26 February, 2006

Nottingham Forest 7 - 1 Swindon Town

My second time ever in the Bridgford Lower (the first was to witness Taribo West crying in the centre circle almost ten years ago as we edged past Auxerre in the UEFA Cup) and probably the worst view I've ever had. Due to some quirk of perspective the cross bar blocked my view of pretty much the entire Trent End half of the pitch. But who cares?

Clingan's suspension meant a start for Gary "Three Lungs? More like Iron Lung" Holt in midfield, giving us a simple 4-4-2: Pedersen, Curtis, Morgan, Breckin (c), Bennett, Southall, Holt, Perch, Commons, Tyson, Holt.

And the scores are:

Pedersen: 2 lungs
Didn't have much to do but when called upon he didn't flap at crosses and did alright on shots. No complaints.

Curtis: 2 lungs

Off injured after about half an hour, replaced by Thommo.

Morgan: 2.5 lungs

Solid at the back and two goals for young Wesley. Swindon really need to learn to defend set pieces.

Breckin: 2.5 lungs

I don't think he knew much about his goal as it hit his back but excellent at snuffing out any threats Swindon posed.

Bennett: 3 lungs

Made the opening goal with an excellent strike that his the crossbar (the rebound falling to Southall), defended well and marauded upfield like a full back from days gone by.

Southall: 3 lungs

Rish commented early on that this was looking like a great performance from him. Not bad for an old-pro free signing.

Perch: 2.5 lungs

Nice to see him back on form after looking like he had lost it a bit. He was helped out a lot by ...

Gary Holt: 3 lungs

I've always thought that defensive midfield was the most important position on the pitch. And today showed why I rated him the best player in the Championship a couple of seasons ago - he shielded the back four and when he won possession used it well with sensible short passes.

Commons: 3 lungs

A nice performance from him, incisive and making things happen.

Tyson: 3 lungs

If there's one thing we have to give credit to Megson for, it's the signing of Nathan Tyson (when he didn't initially want to come). The boy was incredible today, terrifying defenders with his pace and just making things happen. Worryingly, he was limping quite badly as the teams came off at the end.

Grant Holt: 3 lungs

An excellent performance from the chunky lad. I was desperate for him to get a goal to reward his efforts today (and from the looks of his run and shot at the end, so was he). He held the ball up well with his flick ons and his runs and passes made space for the others (especially Southall) to exploit.


Thompson: 2.5 lungs
Came on for Curtis at right-back and did his job well.

Lester: 2 lungs

Came on for Commons and slotted in upfront with Tyson taking the left wing. A bit unfair that he got the goal when Tyson and Holt both deserved it but a solid performance.

Bastians: 2 lungs

Came on for the injured Tyson and worried their dishevelled defence with his running. Also gave the linesman a withering look when he was adjudged to have taken the ball out of play.

Other points of note:

Iffy Onuora looked the right Man at C&A with his beige slacks and long coat, pulling the catalogue poses in his technical area.

The Swindon fans were great - celebrating every throw in as if it was a goal, chanting "Easy, Easy" for most of the second half and even giving it a "You're not singing anymore" after their consolation goal.

The back four were still playing hoofball but it doesn't matter as when Holt (either of them) won it the ball then stayed on the deck till Bennett or Southall crossed it.

Swindon really really need to learn to defend set pieces.

The best thing about today was that the players had big grins on their faces. No fear, just running, endeavour and teamwork.

Man of the Match:

I'd give it to Gary Holt but Grant Holt, Julian Bennett (Benno?) and der-der-de-der-Nathan-Tyson were equally deserving.

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