Sunday, 7 May 2017

Nottingham Forest 3 v Ipswich Town 0 - EFL Championship

Welcome to Nottinghamshire Bulgarian Forest Fans
Добре дошли в Нотингамшир, поддръжници на българските гори
Dobre doshli v Notingamshir, poddrŭzhnitsi na bŭlgarskite gori
Sunday 7th May 2017
EFL Championship
at the City Ground
Nottingham Forest (1) 3
Britt Assombalonga 43 pen, 69
Chris Cohen 57
Ipswich Town (0) 0
Admission £26. Programme £3.
Attendance 28,249
Flickr photo gallery: CLICK HERE
Nottingham Forest:
Jordan Smith, Matt Mills, Joe Worrall,  Michael Mancienne, Eric Lichaj, Mustapha Carayol, Chris Cohen, Ben Osborn, David Vaughan, Jamie Ward, Britt Assombalonga
Matthew Cash, Aaron Tshibola, Ben Brereton, Apostolos Vellios, Zach Clough, Dimitar Evtimov, Thomas, Lam
Ipswich Town:
Bartosz Bialkowski, Myles Kenlock, Luke Chambers, Jordan Spence, Christophe Berra, Grant Ward, Emyr Huws, Cole Skuse, Danny M. Rowe, Dominic Samuel, Freddie Sears
Adam Webster, Kieffer Moore, Brett Pitman, Joshua Emmanuel, Andre Dozell, Flynn Downes, Dean Gerken.
Everywhere you turn at the City Ground... and I do mean, quite literally everywhere, you can't help but trip over references to the club's more glorious past.
It is only right and good that the club celebrate the legacy of their greatest ever era, when the remarkable management duo of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor, took over an unfashionable second tier club and turned them into the Champions of Europe (twice).
But status wise, the Forest fan base must all be painfully aware of the fact that those halcyon days will never return and that the only way that they are ever likely to get two more stars to wear on their shirt, is to get a job in McDonald's and show due diligence to performing food preparation duties to a high standard, while demonstrating excellent communication skills and an understanding of the health and safety criteria regarding hygiene in the work place.
As things stand, Forest aren't so much a sleeping giant, as a comatose dinosaur.
Today they almost slipped into the third tier of English football, but held onto their league standing by virtue of a very slender goal difference.
Forgive me for using a Rupert Murdochism at this juncture, but piss poor higher management at boardroom level, has pushed the 'Tricky Trees', along with Birmingham City and Blackburn Rovers, into a corner where they needed to slug it out in a three way battle this afternoon on 'Survival Sunday', to preserve their respective places in the Football League Championship.
For the sake of the Forest faithful, fingers crossed, that their imminent takeover goes as smoothly as it is anticipated. 
By the same token, one can only hope and prey that those who recently took over at Birmingham have seen the error of their ways and having got over their teething problems this season, will get things right next term (you may say I'm a dreamer... but I'm not the only one).
And it beggars belief, that after all of this time, the infamous Venky's are still at large at Ewood Park, which after the dust settled on today's results, will now be a League 1/Division 3 ground next season.
Although Forest eventually ran out three nil winners (while a solitary Che Adams goal was enough for Birmingham to claim the three points they needed), from the outset, Mark Warburton's team made a shaky and unconvincing start to the game, where they demonstrated quite clearly why they have become embroiled in a relegation scrap; in fact, had it not been for two outstanding saves from Jordan Smith, Ipswich could quite easily have swept into a two goal lead inside the first half a hour.
"Hey Freddie! Check out my new Adidas trainers"
Eric Lichaj was at least looking as though he was personally up for it and having gone close to opening the score himself, he started the ball rolling in the forty first minute with a quick throw in, that led to Jamie Ward being fouled by the visitors keeper Bartosz Bialkowski inside his area, and Brett Assombalonga scored from the resulting penalty, with what was his first shot on target of the afternoon, to give Forest a half time lead.
HT: Nottingham Forest 1 v Ipswich Town 0
The visitors, who had started the game well, didn't look half as fired up and effective in the second half and were there for the taking as Chris Cohen added a second goal for Forest with almost an hour played, when his long range strike took a deflection and dipped over Bialkowski and into the back of the net in front of the Trent End, as the home supporters celebrated wildly.
With sixty six minutes on the clock Assombalonga had the chance to put the game beyond the visitors reach, from the penalty spot, but Bialkowski saved his kick and it was nail biting time for the home faithful again, who were definitely playing their part and raising the roof with a crescendo of noise.
However Assombalonga did find the net three minutes later when he was released through the left channel and scooped a precision angled finish into the roof of the Ipswich net!
Given that his saved penalty was only his second effort on target all afternoon, Assombalonga was now making up for lost time, forcing Bialkowski into a last ditch block, before fizzing a shot inches over the bar shortly afterwards.
There was a slight moment of slight panic in the Forest ranks when Joe Worrall lost his footing while attempting a clearance, but with the goal at his mercy, Dominic Samuel tripped over as he chased the ball down... which kind of typified Ipswich's second half performance.
The visitors misery was compounded, when Luke Chambers had time to pick his spot from twenty yards out, but drilled his shot into the upper tier of the Bridgford End.
FT: Nottingham Forest 3 v Ipswich Town 0
The home fans  flooded onto the pitch to celebrate their survival, in what was, as much as anything, a display of collective relief.
In days of old, Mr Clough would've had a field day given his stance on pitch invaders.
As I drove towards Scunthorpe United for the second leg of their play off final against Millwall, a local radio match analyst spoke of today's result being a springboard for success next season, his euphoria was evidently clouding his view of the bigger picture, in as much as Forest actually finished level on points with relegated Blackburn and beat the drop by a +2 goal difference over the Lancashire side.
Regardless of what the short term future holds, this is still a club in turmoil and the priority must be a serious tilt at avoiding the drop zone and re-establishing themselves, once again as that unfashionable second tier club they once were.
We've all heard the rumours about Qatar and Swindon Town.
But Steve Evans in Nottingham Forest's colours? Surely not!