After three home wins on the bounce, Forest were faced with two bogey sides in just four days.
First up was a Friday night trip to Molineux, where we’ve only won twice in the last ten visits. Although, they were actually the previous two. Our record at Ewood Park was exactly the same, just two wins in the last ten outings.
Forest began the Wolves game brightly and the confidence from their last two matches was evident. Despite having all the early possession we fell behind to a sloppy set piece. Mendes committed a needless foul and from the resulting free kick Wolves took the lead with their very first effort on goal. Ethan Ebanks-Landell gave O’Grady the slip and headed home with ease.
I was impressed at the way Forest passed their way out of defence as they continued to dominate the half. Oliveira produced a great run and cross but O’Grady’s goal was correctly ruled out for offside. Chances were few and far between despite the away side’s dominance.
The player that stood out for me was Ben Osborn, he seems to have gained rather than lost pace, since his return from injury. He had a lot of success on the left flank and delivered some teasing balls into the box.
The evergreen Adam LeFondre forced De Fries into action but the Forest keeper was equal to his effort towards half time.
The second half was a more even contest, Le Fondre and Ebanks-Landell came close for Wolves whilst Forest’s mere half chances fell to Osborn and Ward (when on as a sub). Dougie Freedman rang the changes, replacing O’Grady, Osborn and Mendes with Ward, Williams and Blackstock.
It was Blackstock who salvaged a draw for us, he volleyed home from Lansbury’s 80 minute corner. All square with little sparkle, a fair result it has to be said.
As for the Blackburn match, Freedman changed the formation and the personnel in a big way. Starting with Blackstock as a lone forward.
Needless to say it didn’t work, despite Jamie Ward’s early effort we were battered by the home side. Paul Lambert’s men came closest when Ben Marshall hit the bar, his instinctive effort took a deflection from Lichaj on route. Markus Olsson had created the chance with a fantastic run and on the opposite wing Conway was equally effective for Rovers.
Having survived the onslaught Forest looked by far the better side in the second period, Osborn was again lively and Ward had his marker on the back foot. It wasn’t quite working for Robert Tesche, he never seemed to get into the game though.
The game changed for the better when we reverted to two up front, Oliveira replaced Williams and gave us another outlet. Forest continued to play their way up the park and looked in control, although Rovers continued to cancel them out in the final third.
O’Grady came on for the last few minutes and we almost won it soon after. Remarkably, from our very first corner of the game too. Mills headed Lansbury’s in swinger towards goal but it was brilliantly saved, Jason Steele acrobatically tipped to ball onto the post to earn his side a point.
Defences were certainly on top in this affair and one man in particular was outstanding. Michael Mancienne had man marked Jordan Rhodes as well as I’ve ever seen. If you give Rhodes an inch he’ll punish you; the Forest man didn’t give him a millimetre!
On the face of it; two half decent points away from home. However, only two decent 45s in the whole 180 minutes. Tactically it proves that we are always better with two up front regardless of the opposition.
Next up are Milton Keynes; the home of concrete cows and a big plastic football club!