words: David Marples
It was a day of surprises: some pleasant, others less so.
A three pronged attack of Daryl Murphy, Lewis Grabban with Joe Lolley hovering and skittering around behind and alongside was probably not what many expected given the previous team selection away at West Bromwich Albion in the previous game.
Despite early pressure from Preston, Martin O’Neill’s team worked their way into the game to the extent that they got the home crowd huffing and puffing with discontent come the end of the first half.
Grabban had a goal chalked off for offside after a long throw from Yates caused consternation in the Preston defence. Indeed, Grabban was an upturned plug in the sole of the home defence all game and almost converted when put through on goal.
Murphy too played his part and on occasions withdrew deeper in order to forage for the ball and create space for the onrushing Lolley who - with close attention from at least two defenders all afternoon - resembled a pied piper with white figures in a constant state of chase.
The central defensive pairing of Yohan Benalouanne and Alexander Milošević– although still very early in its development – looks increasingly permanent with each game. A clean sheet away from home will give them a lovely warm glow of satisfaction this morning.
A less pleasant surprise was Lolley’s goal being disallowed for Yates’ challenge on Declan Rudd in the Preston goal. With Yates steaming in to challenge for the ball he spilled, Rudd stuck out a palm and flicked it to what he thought was safety yet didn’t reckon on Lolley being stationed perfectly to tap the ball into an empty net. All Yates was guilty of was sliding in and doing his best to successfully avoid contact with Rudd.
It’s a funny old (hair-tearing and teeth-gnashingly frustrating) game at times.
With twenty minutes remaining, Murphy made way for João Carvalho who scampered around like a Labrador being let out to play after being cooped up inside on a rainy day and wriggled through a tight defence to force a neat save from Ruddy.
In the big scheme of things, two consecutive away draws point towards O’Neill very much getting a feel for the squad and how he wants them to play. Factor in the win against Brentford and how desperately close Forest came to walking away with wins from these tough away games and it’s fair to say some very solid decking is being laid down as we step into spring.
Issue 11 is born. It is sliding through letterboxes of subscribers right now and will be on general sale very soon.
In conversation with...Steve Sutton (David Marples)
If it happened in the ‘80s, Steve Sutton saw it – and probably saved it.
Mass Distraction (Phil Juggins)
Outmoded, outdated, outstanding: a football forum love affair.
“Derby County is Life” (Paul Severn)
Our nearest and dearest on Clough, Attwell, and being ‘shithoused’ by QPR.
You Must Have Come on a Skateboard (Neil Syson)
The only living boy in New Cross, and the only Forest fan in the New Den.
The Song Remains the Same (Nick Miller)
Breaking up is hard to do. Caring in the first place is becoming even harder.
There’s a Circus in the Town
My family, and other animals: the anatomy of a rivalry.
Who Are They? Exactly. (Nigel Huddlestone)
It’s 300 miles from Sussex to Accrington. What do you do when the warning lights are blinking?
My Generation (Matt Oldroyd)
The story of what 1,000 (almost) consecutive games does to a man’s mind and his soul.
Kicking Shins (Steve Wright)
Why a football club should be so much more than just a football team
“God is a Concept by Which We Measure Our Pain” (Richard Harrison)
One day you’re the giant, another day his killer. A world without cupsets is a world we don’t want to live in.
The Football Factory: Pt 1 (Pete Blackburn)
Examining academy life, and what became of two of Forest’s brightest young stars.