Derby Day Positives

Well, we didn’t win and so Derby still have the Brian Clough trophy, and a certain amount of bragging rights because it has been 2 years since we beat them. But all that said there are more positives to take from this game.

After the shaky start to McLeish tenure, and when arguably the team was more in SoD’s guise than his own, we struggled, and to be fair, as much as I defend SoD, there were times we lacked steel and the team looked idealess. With McLeish there does seem to be a bit more a mindset that if Plan A doesn’t work, there has at least been a Plan B discussed. Under SoD there never seemed that idea.

So anyway, there are negatives of course as well, we did draw after all, so it’ can’t all be plain sailing. There is of course the fact Gillett got dispossessed by Sammon, and although many demonised Gillett for that error, which happens all the time all over the field, it resulted in a goal. It’s easy to blame Gillett, he plays that role that always seems vilified by Forest fans, and when he makes a mistake it usually results in an attack. What is to forget is the fact there was still a lot to happen to result in a goal, the way the defence stood off and allowed a fairly immobile back man to waltz through, and for Ward to get space and score. So there were other elements to blame, though maybe not directly.

One thing that greatly worried my friend was the use of Darlow in goal, maybe harking back to the days of Barry Roche. He was worried that should he make an error and generally concede a lot of goals that he would in turn see his fledgling confidence shot to pieces and generally destroy his Forest career before it really began. We needn’t have worried, and although yes he didn’t have lots to do, generally what he did have to do he got right, tipping shots over the bar and kicking well, for me its kicking where you can a lack of confidence in a keeper, slicing ball generally indicates he isn’t getting IT right. Darlow had no such worries. And now the Post this Morning carries a headline saying he could be the keeper for years.

On a personal front, and I always do enjoy the more unusual aspect was the ironic jeers you can hear on replays when Cohen misjudges his first shot and slices it. Those ironic jeers all the more funny as they are soon replaced by Forest fans cheering as Cohen tucks it away at the second time of asking. No more than a good stalwart like Cohen deserves, especially with the role this fixture has played in his recent career.

For me Lansbury was good too, showing why he was rated. I have said he needs a run of games in the team, and for me he can be a more mobile form of Reid. His passing is finding its range. He takes a better corner than Majewski, McGugan or any of the other the usual suspects. Bodes well for the ex-Arsenal man.

Another pleasing aspect was the complete anonymity of Will Hughes, the great white hope of Derby, the “albino” as a few have tagged him was largely a passenger in the team, not showing any sense in the rumours of a “dossier” held on him.

Jara continues to impress at right back, and that looks like an astute addition. So much for the moron element on Twitter decrying his signing with “who?” He has been a breath of fresh air at right back.

However all these positives, I was informed by some friends, who are Derby fans that there was unsavoury element, with Greg Halford apparently having spat towards Derby fans. I can’t comment on the element of truth, but will say they aren’t the people who usually lie. A shame if it was true.

But a game we could easily have won, whether it’s Cox shot being 2 inches lower. Sharps last kick of the game that went in (though I don’t hold any doubt that derby had stopped, ergo, potentially making it that it wouldn’t have gone in) More so in the fact we didn’t crumble when conceding, but buckled down and took control of the game again. Even making really attacking changes late on, McLeish noting the importance of wins against your nearest and dearest and going for the jugular which was pleasing, he knows from Rangers days that winning such a game can rally fans and players, and unify them into a run of games. Fair play to him for that.

Had we lost, there may have been unneeded focus on the sackings last week, or a general negative feeling around the club. A commendable draw changes that, and moves us on to a very tricky but winnable game against Watford. It will be a challenge; they are a good side, but then so are we. Game On!