A 3-1 defeat at the hands of Nigel Clough’s Sheffield United ended Nottingham Forest’s unbeaten run, and their hopes of a quarter-final place in the FA Cup. Justin Heaton offers a fan’s eye view from Bramall Lane…
“Concentrating on the league” is what you are supposed to say at this point I believe. I’d been hesitant about writing another FA Cup report as my last one was the debacle against Oldham last season. I won’t be volunteering again anytime soon.
I’m writing this pretty raw on the way home, and without seeing any TV replays, so I apologise for any inaccuracies.
I know people will say that we sat back and invited them on, and got what we deserved and this has been coming, but on this occasion I’d say they are wrong. What I witnessed was a team that were a league above their hosts (which they are) in terms of ability and were in control of the game for the first hour.
This has been a familiar theme for away matches recently and we have had to withstand a barrage for the last 20 minutes or so. Not on this occasion though. Even after De Vries’ blunder gifted them an equaliser, Forest looked the team most likely to win. Three attacking substitutions again dispelled the ‘sitting back’ theory and with a bit of luck any of Reid, Paterson or Mackie’s shots could have found a way in.
Unfortunately, on this occasion, fate was against us and what seemed like a dubious penalty for handball, admittedly witnessed from 100 yards away, lost us the game. Six extra minutes still gave us a chance to rescue a draw but two minutes later the Blades somehow found some space down the left and a cross was prodded home. Game over.
I’ve not even mentioned another goal for Paterson and another assist for Reid, such details seem irrelevant at the moment but in those two we are always in with a shout in any game.
The result is doubly disappointing as we had a nice home quarter-final tie waiting and our best chance of Wembley for a long time. Having supported Forest for 35 years, the only constant is the FA Cup disappointment every year. But the cup has always been a bonus and the league is definitely the priority; and with the next two games against first and second, this week could define our season.
To be where we are with the crippling injury list we have is a testament to the manager, staff and players and when these injured players return the future looks rosy.
They say lightning doesn’t strike twice but it has with my Seat Pitch reports; I will stay clear for a while. On to the next game, keep the faith, good times are ahead with Fawaz at the helm. Things have certainly been a lot worse in the not too distant past.
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