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24/02 Forest 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
In the first minute Town won a free kick on the right, swung in by Campbell to Groves, who headed firmly down low, but straight at Beasant (these facts were brought to you by Sue Firth, as I hadn't got back to my seat in time)
Nottingham Forest 3 Grimsby Town 1
24 Feb 2001, Nationwide League Division 1
As in the first half, nothing of any real consequence happened for 5 minutes, then Willems miss-hit a shot from 20 yards, which dribbled a few inches wide of Beasant's left hand post. Beasant was so dilatory that he would not have reached it if it had been on target. But it wasn't, so it doesn't really matter, does it. The Willems shot followed a Town breakaway down the right, involving Rowan, Jeffrey and Donovan.
You can now forget Town for half an hour.
Sometime just after half time there was an almighty scramble in the middle of the Town area, which was eventually cleared by McDermott. It was one of those Cup type scrambles where 10 men flail about but miss the ball and everyone falls over. And then something happened completely out of the blue. Forest knocked the ball over the Town defence down the right. Groves knocked the ball back to Coyne, who sliced his fly-kick out for a throw in. Forest eventually worked the ball over to their right to the substitute, EDDS, near the corner of the penalty box. He did a Pouton step-over, cut inside Campbell and curled a left footed shot over Coyne into the top right hand corner of the goal. The Town supporters went on a treasure hunt, the treasure to be found? Jogging Danny B. Where was he? He was spotted standing between Groves and Enhua in the middle of the goal. I spent the whole of the drive back from Nottingham trying to work out why he was there and have yet to find a satisfactory answer.
This lifted the Forest crowd who suddenly roared their team on and made the ground rock. The effect on the teams was palpable. Town seemed to cower and Forest players ran around quicker. Within a minute the game ended.
A deep cross from the Town right was headed in by the tallest player on the pitch, the elegantly coiffured EDWARDS from a central position about 10 -12 yards out. The ball was nodded to Coyne's right very firmly.
At about this time there was a series of contretemps between Town supporters and the stewards. I'll leave others to report on the why, when, how and what as I was too far away to see or hear. This rumbled on for 15 -20 minutes and was not confined to one group or area. A Town supporter at the back was told to sit down, so he apologised to the concrete wall behind him for blocking its view. The concrete wall didn't even have the manners to acknowledge him. Typical Nottingham, eh?
Town switched to a 4-3-3 formation soon after the second goal went in, with Donovan pushing up to make the third man. This created huge spaces on the flanks, which Forest utilised. Whenever the ball broke loose they didn't even look, they simply knocked it into the space on the wings. Forest also had changed their tactics, with someone ALWAYS stood on the touch-line. It was as if their manager had changed things at half time to take into account our weaknesses. Whoever would have thought of that new fangled Continental idea?
Despite their dominance of possession, Forest didn't create many chances, with the centre of the Town defence and midfield being very resolute. The nearest they came was when a clipped cross from their left towards Johnson at the near post missed everyone and bounced off Coyne's chest as Coyne did a star jump. Of course they had a few long shots which sailed majestically wide and high, or onto Coldicott and Willems backsides, and Edwards headed a corner 3 yards wide. This brought an excited "Ooooo" from the Forest supporters. They needn't have bothered, it was miles away.
Town did have moments, principally through Rowan who got better as the game wore on. He started to link quite interestingly with Jeffrey. They have the potential to prove a slippery and elusive front pairing, if a little similar and, let's face it, weak. Rowan showed great determination when he won a clearance on the edge of the Town penalty area and took on his marker, threading an inch perfect pass down the touchline to Jeffrey. The move ended on the edge of the Forest penalty area when Donovan got involved, but hinted at something. Towards the end Rowan embarked on a 60 yard run down the left hand touchline. He was fouled (by the same player) three times, before the ball went out of play. He never gave up and displayed some strength in remaining on his feet. Terrible refereeing though as Rowan's shirt was moving in most peculiar ways.
A minute later Jeffery bundled past a Forest player on the left and was wrestled to the floor. Free kick to them! Perhaps it was given because Jeffrey didn't fall down early enough. Donovan wasted some great work by Jeffrey and Willems by dawdling on the edge of the Forest area. Instead of passing outside to the unmarked Jeffrey he turned inside and ran into three Forest defenders. A wasted opportunity. A few moments later Jeffrey sent Donovan free inside the penalty area, right on the touchline. No one came to him so Donovan carefully picked out which player to cross to and gently looped a cross into Beasant's arms. Another wasted opportunity.
With 5 minutes to go they scored again. One of their midfielders attempted to play a one-two on the edge of the Town penalty area. The ball squirmed through towards Coyne who ran out and blocked with his legs. The ball went out to the right touchline, to a Forest player. He crossed low and hard to the far post, where two Forest players were totally unmarked. The ball was headed back across goal to somewhere in between Enhua, Groves and Coyne. JOHNSON raced over and did a scissors type hook around Groves and into the net.
The only other things to happen were a cross shot from a Forest player which went just over the bar, a bizarre run from their substitute Harewood who ran away from goal and all the way back down the bye-line beating 2 Town defenders twice before the ball was cleared by Enhua. And then a sublime turn from Rowan on the Town left, right on the touchline. He then ran down the bye-line and hit a low, hard cross which Beasant half stopped and the ball was whacked clear as Coldicott (I think) lurked.
That's it. The end. Started well, got worse, not much more to add. Neither side were much use, Forest seemingly worse than the mob they put out last year. Them being on the cusp of the play-offs just shows how rotten this division is this year. As for Town, there were some decent individual performances, though no one shone. A couple were quite poor. It isn't hard to work out who was poor from the preceding paragraphs. It was a game that we should have avoided defeat in. That we didn't, and the way we subsided should at least alert management and players to the dangers of complacency.
NickO's Man of the Match - It's between Jeffrey, Groves and McDermott. I'll go for McDermott - as I said earlier, a master class in defending without tackling.
Photos courtesy of Forest Fire.
A larger selection of pictures from the game can be seen in the Grimsby v Forest Gallery
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