25 November, 2006

It's probably 'arris's fault

Pssst. Wanna know a secret? I can tell you how to beat Nottingham Forest. Honest guv. It's easy. Twenty quid to you matey.

Right ... first off, play 4-4-2. That puts your two strikers in the gaps by their back three. Then push your left winger forwards. And get your left-sided central midfielder to push out to the wing as well. That keeps Southall occupied. Don't worry about Curtis too much. And play as high up the field as possible - that way the midfield four end up playing as extra defenders. And, here's the clever bit. Timewaste at every opportunity. Nudge, push, shove, kick, elbow them as often as possible. A quick word in their ears about their wives or mothers. And whenever they shove you back, go down like you were shot and make sure that the physio is called on. Anything to break their stride.

If this quick tip results in Forest losing a game, remember it's probably 'arris's fault.

Forest 3 - 1 Millwall

We lined up unchanged in a 3-4-3:









    Smith    
  Morgan Cullip Breckin (c)  
Southall Clingan   Perchio Curtis
  Harris   Commons  
    Agogo    


As we took to the field I immediately noticed Cullip striding out purposefully. "Blimey, I wouldn't mess with him" I thought to myself. Just before kick off the players made a point of going round the team and slapping hands, psyching each other up. And then Millwall came at us. Two chances for them in the first minute. My faith in Cullip proved utterly misplaced as he made a mistake leaving Ben May one-on-one with Smith - and one-nil to them. Cullip had his head in his hands, Smith had no chance. It was probably 'arris's fault.

Millwall proceeded to play the game plan outlined above. Lots of little nudges and niggly fouls. Lots of sledging. Tons of time wasting. And I've never seen such a miracle worker as their physio. But the key was the doubling up on Southall. With him pegged back, almost as an orthodox defensive right-back we had no outlet for the ball at all. You see - 'arris - it's all his fault. The Millwall fans were making a lot of noise, including singing "Super Neil Harris" - resulting in boos from some of our fans. And we were making a lot of mistakes. Step forward Breckin, Curtis, Morgan, Clingan and Perchio. And 'arris, of course. It was all his fault. Not that we weren't creating chances - their keeper was busy and I'm sure we hit the post and the bar. But they were creating more chances and carving us apart as they forced errors off our defenders. 'arris. All because of 'arris.

At half time I seriously thought we had no way into this match. Millwall had us tactically. We couldn't seem to raise our game to deal with it - they just kept knocking us out of our stride (and there's no use asking the referee to help). I reckon it was down to 'arris.

The second half started with a good chance for us, followed by an equally good one for them. But then their plan changed. Southall was left unmarked. They played lower down the field and managed to stay on their feet. Perchio and Clingan got the opportunity to play as midfielders, not extra centre-halves. And we slowly built up a rhythm. Cullip came off - looking like his hamstring again - replaced by Tyson (Curtis moved to centre-half with Harris "the Witch" moving to left wing-back). Bloody 'arris - doing Danny's ham-string again. And then Perch was moved to centre-half, with Curtis back to the left, when Gary Holt replaced Harris. And then we really came into it (see it must have been his fault). Millwall started looking pegged back - much like we were in the first. Tyson, Agogo and Commons seemed to have their defenders scared.

However, the key moment of the match was just about to happen. Agogo, who was working hard for very little reward spotted Grolt taking his tracksuit bottoms off. The Trent End cheered and sang "there's only one Grant Holt". And Agogo, realising it was probably him who was coming off, forced a mistake off their defender - ending up one-on-one with the excellently named Lenny Pidgely. One all! Grolt sits back down on the bench. A minute later, a goal mouth scramble and somehow Perchio forces it over the line. Two one and they're not singing anymore.

Grolt comes on for Commons, making a load of excellent runs (funny how the Trent End never noticed Harris's runs but when Grolt makes them ...) for not much reward. The linesman seems to think that you are offside if you are ever between the defenders and the goalie. We win a corner and Breckin does a perfect Sheringham near-post effort. Three to us and we could have had more. However, as injury time struck, Agogo pulled up with a dodgy hamstring - so we finished the game with ten men. Obviously, this was 'arris's fault as well.

Losers
The entire team for being taken apart in the first half by such simple tactics.
Smith - learn to kick the ball at a red shirt!
Cullip - a bad mistake and another injury.
A sizeable number of the fans - this Harris-baiting has to stop. Much as I would rather see Grolt take his place in the side, the fact is Harris is a Red. We pay his wages. Booing him, when he is part of the side that is top of the league is just idiotic. Stop it now.

Winners
Tyson - maybe not capable of playing 90 minutes yet but he makes a real difference to our sharpness up-front.
Grolt - there was a lot of love for Grant Holt at the City Ground today. Let's hope that there's a silver lining to Agogo's misfortune.
The entire team - for taking the time to applaud the fans after the final whistle (lead by Southall and Grolt). We made a lot of noise today and they showed us that they appreciated it.

3 comments:

nffcblog said...

Absolutely awesome match report - glad it's not just me that tires of the endless Harris-abuse.

That said, Forest fans as a collective always need to have a scapegoat, be the times bad, or be they good.

Anonymous said...

i sit in trent end and was definately NOT one of the harris haters, keep him in the starting 11, dont drop him, hes a key player and always gives 100%.
we are winning and top of the league, so to all the harris boo-boys, shut up sit down!!

Baz said...

Part of me thinks Cullip was injured before the game but offered to stay out for as long as possible.

hence the purposeful walk out - he was psyching himself up when he knew he wasn't 100%

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