Run Forest, Run – Part 10: Stuck in 2nd Gear

Matt Wills is back to get you through hump day. His Nottingham Forest adventure began 8 seasons in but he’s more than caught up now. The glory days are back at the City Ground but are those magic European nights here to stay? Catch up with part 9 here.

Hey you guys, we’re back with our Forest Future save, and well into Season 3 now after a domestic treble last season. We’re 2 from 2 in our Champions League group and have worked our way to the top of the Premier League.

A quick visual reminder…

1

Newcastle chasing us hard, Man Utd looking adrift already. Shocking stuff.

2

AaB dominant with no goals conceded so far.

Whilst things are going quite well, Wee Jimmy wants to go

3

I say no and as The Lizard is injured for a week, put him in the sticks for our away trip to Leeds. He concedes to Chris Woodcock after only 2 minutes. At the other end, we can find no way past Thomas Mhyre and when Bogie hauls down Woodcock in the box and is sent to the dressing room, Timofte converts to make it a bad day at the office.

4

We’ll have to lick our wounds for a week or so as it’s the International Break and it’s costly for our strike force

5

Young Derek Thompson is itching for first team football, so he’ll fill Rubini’s boots for a week or so to keep him happy.

Derek takes his chance against Villa, but we hold the lead for a whole minute before Mark Low equalises. It’s more injury woe as Debbah goes down hurt, so old man Alfonso steps off the bench to take his place and helps set up Fisher for the winner 2 minutes later.

6

Debbah’s out for a few weeks, so we’ll be relying on youth and experience for our goals when we take on Aab in our 3rd Champions League group game.

We take an early lead, but Aab come back strong to equalise but we cannot find a winner.

7

The Match Stats tell the story – only 4 shots on target. I need my injured strikers back pronto!

8

They are still out injured however when we take on Wolves and although we go in front, this time it’s for less than a minute when Richie Wellens scores. Inge secures the three points with a second half strike but in truth we were holding on until the red card. We’re certainly not fluid at the moment. Last seasons hero Guerrero has gone right off the boil this time out, but still remains a vital squad member.

9

We find some striking form when we take on Kettering in our defence of the League Cup and although we score five, I’m disappointed to concede 2 to a Division 2 side, still, we’re into the next round to take on Kidderminster Harriers. Nelo and Inge getting the goals from midfield which is always a bonus.

10

Really not understanding our lack of goals at the minute. I know Debbah and Rubini are out, but surely we can score a few at against Bolton, no?

No.

11

At least The Lizard kept a clean sheet. Somehow we’re still top of the league. Bolton finished 6th last season, so it’s not that much of an upset.

Our 4th Champions League game sees us travel to Rosenborg and Trujillo from Metallica is invloved again, our winner coming from the unlikely left wingback position through Jarni Jnr.

12

That gives us 10 points from 4 games and one more win from our last 2 should see us through to the quarters.

Despite that, it feels like the wheels are coming off a little in the league. Not sure where to start with our away game against Everton. Baksa scores again and Thompson had a goal ruled out for offside in the last minute. We should have done better against 10 men. I think Ron Butcher is the regen of Ian Wright, who always used to like scoring against Forest.

13

I think my problem is that my summer recruitment strategy means we haven’t had a settled side as I try to find my best 11.

While I’m pondering all that, England have qualified for Euro 08 with a perfect record and know their group for the finals. Noel Whelan helping out with 3 goals in 8 games.

14

England will probably finish bottom of their group after such a fine qualifying campaign.

We’re up against Arsenal next, who are top and amazingly we are 2nd. So we aren’t that entertaining at the moment, but maybe we are becoming resilient and Debbah celebrates his return with the winning goal and send us back to the top of the pile.

15

Back to our European campaign and we’re cruising to our required 3 points in our match against CSKA until The Lizard gets himself sent off, but summer signing Davide Courtin keeps them at bay after conceding the penalty.

16

We have 13pts but qualification isn’t confirmed yet.

We’re away to Martin O’Neill’s Man City in the league next.

17

Substitute Thompson saves us a point, but really its two dropped and we’re back down to second in the league.

It’s a complete change in the starting 11 for the League Cup as I give some of the fringe players some game time and we squeeze through after 120 minutes against Kidderminster. Our defence of the trophy marches on.

18

The story of our next league match against Sunderland can be told in the space of 4 send half minutes.

19

We seem to like winning 2-1 at the minute.

It’s our last Champions League group game up next and we do just enough to finish top.

20

I just want to avoid Milan in the next round.

21

Well we did, but not much better.

22

23

Our group mates AaB draw Milan out of the hat and we’ll pick that thread up in the next post.

As we head into Xmas its all very routine away to Burnley

24

Boxing day is an absolute bore draw against Newcastle which I won’t even post details of it was that drab, but it keeps us top at Xmas, but it’s getting tight

25

Liverpool doing well after promotion, but it’s a different story for Chelsea who came up with them

26

The next, and penultimate blog post will pick up with our defence of the FA Cup and the quarterfinals of the Champions League, but before we go, and quick round up of the teams I avoided.

Liverpool – 12th in the Premier League following last season’s promotion. They are out of the League Cup, losing to Man City, but have the 3rd round of the FA Cup against Bristol City to look forward to in the new year, as well as a two-legged affair with Real Madrid in the Quarter Finals of the Cup Winners Cup. Alan Shearer is doing some good work at the helm.

Lazio – Midtable in Serie A, with not much than pride to play for where the bugger story is Napoli leading the table, 7 points ahead of the mighty Milan.

Espanyol – Our next opponents in Europe are 4th in La Liga, only 3 points from the top and into the quarter finals of the Copa Del Rey.

Also a quick mention for Stuart Pearce, the man I usurped from the Forest hot-seat took over the reins at Bradford City and got them promoted to Division 1 in his second season where they are now fighting against relegation.

See you next week as we enter the business end of our final season.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @Matt_C_Wills

1 thought on “Run Forest, Run – Part 10: Stuck in 2nd Gear

  1. Pingback: Run Forest, Run – Part 11 | CM 97/98

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