Do you remember the first time?

22 Sep

Saturday 21st September 2013

Doncaster Rovers                            2.2          Nottingham Forest

(Macheda 2)                                                      (Cohen, Reid)

In many ways, life is defined by firsts: first kiss. First day at school. First pay packet. On Planet football, you have the all-important first game attended or if you happen to be one of the gifted few, debut for the first team.

Some payers have a knack of making their debuts just that little bit more memorable. Take Tony Loughlan: He made his debut for Forest against Wimbledon on 30 March 1991 and scored after just 36 seconds. However, he would make only one further league appearance before injury blighted his progress and was released at the end of the 1992–1993 season, before carving out a successful career as a coach serving under Roy Keane. Of course, there is also the unfortunate Jonathon Woodgate who not only scored an own goal for his new employers in the shape of Real Madrid, but also managed to get himself sent off.

And then there’s Federico Macheda. Remember him? He’s the dude who came off the bench to make his debut for Manchester United against Aston Villa and marked it by curling one into the net from the edge of the box in injury time to turn the game. The boy’s got form.

To be fair, this wasn’t quite his debut for the Rovers: it was his home debut though. In the red corner, a young Nathaniel Chalobah was making his debut for Forest after agreeing a loan spell from Chelsea after an eye-catching season long loan at Watford.

The Keepmoat is not one of our favourite grounds. Since it opened, we had only scored there once to claim a one all draw. I also remember a particularly cold afternoon spent watching a dull goalless draw and then enduring what seemed like an eternity to make the short distance to the M18 in crawling traffic. Happy days.

This didn’t deter around 4000 fans filling the away end in anticipation of a glorious debut for Chalobah. I think everyone forgot about the more experienced debut-maker Macheda. By all accounts, we had the better of the play and were denied a ‘stone-wall’ penalty. (But isn’t each and every single club denied a ‘stonewall’ penalty every game?) Once again, we had to go behind in order to rouse ourselves into life – this is becoming a worrying and exacting pattern over the last 3 games now. It’s a good job we have Reid and Cohen to dig ourselves out of our holes and perform admirably each week.

The end of the world? No. A disappointing run of results post international break? Yes. Pleased with the start to the season overall? Yes. Looking forward to the Derby game? Not really. Going to ask any more self-indulgent and annoying rhetorical questions? Guess not. Not anymore. Sorry.

That’s the thing about debuts; they only happen once. At least Macheda can’t do it again against us.


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