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Monday, 31 January 2011

Obinha Hattrick puts Forest to the…Iron – West Ham United 3-2 Forest (FA Cup Fourth Round)


What with all the transfer window madness today, our report on yesterday's Forest-West Ham game has been delayed - so here it is.

A 5000 strong Forest away following made the trip to East London yesterday, in what can be considered one of the best FA Cup ties of the fourth round.

Pre-game, many West Ham fan didn’t seem to be too bothered by the tie, in fact most were hoping they’d lose so Grant would hopefully be pushed further to the exit – at least he hasn’t lost the board again eh?

Both sides made changes to their teams, resting key players and giving some of the reserve players a run out.

Forest’s changes included McGoldrick and Adebola linking up in place of Earnie and Tudgay, while Raddy and McKenna started in midfield in place of Tyson and Moussi.

The game itself couldn't have got off to a worse start. Freddie Sears came close early on with a shot that Morgan blocked, putting the ball out for a corner.

The resulting corner saw Forest bizarrely only mark opposition players inside their own box. The marking allowed West Ham to play the ball short to Noble, who hit an out-swinging, wayward shot at our goal – largly greeted with sarcastic cheers by Forest fans. Unbelievably this shot ended up providing an inch perfect ball into the path of Victor Obinha, who from 6 yards, volleyed the ball into the goal.

Cries of offside were heard in the away end but the first half highlights West Ham put on the big screen at half time, showed Gunter was Obinha well onside - a case of right place, right time.

When things like that happen early on, most can be forgiven for thinking;‘It’s gonna be one of them afternoons’.

Oddly, the early goal saw Forest jump into life. McGugan had three attempts at goal – all going wide and high - but the pressure was clearly getting to West Ham, at which point a Forest goal looked inevitable.

On 18 minutes, Raddy played a delicate through ball through for McGoldrick, who picked the ball up on the flank and cut it across for Dele Adebola. Adebola then poked it home right into Rob Green’s bottom right hand corner, presenting Dele with his first goal of the season.

The Forest dominance continued right through the half, and while Piquionne looked a bit nifty on the break, Forest continued to create glorious chances. Fortunately it all paid off in the end, when an Ilunga foul on Gunter, gave Forest the free kick that lead to the second goal.

An inswinging ball from Cohen was headed by Kovac at Green, who desperately palmed it up in the air to stop an own goal going in. The ball flew into the air and landed right onto David McGoldrick’s head who nodded the ball over the line from just over a yard out. It was one of them goals where you wonder is it in or not when sat in the opposite stands.

The goal got Forest fans into full song with ‘Que sera, sera, we’re going to Wembley’ ringing around the away end.

Sadly Victor Obinha cut our song short, when he sprinted into the space left by Lynch and lined up to put in a cross for Sears in the middle. Incredibly the ball ended up flying right over Lee Camp from 25 yards. There were questions of did he or didn’t he mean it? If you ask me it looked like a total fluke but, hey, good players always have that bit of luck on their side.

When the ref blew for half time, most reds fans were saying to each other what a cracking half of football that was. With news filtering through that Notts and Man City were drawing 0-0 in a ‘poor game’, most agreed ITV had put the wrong game on TV again – One day they’ll learn.

Second half, and Forest came out like a totally different team – they were almost playing like the team that lost to Leicester in November.

The momentum had tipped into West Ham's favour and their pressure rewarded them with a penalty after Lynch pushed over Reid. At the time, I didn’t think it looked a penalty until I saw the highlights later on that day, which saw Lynch basically hanging onto him.

Obinha stepped up to claim his hattrick with a cool penalty that sent Camp the wrong way and a celebration that would have put Earnshaw to shame.

Forest were beginning to get sloppy. McKenna was miss placing passes, Lynch was starting to drift into his favoured centre of defence instead of staying in the left back position and we were constantly passing the ball back to the goalkeeper.

West Ham was also being presented with some glorious chances forcing Camp into excellent saves that were sure to impress Fabio Capello sat in the crowd - it’s not too late to change your mind on giving the boy a call up!

Earnshaw, Tyson and McCleary were brought on to create something but to no avail and wild shots from the players towards the end, meant we weren’t going to grab a late equaliser to put ourselves in the hat for the fourth round draw.

In all honesty, I wasn’t too disappointed with the defeat. It was a great day out to a premiership team, we put up a good fight even without some of our best players and we can now focus on the league - don't you just love that cliché.

After all with the fixture pile up February is bringing, an FA Cup replay would have been the last thing we'd have wanted.

I also like these games as it gives us a chance to assess how we compare to Premiership teams at this moment in time - even if the circumstances and squad selection would be different.

Maybe in August, this match will be an all Premiership affair.

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