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Watford 1 Nottingham Forest 1 (06/11/2010) 07/11/2010

Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.

Five thunks from a home draw with Forest

1- From the moment that one regular BHaPPY correspondent suggested that he’d be happy with a draw, the outcome here seemed somewhat inevitable. McGugan’s screamer had a touch of finality about it, relatively early in the exchanges as it was; it did feel as if that would be it, and so it transpired. The second half wasn’t without chances and was never dull, but became increasingly congested and scrappy. It does rather seem as if we always draw 1-1 with Forest, although it appears that this hasn’t happened at all since 2003. Must confess that, much as a draw “stops the rot” after a couple of defeats, I kinda felt that we needed to win this. Any disappointment must be tempered by comparison of the squads in question, as betrayed by the respective benches… 160-odd league starts on our bench, 900-odd on Forest’s (not countng Moussi and Majewski’s pre-UK appearances). This whole season needs to be viewed in context which includes, as Malky’s programme notes highlighted, the fact that we’ve been the younger side on the pitch in every game thus far.

2- Full marks for the back four. Mariappa and Martin Taylor look absolutely sorted as a central pairing, complementing each other well with Mariappa increasingly the leader at the back. Andrew Taylor was bang back in form today after being exposed in a difficult afternoon at Derby, and Lloyd did his thing as ever. Forest were decent in possession but foundered on a solid defensive display. We’ve not looked as secure for a while.

3- The decision to start with Troy Deeney was only a surprise, if at all, for as long as it took for Jordon Mutch to give us the lead on three minutes. Whilst Camp looks thoroughly competent, the defence in front of him was a shambles every time a high ball came into the box. That we didn’t capitalise was down in part to simply not getting quality in often enough, down in part to luck, and down in part to some rather tolerant refereeing that saw Deeney wrestled away from the ball more than once and the safe option of penalising the striker adopted at both ends. Deeney’s card was marked by a number around us from the kick off, but for me he did a decent job of holding the ball up, linking the play and receiving the ball with his back to goal. Clearly an asset.

4-We knew that we’d suffer through the absence of any of a number of key players, but our midfield is crying out for the return of the industry and delivery of Don Cowie, whose injury has knocked the whole thing out of kilter. Michael Bryan’s ineffectiveness again was a part of this, but McGinn put a good shift in without ever looking totally comfortable out wide, and Mutch’s contribution was limited. One plus was a lively cameo from Matt Whichelow, who we might expect to see on the bench increasingly frequently, but one wonders what the score is with Will Buckley; in the circumstances, already missing a senior wide player, the failure to employ Buckley is strange… if Mackay doesn’t want to play him, and these are his judgments to make, then one wonders why he’s taking up a place on the bench.

5- Billy Davies. Eurgh.


1. NickB - 07/11/2010

Re thunk 5 – listened open mouthed to Davies’ 7 minute whinge to Radio Notts about lack of investment from his board.

What an odious little creep he truly is. The sack awaits.

Really enjoyable first half, very well reffed. Second a lot scrappier and not quite so.

2. StevieT - 07/11/2010

I was quite happy with a draw – I’d have taken that before the game. Forest always look like they have goals in them but somehow flatter to deceive. I don’t remember Earnshaw doing anything of note and the respective entrances of Tyson and Adebola just seemed to reinforce that they were getting more desperate.

As for us, I thought A Taylor was great and that everyone else put in a solid shift without being spectacular. I’ve seem it mentioned elsewhere that it would be interesting to see if Taylor can do a job in McGinn’s position with either Doyley or Hodson coming into left back.

Re Deeney, I thought it was a good showing. He probably needed the start and Malky may have been saving Sordell for Palace on Tuesday.

3. Tim Turner - 07/11/2010

Not sure I agree with thunk 2: Mariappa looked unusually jittery yesterday, I thought. Every time Forest launched a long ball into the no man’s land between him and Loach’s area, we looked in danger. Loach might as well be mute, for all the guidance he gives his defenders in these situations, and in the absence of any instructions, Mariappa made some very poor ‘clearances’, one of which looked for a heart-stopping moment as if it was going to loop over Loach and into the net.

Incidentally, McGugan’s goal might have been worth a thunk all of its own: I don’t remember seeing a better long-range shot at the Vic in years. If he can do that with any regularity, he presumably won’t be sticking around in the Championship for long.

4. Dave Jackson - 07/11/2010

This whole Buckley thing is indeed a mystery and has been all season. Thinking back to how often he was subbed after about an hour, even when playing well, and comparing this to how McGinn was kept on for so long yesterday while producing so little…seems hard to explain away…I guess we all have our favourites, but I really feel sorry for the boy.
Great cameo by Marvin, maybe a few more minutes from him at Palace??

5. Dave Hart - 07/11/2010

Can’t really disagree with any of your thunks Matt. I did notice when Bryan ran out in the second half that he had those blue support plaster things on both of this thighs. Whether he had them in the first half, I don’t know, but it would suggest a reason for his performance yesterday.

With the exception of scoring, I though Mutch was quite poor. A typical young player, his performances vary to extremes. Let’s hope his game continues to develop and we get to benefit from a clearly talented player, hopefully extended for the whole season.

I thought Deeney looked knackered with about 20 minutes to go, and should probably have been subbed sooner. A fully fit Deeney could be a very useful asset.

