On what felt like the longest away game of the year for Nottingham Forest fans, the Reds’ defence went all the way to achieve their second draw in three games to move off the bottom of the league. It must be said that Forest only achieved a point, but the prevailing mood from the away end was positive. Dom Allin discusses.
After conceding sixteen (yes, you read that right, 16) goals in four games and a five-game losing streak, two draws in three matches feels like an improvement only Steve Cooper could achieve. Forest’s minute possession and lack of shots in the game will certainly remind the travelling fans that this was in no way a victory, but it gives the first glimmer of hope for quite some time.
Forest, for the third game running, maintained their back four setup. This has notably made the backline less congested, resulting in a clearer designation of roles between centre backs Cook and McKenna.
The midfield certainly saw a resurgence of structure with the selection of Mangala over Kouyaté and the reduction of out-and-out strikers as Lingard came in for Dennis. Lingard was once again unremarkable with the ball, however his leadership and organisational skills were noticeable watching from pitchside.
In a similar way, Brennan Johnson to the outside viewer failed to impact the game, but his attitude and effort felt to those at the match like a gear change. He constantly pressured Seagulls keeper Sanchez and chased every single ball possible, even to the detriment of his own hamstrings!
Similar to the meteor that made the dinosaurs extinct, the Premier League has attempted to eradicate the tough guy of football
No man or woman in football can ever display more effort than Ryan Yates showed in Tuesday’s game, as Yates took every type of abuse from the Brighton players – bad challenges, boots to the face, and throwing himself in front of every ball. Similar to the meteor that made the dinosaurs extinct, the Premier League has attempted to eradicate the tough guy of football, but Ryan Yates has taken the topflight by the scruff of the neck.
Without Yates, Forest could be in all sorts of trouble: he is the spirit and safety mechanism for the Reds this season. I must give my man of the match to Dean Henderson, though. His prowess between the sticks was truly sensational to watch. The England shot stopper was, in my opinion, playing himself out of the World Cup squad with recent performances, but Tuesday’s acrobatics might just have kept his name on the list.
Brighton looked solid, though I must confess to not knowing all that much about De Zerbi, Brighton’s new manager. However, his presence was hardly felt throughout the game. Lewis Dunk, conversely, is clearly the beating heart of the Brighton side, a wall to get past and the starting point for all offensive plays. Danny Welbeck surprised me greatly in his link up play but was denied a simple goal by Henderson’s lofted arm. Welbeck has only one assist this year and no goals, but evidently he can be an important cog for the south coast side.
Whilst this 0-0 draw seems unremarkable to the fans of clubs far bigger than us, for Forest supporters – after 23 years of seeing away days in Yeovil, Cheltenham and Plymouth – this is a step in the right direction with the result on the pitch.
Off the pitch (only by a few metres), though, a note about the Amex Stadium. Never have I been to a worse-placed stadium. Leaving the Amex made exiting Wembley a sweet childhood memory. Poor trains with hour-long queues, minimal bus service, a lack of parking… not to mention that the stadium was an hour and a half walk away from the City Centre.
It was a nightmare getting back from the ground! The stadium could barely keep any atmosphere in anyway, whilst not quite a ‘Ikea Flat Pack’ stadium like Leicester City or Reading, the Amex is a soulless place to watch football.
Does the Premier League actually care about travelling fans?
Whilst I’m still on this soapbox, I will make another point… why on earth are the Premier League playing Forest’s longest away game of 304 miles on a Tuesday night in term time. Off the top of my head Brighton have nine clubs in a two-hour travelling radius on the South Coast and London! Does the Premier League actually care about travelling fans?
Featured image courtesy of Dom Allin. Permission given to Impact to use. No changes were made to this image.
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