is said to be frustrated at the lack of movement on a new contract and wants out.
The 24-year-old can play on both wings, and as a striker, and forest boss Steve McClaren is well aware of his ability after managing FC Twente in the Eredivisie. The bid is believed to be in the region of £2 million.
Forest are also keen to sign Newcastles’ Wayne Routledge who is wanted by a host of clubs, including Premier League Wigan, Swansea, and QPR. If the reds were to acquire his services it would be something of a coup for McClaren who is looking to add to the signings he has already made.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Uruguay win record Copa América title in Argentina

Diego Forlan scored twice as Uruguay made history tonight, becoming worthy winners of their fifteenth Copa América title in Argentina, beating Paraguay by 3 goals to nil.
Uruguay put the pressure on early in the first half, starting the brightest with 3 corners in the first 4 minutes of the game. They could have had a penalty inside the opening 90 seconds after some fine movement from Luis Suárez led to a corner. From the resulting corner a Diego Luganno header led to what seemed to be a controversial hand ball on the line from Ortigoza, however nothing was given.
Paraguay failed to apply much pressure of their own, and Uruguay took full advantage on 11 minutes when Suárez latched on to a wayward ball to score from inside the 18 yard box. Although the ball took a slight deflection on the way nothing could be taken away from Suárez who took the ball sweetly on his left foot and dragged it on to his right to finish coolly past Justo Villar.
Valdez was unlucky not to equalise for Paraguay on 15 minutes after he managed to control a high cross on the left towards goal but the ball flew up and over, and that proved to be the only worthy Paraguayan chance of the first half.
The battle within midfield was ever present, and when the ball was in the middle of the park both sides struggled to get into the final third. In the frustration each team began receiving numerous flighty yellow cards from ever ready referee Sálvio Fagundes.
Uruguay could have doubled their lead after 30 minutes when the sharp eyed Suarez picked out a lovely through ball for Diego Forlan who was denied another elusive international goal by a good save from Paraguay keeper Villar.
Forlan did manage to break that duck however on 41 minutes with a superb strike after a defensive error from Ortigoza who poorly gave the ball away to Arevalo Rios.
Rios slid the ball through to Forlan who did the rest, striking the ball perfectly across the face of Villars goal from 15 yards and into the bottom right of the Paraguayan goal.
The second half started slowly with no early signs of a Paraguayan fight back until the 54th minute when Valdez came close with a bold strike on the volley. The shot was heading in if it was not for the fingertip save of Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera to ping the ball onto the crossbar.
Uruguay took their foot off the gas to allow Paraguay back into the game for a short period of time, and they could have scored again on 62 minutes. Great play from Ivan Piris down the right led to a low cross towards the near post. Cristian Riveros met it but could only muster up a tame back heel effort allowing Muslera to claim the ball.
Paraguay could have had a penalty on 69 minutes after a shove from Sebastián Coates on Pablo Zeballos but Zeballos made a meal out of it and the referee failed to award the spot kick. Paraguay failed to capitalise on the possession they did have early on in the second half however, and Uruguay again began to retain the ball.
When Paraguay did get the ball back they failed to make it count with a host of ineffective corners, free kicks and throw-ins. They brought some of their attacking side to the game, but unfortunately it was too little, too late.
Uruguay turned Paraguayan agony to anguish in the 89th minute after a fantastic counter attack led to a third goal and a second for Forlan. Suárez headed down perfectly for the running Forlan who was left to slide the ball past Villar majestically. A special goal for Forlan, his 31st international goal, and one which takes him on par with the great Hector Scarone.
This was a thoroughly deserved win for Uruguay who outplayed Paraguay for the biggest part of the game. Uruguay now goes on to become the most successful South American nation in the Copa América ahead of Argentina who have only won 14 times compared to their 15.
Congratulations to Uruguay for a fantastic win and commiserations to Paraguay who had a brilliant tournament.

Final Score: Uruguay 3 – 0 Paraguay

Man of the Match: Luis Suárez – Scored one goal, set up another and could have had more. Showed some great skill throughout and will be a real threat in the Premier League next season.