That damp and lonely Thursday, years ago

31 Jan

Thursday 30th January 2014

Nottingham Forest         4.2          Watford

(Cox 2, Henderson, Mackie)           (Angella, 2)                             

Hands up who remembers the last time we played on a Thursday?

Happy to be corrected but I distinctly recall a young Jenas bamboozling a bunch of Bradford City defenders before nuzzling the ball home on a Thursday evening back in the halcyon unusual mediocre regrettable days of ITV digital. So Thursday evening with the mist very much rolling in from the Trent had a nice feel about it.

And then the team sheet was revealed.

I like Halford. He’s game, willing and can head a ball well (I didn’t say anything about getting it on target from  4 yards out, just that he can head it well). But I thought we were over the ‘Halford’ experiment. I thought that dalliance was over and that we’d wished each other well, expressed how much we enjoyed it but faced up to the fact that it was time to move on. Not so it seems.

The first half saw the crowd quieter than a secondary school library with murmuring discontent at the fact that we hadn’t scored 4 after 32 minutes. Halford missed, Angella scored, you saw it all for yourself from the stands or on the gogglebox.

The second half was going to be a big half for Little Billy. He was big enough to admit his mistake in starting with Halford but he soon rectified this. Fail to turn it around and he would have to face up to the fact that with 4 strikers on the bench coupled with his preferred option of a defender up top probably lost the game. I have it on sound authority that football fans have been known to be a fickle bunch. Apparently. Even after 11 games unbeaten.

And then we had a McGugan moment. I don’t mean a magic free kick but again, I ask you to cast your minds back to a cold night back in January 2008 when we were one goal down and a man down at home against Huddersfield Town. The charge for promotion was not just on the rails but nailed and glued using Solvite to the side bars. And then Cohen scored a somewhat fortunate goal (Cohen. Don’t you miss him? I know I do. Sigh) and then McGugan turned a Terriers defender inside out, left ways and right and put our promotion bid back on track.

A turning point.

A man whose name temporarily escapes me once said that football is a simple game. He was right, you know. Play strikers up front, give them good service and the chances are that you will more than likely score goals. If that sounds like a dig at Little Billy, it’s not meant to be and his identification of the Watford defence being vulnerable to crosses was spot on. So was ours too to be fair though.

Gonzo posted outstanding pass rate stats, Reid weaved his magic left foot, Harding galloped up and down the wing and Moussi was immense. Coming back from 2 down doesn’t happen very often but by my count, this is the 3rd time we’ve done this at home this season: once to draw against Middlesbrough, another only to lose against Reading and then this…to win.

There were lots of little moments that gave me hope too: Mackie’s celebration with the boss and the entire team, Moussi deciding not to hide after a torrid first half and revealing a previously well- hidden attacking side to his game and all three strikers putting the small round thing in the big net thing. And all this without Vaughan, Lansbury, Hobbs, Cohen and Wilson. Blimey.

This damp Thursday night might well be one to remember come May time.

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