So young…and so close

23 Feb

Wednesday 19th February 2014

Nottingham Forest           2.2      Leicester City

(Paterson, Reid)                              (Vardy, Mahrez)

This was a game from which we were going to learn a lot about our credentials for automatic promotion. It actually told us more about Leicester City and their relentless march to the promotion.

When a team places faith in such young talent such as Lascelles, Darlow and Paterson, it should be accepted that they are liable to occasionally make mistakes. On such occasions, they should be encouraged and should walk off the pitch knowing that the crowd is fully behind them. Frankly, I am astounded that these lads have played so long and managed not to make more mistakes than they have. So, on the occasion of Darlow and to a lesser extent, Lascelles making a right old hash brown of a long punt from you’llneverbeatWesMorgan to allow Vardy to tap in, it was a smidge disappointing to hear the crowd conveniently forgetting the fact that these lads have been amongst our outstanding performers during the great injury crisis of 2014. Of course we were disappointed, frustrated and lots of other adjectives but to hear ironic cheers from the Trent End when Lascelles or Darlow found a Forest shirt with their passes from then on was, frankly, a little…well…disappointing.

We football fans are very quick the nail the blame on individuals and find a scapegoat when things go against our teams, as exemplified in the individual marks out of 10 awarded after international games in the national papers. There’s nothing wrong per se with the whole marks out of 10 concept but it often seems to me to confirm an agenda to name and shame the weakest performer and hound then out like a nasty episode of Big Brother. Mistakes happen and as long as they are infrequent then we should all move on.

Anyway, the reaction was fantastic especially as Leicester were looking dangerous whenever they came forward. Paterson somehow nodded in to the top corner from the edge of the box and Mackie robbed Morgan as he was caught wishing he was top of the table in a red shirt. Penalty awarded and Reid converted. It would have been harsh to send Morgan off even though technically he was the last man.

Coming back from one down against a particularly stingy team who rarely fail to win after going ahead was not in the script. Collins and Radi were doing good jobs and we looked dangerous on the break. Yay.

And then strange things happened.

Terry the kitman had a quiet word the shell-like of a chap on the sidelines. He subsequently had a chat in the shell-like of all of the ball boys. Answers on a postcard, please. Also, young Kasper Schmeichel impressed me with his reaction to Wasilewski and Mackie almost coming to blows. Schmeichel intervened by encouraging both men to calm down equally rather than focusing on winding the opposition player up more in order to get a reaction. Fair play to him. Furthermore, we didn’t sit back on our lead. We counter attacked superbly well with runners from midfield coming from all directions when the opportunity arose.

And then it happened: the worst possible thing that could happen. A sending off. No, not one of ours but one of theirs. And we all know how good Little Billy’s teams are when playing against 10 men….

Leicester kept the ball well and went for it. Paterson went within spitting distance of a man in blue and he went over in the box. On first view, it looked like a penalty to me as Paterson challenged clumsily from behind; a striker’s naïve challenge. Seeing it since, it looked soft but after sending off Konchesky, the referee needed little encouragement to award a penalty and a challenge from behind in the box was like flying a big red flag with ‘PENALTY’ written in bold, italicised and highlighted. Darlow did well to save the penalty but we were sluggish on the rebound. All square. Grrr.

Equalising with 10 men from a penalty rebound in the last 10 minutes is what promotion winning teams do away from home; to be honest, it’s what champions do. However, we gave them a right old scare with a patched up and exhausted team. Well done us.

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