Friday, 25 November 2016

Barnsley 2 v Nottingham Forest 5 - EFL Championship

Friday 25th November 2016
SkyBet EFL Championship
at Oakwell, Barnsley
Barnsley (2) 2
Sam Winnall 5, Marley Watkins 14
Nottingham Forest (3) 5
Henri Lansbury 13, 45+, 82 pen
Apostolos Vellios 24, Ben Osborn 63
Admission £10. Programme £3. Attendance 13,180
Photos courtesy of Dan Westwell, thanks pal!
Davies, Bree, Roberts, Jackson, Yiadom, Hammill, Hourihane (C), Scowen, Watkins, Winnall, Armstrong
Subs - Kent MacDonald, Morsy, Janko, Bradshaw, Williams
Nottingham Forest:
Stojkovic, Mills, Perquis, Worrall, Mancienne, Kasami, Lansbury (C), Lam, Fox, Osborn, Vellios.
Subs -  Henderson, Bendtner, Carayol, Lica, Vaughan, Grant, Cash
I hadn't planned to go to Oakwell tonight, in fact I had every intention of cranking up the heating and slobbing out on my big comfy corner settee, with my Peaky Blinders box set. But then the phone rang, it was Carl, a Forest fan from Gainsborough I know: "If you can be ready in fifteen minutes I have a spare ticket for tonight's match against Forest and I'll pick you up".
Well it would be rude not to, so I quickly chucked on as many layers of clothing as possible and we were on our way.
The spare in question was a £10 ticket, sat with the locals, near the press area, while the visiting supporters, were being charged full price of £28 to sit in their allocated end.
I am a neutral and Carl isn't the sort of person to draw attention to himself, so there shouldn't have been a problem sitting among the home supporters.
A combination of unfair pricing and cold November night game live on TV, meant that less than the expected amount of fans travelled up the M1 from Nottingham, but those who did make the trip were in fine voice and were soon regaling the home fans with songs about being on the dole, pre-empting the inevitable response from the Yorkshire hordes about a battle of egos between Margaret Thatcher and Arthur Scargill, that the coal mining industry and the communities that it encompassed will never recover from.
Apparently the Forest fans didn't require taxis to get home.
At least I think they were saying "Don't call us cabs!"
The game soon burst into life as both sides committed defensive suicide while netting two goals apiece in the opening twenty four minutes.
Barnsley's full back James Bree, making his fiftieth appearance for the Oakwell side, made an overlapping run down the wing, taking the ball from Marley Watkins and delivered a cross for Sam Winnall, who powered home a header after just six minutes to give the home side an early lead.
But Forest were on level terms before long when Henri Lansbury found the back of the net from a twenty five yards, with a low drive that skimmed along the wet pitch and settled in the bottom right hand corner of the goal with Adam Davies at full stretch, after he'd rolled an indirect free kick forward a few feet to Kasami, who steadied the ball for Lansbury to unleash his unstoppable, precision finish.
But the Tykes were back in front within a minute when Watkins took full advantage of the visitors back four playing a game of statues between themselves and took the ball down on his chest before planting it past Vladimir Stojkovic from ten yards out, after Bree, Conor Hourihane and Adam Hammill had combined on the right, before the highly rated Hourihane delivered a cross over the static visitors defence for Watkins to run on to, while the Forest players looked across vaingloriously at the linesman, hoping that he might put them out of their misery by raising his flag for offside, but Watkins had time his movement to perfection.
Apostolos Vellios scrambled the ball past Davies at the near post, after Forest's left back Danny Fox had exchanged passes with Osborn and dropped a cross into the Tykes six yard box that only needed a touch.
Wow! At this rate the game was going to end up six or seven apiece, with the combination of two elements warming the crowd on a bitterly cold night: text book crossing of the ball and slapstick comedy defending.
Right on the stroke of half time, the visitors were in front from yet another quality wide delivery, this time from Osborn, which was well met by Lansbury, who got across Andy Yiadom, stooped and glanced a well placed header that dipped over Marc Roberts and past Davies to net the visitors third goal of the night.
HT: Tykes 2 v Forest 3
This is only the second time I have watched Philippe Montanier's Forest side play this season, having previously seen them at the City Ground against Birmingham City.
As we stood queuing for a warm drink at half time, "How much!? It's a tea bag and some hot water!", Carl turned to me and said: "You'll have to come and watch Forest with me often, we always play well when you're here!"
Thankfully, most of the Barnsley public stood around us had gone into a catatonic stupor, brought on by the shock of seeing the food and drink prices and didn't hear Carl's risque faux pas.
The second half was nowhere near as hectic as the first, possibly because both defences had been given a dressing down and reminder of what playing in their chosen position actually entails during the interval.
Forest had a let off when Winnall diverted a free header wide of the left hand post, from Watkins cross.
But just after the hour mark, Osborn, the architect of much of what was good about the visitors performance tonight, glanced a header from Michael Mancienne's right wing cross, after Velios had won the ball in the middle of the pitch and sprayed it out wide.
Forest have only just won their only away game of the season, a two nil victory at Ipswich Town on Saturday, with Britt Assombalonga, who wasn't even available tonight, scoring twice, but even though they showed a lot of vulnerability at the back tonight, they were now well on the way to another three points on the road, that would see them leapfrog over Barnsley in the table into sixteenth place. While the Tykes resigned themselves to a seventh consecutive home game without a win.
The home side's frustrations were clear to see when Watkins was shown a straight red card in the sixty sixth for standing on Thomas Lam, on the halfway line.
With eight minutes to go, Forest's second half substitute, Matty Cash, was running away from the Barnsley goal, when he went down under a shoulder charge yfrom Josh Scowan, who had blatantly collided with him on purpose, just inside the home side's penalty area.
It was a completely unnecessary challenge and yet another incident that outlined the Tykes obvious disappointment; but that was of no concern to Lansbury, who emphatically put the ball away from the resulting spot kick, before celebrating in front of the travelling supporters.
Forest were home and dry, Barnsley were down and out and the visiting fans sang their heroes across the finishing line. Game over.
FT: Barnsley 2 v Nottingham Forest 5