Matt Dennis Nottingham Forest Blog: Just like the game, Forest failed to deliver

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Forest slumped to their second straight defeat at the hands of their local rivals on Saturday and were forced to play out the final 45 minutes with 10 men following an ill disciplined challenge by Dexter Blackstock early in the second half. Chris Cohen marked his return for the 2012/13 campaign and was named in the starting eleven.

In the same week the club received a boost with the signing of Jermaine Jenas from Tottenham on a loan stint, Forest delivered a very disappointing performance in front of a near capacity home crowd failing to score against Derby at home for the first time in over 40 years.

The East Midlands derby was a typical emotionally charged encounter with both teams providing plenty of aggression in the opening quarter of the game.

The fans providing the atmosphere for a great contest but unfortunately this game never reached any dizzying heights.

It was marked by a huge foul count, several reckless challenges, poor tackling and few goalscoring chances from both sides. The football was uninspiring to say the least.

While there was no shortage of passion from Forest early on in the game, the Reds failed to build any real sustained pressure on an equally flat opposition.

The first half was a real war of attrition with referee Madley kept busy trying to keep a lid on emotions.

A couple of heated collisions from Jake Buxton and Dexter Blackstock early in the opening minutes provided the catalyst for a number of poorly timed challenges and physical exchanges from both teams with both Forest and Derby registering the game’s first yellow cards courtesy of Buxton and Andy Reid within the 25th minute.

County were the first team to settle into the game in the first half and look to play some football with Conor Sammon and Forest’s Simon Cox and Lewis McGugan the only players testing the keepers.

Forest failed to provide the energy or focus to get back into the game in the second half. The positive passing game and control so keenly pursued by Sean O’Driscoll was absent for most of the game and there was no real urgency to get forward in attack.

When Craig Bryson scored in the 55th minute, Derby closed up shop and were only tempted out of their defensive zone by the few counter attacking opportunities delivered from Forest mistakes.

The game may have ended more divisively had it not been for a late rush from Forest following the introduction of Billy Sharp in the 74th minute.

However, Forest never really established any real momentum in this one. Perhaps a worrying statistic for Sean O’Driscoll’s men will be the fact that after nine games they have only managed to keep one clean sheet.