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14/08 Forest 2nd Half

By: Si Wilson
Date: 25/06/2000

Nottm Forest 2 Grimsby Town 1
14 Aug 1999, Nationwide League Division 1

" could say that Forest were very very Town-esque..."  
The match could go two ways: Forest will have another half like the first and we'll get truly stuffed or Town could have a half like Forest did and we'd at least make a game of it. Whichever way it was, for all their possession Forest should have had a hatful of goals. In fact, you could say that Forest were very very Town-esque.

Town came out with two changes for the second half - Macca replacing Butterfield and Lester came on for Allen. This was most un-Buckley. All the subs used and quite a gamble.

"...a whirlwind of tactical fluidity and mastery..."  
The team lined up in a slightly different fashion as well. What was a "make do" 4-4-2 at the end of the first half turned into a whirlwind of tactical fluidity and mastery from Buckley. We kept a back four but beyond that the team took several shapes. For the most part we played with three central midfielders and a player just in front of them supporting the attackers. Pouton, Groves and Donovan all took turns in this position. If cover was needed when Forest attacked down the flank, the relevant midfielder sitting on that side of central midfielder shuffled over and helped the full-back.
Grimsby Town
R Smith
D Smith



It was a bewitching tactic that took advantage of Forest's rigid defensive marking, dragging the Forest team apart like they did to us in the first half.

" was a case of playing them at their own game..."  
Occasionally we resorted a few bouts of 4-4-2 with Donovan and Pouton playing down the wings, both having stints on either wing. It was a case of playing them at their own game and Town blitzed Forest using the exact tactics they used against us to gain space to manipulate.

It was also a follow on from the end of the Stockport game when we played 4-3-1-2 as well - is Alan preparing his team for a different type of game plan? Could it be a way of coaxing more goals out of his team? And remember that Mr Burnett is due to resume action in the next few weeks as well...

From the off Town attacked and what's more they attacked the goal the Grimsbarians were camped behind.

One of the first attacks saw the ball reach Donovan whose flick pass landed at Lester's feet. Lester took control and ran onto the right hand corner of the Forest half. He was already attracting two Forest players, the midfield were looking to get into the vacated spaces left by these absences.

"...Donovan, with a swagger in his stride..."  
Donovan with a swagger in his stride, weaved his way past two defenders and surged into the box and played a pass forward to Lester whose shot was blocked. Ashcroft got to the loose ball and hit a fierce shot was blocked by the 'keeper. The ball fell to Donovan who, 15 yards to the left of the goal, volleyed a rising shot that was headed over by Chettle.

The same determination and fluidity lead to the penalty which came from this corner. The corner was played in and semi-cleared to the left of the box. Lester ran after the ball which rolled towards the left flank. Chettle slid in on Lester and the ref blew his whistle. Penalty!

"...Groves thumped the ball down the middle of the goal..."  
Grovesy stepped up and plonked the ball on the spot. Crossley - the man who saved a penalty in the FA Cup final - stood crouched on his line. Groves took four steps, turned around and ran up. Crossley slumped to his right as GROVES thumped the ball down the middle of the goal. 1-1 and a goal Town deserved for their determination and bold tactics from the start. The travelling fans went mad. This wasn't in the script...

Initially I thought it was just a case of Forest being a little complacent and they'd wake up after this but it wasn't to be.

With Ashcroft and Lester playing off the shoulders of their markers, they were wheeling away down the flanks onto early balls and getting support from at least two players behind them. Town were really buzzing and the passing and movement really was sublime. (sounds great this doesn't it?!)

Town continued to attack using the midfield as a solid base. From a free kick Donovan sharp cross was head away with three Town players bearing in on it's destination.

"...he was playing how you'd want him to play..."  
Jackie was unnerving the defence with his close control and he was playing how you'd want him to play using just the right mix of aggression and skill, using the ball at his feet rather than trying to chase the ball. On several occasions he got the ball down the right channel and weaved through several defenders - once lead to a decent low cross which Crossley was smart to. Chettle got a yellow card with his attempt to stop young Mr Lester.

After a corner when Macca and Donovan combined neatly with some short play, Forest had an occasional attack. Quashie broke down the right and turning came back onto his left to curl a cross in which Harewood headed wide.

