FOREST BLOG: Freedman gets tactics spot on against Derby

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Forest ended their long winless run in perfect fashion, with a well earned victory against Derby last Friday night.

Going into the game they couldn’t have had more contrasting records, Derby were flying high and we were without a win in nine games.

But as you all know, this counts for nothing on the day.

To make matters worse for Forest, Dougie Freedman’s job was supposedly gone if we lost again.

I fully understand that having only won four games out of the last 23 is not a great record, but I don’t think there is much any other manager can do if ours is sacked.

However, I’m met with the same old comments “Get Nigel Clough in!” - a manager who’s never achieved anything in the professional game apart from the odd cup run.

I’ve said this before, the fans have had their way twice before and both times it ended in tears with Davis and Pearce respectively.

For anybody still calling for Freedman’s head I will ask you this, what will a new manager do with the same embargo and the same injured players?

To add fuel to the fire there is also an attempt to form a NFFC Supporters Trust, which I will go into more detail about next time around.

Against Derby I was pleasantly surprised to see Freedman go for it, despite so much at stake.

From the kick-off we were on the front foot and the City Ground crowd were in fine voice.

I focused on Nelson Oliveira’s lack of goals recently and the Portuguese forward fashioned a chance after three minutes which suggested acknowledgement.

He certainly made amends for his recent drought a minute later though, his right footed effort at goal was blocked before he switched to his left and drove home from outside the box.

It was a fantastic start and just rewards for the positivity of Freedman. Ironically the gaffer had being going through video footage of Filippo Inzaghi’s goals with his own striker prior to the game. Forest continued to attack and looked lively through Ward, Mendes and Oliveira.

Republic of Ireland international Jeff Hendrick almost equalised for the Rams after 21 minutes but his long range strike clipped the bar before going over.

Derby didn’t offer much in the form of chances but they kept possession superbly and penned Forest in for long periods.

Ward had a fantastic effort saved by the keeper as did Russell at the other end.

Henri Lansbury returned from suspension and owed the fans a performance to be honest. He nearly scored a cracker from 25 yards having produced a lovely dummy prior to shooting.

Having been contained by Derby, Forest were winning the ball back superbly and creating chances on the break.

The referee was having a nightmare and he made a huge mistake when he disallowed Matt Mills’ perfectly good header late in the half.

The second half was a tight affair but the game was slowly being won in the midfield. Lansbury and the exceptional David Vaughan were bossing Thorne and Johnson.

The best chance of the half fell to Mendes after fantastic play by Oliveira, but the Cape Verde international refused to throw himself at the nearly open goal.

Derby’s only real effort was a tame header from substitute Darren Bent.

Forest were good money for the victory, despite the lack of possession, and tactically Dougie Freedman got it spot on.

His Forest side worked their socks off and gave the visitors no space at all.

I expected more from the Rams given the players at their disposal.

When all’s said and done I just think we wanted it more.

It’s a testament to our efforts that we were able to keep great players like Johnny Russell and Bradley Johnson very quiet indeed.

I felt for Johnson when one of our fans foolishly ran at him after the game; the late Brian Clough would not be amused.

I’ll leave you with a bit of nostalgia; when Forest beat Derby in the 1898 FA Cup Final we borrowed their white shirts for the post match trophy photograph. The reason being that our traditional red jerseys didn’t stand out enough for the camera.