A little over a year ago we played Birmingham City at the City Ground, and after being the better team we conceded goals in the second half that lead to us losing. I missed the game as I was off being a Best Man at a wedding instead.
A year on and again we played Birmingham, but with a new board, new players, new manager and most importantly, a new found belief. What a difference a year makes.
Whereas in this situation last year the heads would drop immediately and we would capitulate completely, this year, we rally, we regroup, and we try to get back in the game. Well, probably, we have limited experience in this art in the new regime.
Lining up in the familiar 4-1-3-2 formation, but with Sharp in for Cox, who had done well to recover enough to be among the subs. Halford remained left back, with Hutchinson down the right, and Ayala and Collins in the middle. Gillette once again holding, with McGugan, Reid and Guedioura given license to get forward. Sharp and Blackstock up top.
The second half was about the goals. The goals conceded, and how it forced Forest to change their team up which enabled the goals. The goals we did concede were classic Forest. It may be a regime but we still seem to struggle to deal with the ball when it’s bouncing round the area. Indeed it was bouncing round after Birmingham’s attack, and a word on Birmingham in the second half, the introduction of Redmond on the right wing completely changed the game. It gave them a potent threat which to their credit they utilised. Hayden Mullins eventually lashed home the first after a scramble. The second shortly after was all about Redmond down the right side, cut across and King finished low into the corner with aplomb.
And so it looked all lost. At this stage in the last seasons this game was over, but not this with this team. We shuffled the ranks, and cut to a back 3 and pushed the full backs on to play more into midfield, and it worked. Guedioura was removed and to be fair that’s the worst game I have seen him play in the Garibaldi.
The first goal, well we must have all seen it, glorious at it was. McGugan lofting the ball forward, and then Cox producing some sublime skill and finishing. He controlled the balls flight and then flicked it over the keeper within a moment. Almost one movement, it wasn't allowed to hit the floor. Wonderful.
And then we were after them trying to win. The equaliser was all about the cross coming over, passing everyone, and Harding coming in unmarked at the back and firing it into the goal via a deflection. It was no more than we deserved. And indeed Sharp could have won it late on which would have been the most incredible of endings.
All told it could have been so negative, but no, Forest pulled it out the bag and shown a grit and steel we lacked last season.
Cox changed it all coming on, but the shuffle of formation was so vital. The fact we looked close to defeat and still got something out of this is a very good sign of this team not dropping heads and the good spirit in the squad
Onwards and upwards.