Buckley has been described by Malky as being out of form, although their are rumours of a falling out after the Portsmouth game.

6. duds - 07/11/2010

Another enjoyable game taking into account where we thought we might be at this stage of the season.

Didn’t really test their keeper much though – need some shooting practice for the edge of the box type of shot – none seemed to be on target

And fully agree on Mariappa and Taylor – building a very good partnership

7. Vaughan Smith - 07/11/2010

I thought Wes Morgan was absolutely immense for Forest all afternoon. He had Deeney in his pocket from the first minute to the last, and made him look distinctly average. The only time he looked under any pressure was when Sordell came on for stoppage time and injected some much needed pace up front. 10 minutes earlier and who knows…still, I’ll settle for a point against Forest most days, especially when they allow Mutch to score first at 20-1!

8. DM - 08/11/2010

Forest’s goal.. Great strike and all that, but Loach’s initial positioning before the shot was poor, not for the first time this season. Had he been in the right place he may not have stopped it, but yet more evidence that for all his potential his performance level is going backwards this season. I don’t think the England thing has done us any favours,

9. Jamie Parkins - 08/11/2010

I thought Mutch was our best player on Saturday, certainly in the first half when we played, collectively our best football.

The waste from Saturday was how little play went down the right hand flank, especially in the second half. We were effectively carrying Bryan as a result, because he contributed nothing, nor was really given the chance to. A missed opportunity.

Matt Rowson - 08/11/2010

Have to disagree on both counts. Mutch was in and out for me, and the back four all outperformed him.

re. attacking down the right… it’s extremely generous to suggest that Bryan wasn’t involved because we weren’t getting him enough of the ball. Part of that is him getting in positions to receive it and stretch the play, part of it is producing something when he’s got it, which he again failed to do. I sound as if I’m on a mission to knock him… he’s got something, will hopefully get stronger, and as DM suggested pre match he’s a useful impact sub at this stage. But no more than that, not yet. Four starts on the hop without contributing an awful lot hardly makes Saturday a “missed opportunity”.

10. Harefield Hornet - 08/11/2010

An absorbing encounter between two fairly evenly matched teams – which is a big compliment to our management when you consider how much Forest have invested in their squad. A little bit more luck in front of goal in the first half would have seen us 3-1 at HT and I had to laugh at the suggestion above that Scott was at fault with their goal – sometimes you just have admire a bit of quality. Having said that I agree with most of the comments above about team selection. Bryan is simply not ready yet and I don’t know what Buckley has done or said but it must have been pretty bad!

11. Old Git - 08/11/2010

Baffled at the lack of positive substitutions. When Deeney ran out of gas it seemed the obvious thing was to bring on Sordell…but not at the same time that the fourth official was holding up his little board indicating stoppage time.
And we keep conceding from ‘great strikes’. Why? I’ve lost count of how many this season. As McGugan came forward there were four yellow shirts all backing off…can they not be told that opponents are, in fact, allowed to shoot from distance? If one of those four had gone towards him, he couldn’t have got the shot in.

And…who is Mr Billy Black and why were we told he had ‘left the stadium’ at half time?

12. Rookery Mike - 08/11/2010

I’ll say here what I said on twitter after the game. If Billy Davies is ever at Watford as anything other than a visting manager, then football and I will be through.

13. Simmo - 08/11/2010

An enjoyable game all round but very frustrating and I put these out as my five short thunks
1. When will we be awarded a penalty at the Vic – the last one was in December 2008
2. When will we score again at the Rookery End – the only goal this season was Eustace against Coventry
3. When will we score a winning goal in the last 5 minutes of a game
4. When will Loach make the correct call about coming for a ball or leaving it for his defenders
5. When will Danny next score because we cannot afford another barren spell like last season. (no criticism of his work rate and his contribution but he is our main striker).

14. Jon P - 08/11/2010

Before the game I as getting ready to defend Bryan on this site as I felt he’s had a bit of a rough press on here. However, that became impossible after Saturday. Sadly he seems to have gone backwards. He got plenty of the ball and when, on so many occasions, it called for a first time cross he just held onto the ball and tried to take people on. All very frustrating. Onto Will Buckley. Is he becoming an example of “Hoskins Law of Increased Reputation”? This states that, when the team isn’t winning, a players reputation is inversely proportional to the amount of time he spends on the pitch! Last season he looked a good prospect. This season he’s flattered to deceive on the occasions I’ve seen him. This ended with a miserable half at Pompey. Love to see him back at his best, but I’m getting concerned. Finally, I thought Deeney was excellent and I hope he gets a run in the team. I want to see all three strikers out to convince MM as to why they should be picked ahead of the other two.

15. Dave Jackson - 10/11/2010

Good point about the backing off, Old Git, as those of us unfortunate enough to see us surrender at Palace last night witnessed again.
As for the keeper, it’s hard to know what to suggest, but how about claiming the ball in and around the six yard box? Their winner was also a defensive disaster the way their man was allowed to pull the ball back from an impossible position.
Jon P raises the Buckley enigma again. He didn’t do too well when he was brought on. Trying to do too much to prove himself, perhaps? Or maybe just rusty after so little game time? Or maybe a player that started the season well, yet was constantly subbed, and has had his confidence eroded?

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