Donovan was starting to look assured and confident and a chip-pass down the right to Lester was returned into Donovan's run. The cross was hit with pace and it took a brave header from Mannini to stop the advancing Pouton have a pot on goal.

"...the party tricks were starting to come out..."  
The party tricks were starting to come out, and we saw some of the best football from Town since the the West Brom away match. Sublime movement and some tremendous individual skill were evident in this period - the ball came to Macca who played a glorious 15 yard chip to Pouton who was just outside the area. He span and passed the ball to Galli who checked with a drop of the shoulder and weaved the ball to Lester. The result was a corner. Pouton received the ball and teed the ball up once, then cheekily teed it over the incoming Scimeca and laid the ball off.

And for the first time donkeys "it's just like watching Juve" struck up. The Town fans were the only ones singing and the atmosphere was close to that of the first trip to Wembley.

Forest subbed Quashie with Palmer in the 67th minute and Forest went to a straight 4-4-2 formation.

This raised Forest's game as Palmer got won the ball on several occasions and his experience from the middle of the park lead to several chances. Palmer won the ball on one occasion and played the ball to Bart-Williams. He slipped the ball through to Harewood but a neat tackle saved Town as he threatened to break through.

The corner was flicked on by Harewood at the near post and spun towards the far post were it faded away.

"...Coyne was sharp and smart..."  
A Livvo slip nearly proved costly as a ball was played through but Coyne was sharp and smart to scupper Dougie.

Town went to the other end of the pitch and Pouton, Lester, Donovan and Ashcroft all combined to provide another scintillating move across the back line and Macca, overlapping like he did for much of the half, played the ball through to Ashcroft he hit his shot firmly but too true at Crossley who just caught it in his midriff.

Petrachi shot over from 25 yards and Forest started to get some control of the game.

A cross from Harewood was headed by Freedman but a smart by Smith saw to that.

"...we won a goal kick as he lost his patience..."  
Freedman received the ball from Bart-Williams and jinxed into the left of the Town box. Town had three players behind the ball and no support arrived for Dougie. He was closed down and we won a goal kick as he lost patience.

A smart freekick from Macca 40 yards from goal looked to be heading for a Groves flick just inside the Forest area. Groves missed the ball and Lester ran onto the ball, trapped it smartly, but a defender was quick to the danger with Lester 5 yards from goal.

Harewood was replaced by Guinan on 81 minutes.

Forest looked to concentrate their attacks down the Town left, but an attack down the right saw Rogers manage to nutmeg Pouton and chase into the box from the left. Coldicott was alert and came across Rogers and took both the ball and Rogers over the line. The Forest fans appealed for a penalty but there was little cause for one.

The corner was knocked in, knocked out, knocked back in, knocked out, knocked in and a header from Freedman seemed to travel in slow motion across goal and past Coyne's right hand post.

Petrachi smashed the ball into the box, it hit Guinan on the head and it looked like it would spawn in but it faded a foot wide in the end.

"...Palmer ran onto the ball and wellied it into the net..."  
A hopeful ball from the right wing entered the town box and with Galli, R Smith and Coyne in attendance PALMER ran onto the ball and wellied it into the net from 6 yards. None of the players seemed to claim the ball and it was cruel on Town. Neither player could really be blamed as they had all played with their hearts, which were clearly broken by this little blunder.

Immediately Town had a chance to equalise as the resurgent Donovan received the ball 5 yards from the Forest D and ran past two defenders after Lester laid the ball off. As he advanced on goal Donovan couldn't decide which way to nip past the last defender but Crossley saw the hesitancy and dived at Kev's feet.

The last chance of the game fell to Ashcroft after a long kick from Coyne was superbly taken down but under pressure from three defenders Peggy screwed his shot wide.

In all there was so much you can take from this match. We matched a team of players who were technically very good. We used a different tactic, we went for the throat, we showed a lot of character and on reflection of chances they should have wrapped the game up in the first half. They didn't and we were unlucky to lose in the end.

" still baffles us why this isn't the case at BP..."  
The support was amazing and it still baffles us why this isn't the case at BP. With the fans behind them the players were well up for it in the second half. Just a shame about the shambolic first half.

They've proved they can do it - let's have more of the same. Roll on Fulham.

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