I typed out a few things on various platforms last night, but deleted all of them. They ended up being a bit random and bitter.
So I'll try and organise my thoughts a little better this morning.
Firstly I thought we did ok first half, touch and go whether we deserved 1-0 , but not a massively undeserved scoreline.
Scott was excellent (apart from that miss), and the midfield hadn't looked as weak as I'd expected. Defence looked good, Baker was old school Baker (Johnson looked terrified) and we were well in the game with noses in front.
Not sure what was said at half time, you expect them to calm out quickly, but it looked like we had been told to try and hold what we had. We never got any foothold in the game, no forward momentum and definitely no control.
I hate that we bring everyone back at corners, at one stage it allowed all 10 Forest outfield players in the final 3rd, the keeper acting sweeper near half way. When we cleared it comes straight back, leave someone anyone up front, just to keep defender honest and give us chance to get out.
We have, for ages , defended too deep at the end of games. Now this has been, pressure from teams chasing a goal, fatigue meaning players drop deeper to cover plus the simple fact we cannot put a series of passes together to keep the ball and so see the game out. Last night that started from the kick off.
Even if you play on the break (which I'm not sure we do by design, more being dominated constantly) , you need to be able to look after the ball. Wells made some good runs and that chip (I actually mentioned there was a chance 5 minutes before) shows his eye for goal, but we didn't have the control to get a decent pass away. Martin had got some good headers and flicks in but he looked like he was struggling a bit so I thought HNM was a good move. Though I expected Scott might have been first because of Nige love of Martin. Forests control and dominance made it hard for Masengo to make a real impact, though he did some nice twists & turns and nicked the ball a few times. Again because we were so deep, space was rare so Scott had become a little less effective, plus cramp , Palmer turned out to be equally ineffective.
Still we were defending well, if too deep ( I may have mentioned that before) and Forest seemed to be getting desperate with long shots. The change of Wells for COD was strange, yet not so. I though Nhaki had a good game, and if anyone was liable to nick a goal it would be him. Then again, he had lost his footing a few times, looked frustrated, and more to the point service had all but dried up as we couldn't get decent possession. Now I can see the reasoning, COD is a good runner & Pacey . Get it to feet and he could have caused their defence real problems . It just didn't happen.
One thing I will say, it was not a nailed on Pen. I've seen them given, but on first view it looked like he went down easily. The Ref seemed to point at the ball, so I guess he thought the defender got a touch, but also he didn't book Scott so I imagine he thought there was contact.
TBF Baker had been excellent, but I sat down as soon as Baker started to dive in. I didn't need the Ref to give the decision, even from 80 yards away it was obvious. Not only that, I was waiting for the 2nd goal. Defend like that, after chasing shadows for 45 minutes and you just just can't change your mindset and get out on the front foot. I wanted to be seeing ALL the touchline staff screaming to get out as soon as we started defending from our own area.
We had started to see signs of improvement, and I do think in many ways we are better than we have been previously. But sadly the one thing, the main problem is exactly the same as it's been for over 2 years. We don't keep the ball, we don't control games and so we can't defend leads. Now IMO, it's partly mindset, though Pearson had started to address that with James & King. Partly nerves and partly the ability to pass to our own players in space and a big part of that, is lack of movement.
And there is the catch 22.
Because we lack movement we can't find the easy pass.
Because we can't find the easy pass we tend to go longer.
Because we go longer, we lose the ball more.
Because we lose the ball more.
Because we lose the ball more, we end up chasing the ball more.
Because we chase the ball more, we tire quicker.
Because we tire quicker we lack movement repeat to fade.
It's not a new thing, we suffered the same under Johnson, we suffered the same under Holden and , so far, Pearson has struggled to change it. Maybe having Williams fit might make a difference, but I don't think it's down to players, totally. It's coaching and mindset , as soon as a player passes the ball it seems like that's his job done. What we need is for that player to just move a yard to give the option of the ball back, while others do the same. We are static.
When a Forest player was fronted up, and we never really got tight too often, he had an option. If there wasn't one there, someone would make a run. Again they were streets ahead of us on the ball. The 2nd half was Bournemouth levels of dominance and if Forest had their levels of quality , Forest would have won much earlier.
Make no mistake, this is a big, big job. One that, sadly may be too big for Pearson.
I apologise for the ramble, but at least it's off my chest now. I shall now pretend I don't like football for the next few days.