Knowing where to begin assessing Nottingham Forest’s 1-1 draw with Birmingham City is a tricky one.
I know where I, like many other supporters who witnessed the drab draw, should begin, but I refuse to be the sort of person who pulls a referee to pieces to make up for a somewhat disappointing performance.
If we can nip the match official in the bud straight away all I will say is that referee Mark Brown did his level best to ensure it was a terrible game of Championship football, on a night that should have offered so much more having looked at the tie on paper.
I will instead leave you with a quote from BBC Radio Nottingham summariser Steve Hodge, who following last night’s game said of the referee: “He was one of the worst I have EVER seen tonight.”
For a bloke who has been around professional football as long as the 53-year-old to come out with that damning verdict, I really don’t need to keep going on about his performance.
Anyway, onto Forest and the number of 1-1 draws the team have had of late is something of a concern to be totally honest.
Whilst we have now gone 10 games unbeaten in the Championship, you could look back at all of the last five games and say that we have dropped 10 points, if we were to be brutally honest.
That said, I went into this season as a devout red with little in the way of an expectation level, and it you had asked me three months ago whether this group of players was capable of going three games unbeaten, I would have said you were barking mad, never mind ten.
One detriment I will lay firmly in the lap of boss Dougie Freedman is his inability to see when a game needs a positive change.
With Nelson Oliveira and Ryan Mendes looking increasingly frustrated both with their own performances and certain match official, why Freedman waited until the 70th minute to bring them off is baffling.
Indeed Oliveira nearly walked for an early shower on the hour mark. Having already been booked, Oliveira challenged Blues defender Paul Caddis for a routine header. One can only assume that Oliveira went all Conor McGregor on the Blues defender given his reaction to the challenge. The referee walked over to the Portuguese forward and looked to reach for his yellow card, before bizarrely changing his mind upon realising that he had already been cautioned – I have mentioned that the referee ruined the game right?
Last night’s game was crying out for Jamie Ward, who was sat on the substitute’s bench for all but the last 20 minutes of the contest. Ben Osborn spent the whole game out on the left wing and as much as I wax lyrical about how good a footballer Osborn is, he simply doesn’t do it for me out on the wing.
A game that was nasty with a bit of needle needed the ex-Derby man to enter the fray and ruffle a few feathers, not only that but he has the ability to trouble a full-back too.
Ward and Oliver Burke were two of Forest’s standout performers during Saturday’s FA Cup win over Queens Park Rangers yet both player peripheral parts last night and that, for me, is a real shame.
Whilst I think the Forest boss has done a lot of things good for the club, the time has come for him to unleash the shackles from his side and let them go back to playing fluid, attacking football that creates chance after chance
One positive could in hindsight be the dismissal of David Vaughan last night. The Wales international will now miss the next three games – presuming the club don’t appeal of course – and it could give Freedman the opportunity to get Osborn back in the middle of the park and utilise someone more natural out in the wide