This report won’t be long, as this match doesn’t deserve anything more than a cursory recollection of the simple facts.
Slutsky recalled Meyler (for Stewart) and Campbell (for Dicko) from last week’s Oakwell smash & grab.
In front of 15,780 (yeah, right) and after a justified minute’s applause for City legend Les Mutrie the Tigers carded:
Aina Dawson Hector Clark
Larsson Meyler Grosicki
Although to be honest I’ve no idea where Henriksen was actually supposed to be playing, as he wandered in a free role behind Campbell without ever really getting his foot on the ball or win a tackle.
One of the rare bright spots of the afternoon – and indeed the season – was the energy and inventiveness of Jarrod Bowen, and I’ll be surprised if Ehaw hasn’t cashed-in on our top scorer come January. On four minutes he skipped through four Forest challenges before seeing his shot cleared, and a few minutes later he setup Grosicki to blooter wide.
Shortly after Forest took the worst ever corner kick in English professional football, 19:04 on the clock triggered the release of a few hundred bright yellow tennis balls raining down on the visitors goalmouth from a baying North Stand. The game was held up whilst stewards kicked them all from the
KC sward whilst an admirable tirade of abuse echoed around the half empty stadium. And behind me in the East Stand dimwits shouted their view that the protestors should be “banned for life”. We truly have a club that some of our supporter base deserve.
And so on the half hour Forest take the lead. City’s defence stand-off and Dowell rifles past McGregor from 25 yards. Should our Scotch keeper have done better? It was at a nice height and looked like he had a good sight as it arrowed past him.
At this point my notes suggest City’s forwards were not showing for the ball from midfield, and Henriksen was having another stinker. Indeed, our entire midfield looked lightweight all afternoon, bar Meyler who always appears two tackles from a red. Half-time 0-1.
At half-time Henriksen was shepherd-crooked by Toral, and Irving brought ponytailed light to replace Grosicki’s hovering dark cloud.
All the positive stuff from City was coming through Jarrod Bowen, and on 48 he skipped down the right, beating two Forest before his cross was snaffled by the keeper. Two minutes later Toral goes down in a hamstring-tweaked heap, and is replaced by Dicko. City’s quickest-ever substituted substitute?
On 71 more crass defending from City allows Dowell the freedom of the park and he pings one in off the post. The City players look a sad sight, heads-down and seemingly accepting game over. But no-one told young Jarrod as he curled a superb shot into the top corner from 25 yards. Game back on?
But, of course, it wasn’t. Dowell completes his hat-trick via the penalty spot after Larsson coughs up cheap possession and Meyler trips goal-bound Walker, though it looked a soft decision.
Hector reduced the arrears after drilling through a crowded penalty area on 87, but it was too little and far too late. Five minutes added saw plenty of Forest timewasting (who could blame them) and loud boos accompanied the final whistle.
Most of the post-match media attention focused on the tennis ball protest and deflected from the rank awful City performance. The Tigers looked a shell of the side fielded by Marco Silva less than a year ago, and now look every bit a lower mid-table Championship team bereft of confidence and, perhaps more worrying, leadership. Our defence is as shaky as an Allam Employment Tribunal. Even Richard Sneekes would add steel to this current midfield. City’s forwards are feeding on scraps, and are so playing deeper – Dicko should be playing on the shoulder of an opposing centre half, not hunting in the centre circle for the ball.
If this continues we’d all do well to start mentally attuning to preparing for a relegation scrap, as watching Sheff United beat the White Shite on Friday night clearly demonstrates how far off a promotion team we are. We have some talented players, we have some journeymen and some not-fully-committed loanees, and Slutsky needs to somehow mould this lot to at least match the sum of its parts, which it currently nowhere near is.
Andy Medcalf (via Tiger Chat)