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Positives and negatives: Nottingham Forest 3-1 Fulham

Written by Cameron Ramsey on 3rd April 2024

Photo by Craig Thomas / News Images (Licenced via Imago Images)

Tuesday evenings aren’t typically enticing in the slightest and Cam will tell you that the one just gone will be hard to forget for all the wrong reasons.

Well, go on, this is a nailed-on loss you definitely saw coming, right? For whatever reason, Fulham never get the better of a Nuno Espirito Santo side and now they’ve fallen foul of the bearded boss’ Forest, and it couldn’t have been more deserved.

We fought back at Bramall Lane, but there was to be no resurgence against the Tricky Trees and as Evangelos Marinakis picks the pinkies out of his wishing well of a belly button, we have to take this dismal result on the chops. We’ll be seeing you next year, Forest… or will we?


Better in the second half

We gave ourselves far too much to do after the break but I suppose if we’re to look on the bright side of one of the most abysmal defeats we’ve suffered, we were infinitely better in the second?

By infinitely, I really mean our collective attitude grew from extinct to just about breathing, shallowly, but the difference between the two tales either side of the break is significant, even if it eventually and inevitably meant fuck all come the final whistle.

For the neutral, it was a dust up to savour, for us, though, it was a hellish blend of gawping despair and faux hope and as ever, it consequently killed us off. When Tosin Adarabioyo’s header looped into the right-hand corner with 40 minutes to spare, Forest heads dipped and a fightback was forecast.

It didn’t quite materialise, of course, but with uprights and crossbars being slapped, and with Mats Sels plunging to make a series of smart saves, efforts were indeed upped, albeit it no avail.

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Marco Silva’s uncustomary early subs gave a fairly decent account of themselves, too. Willian jarred the Garibaldis open as he shifted infield from wide, Adama Traore’s vertical impact was apparent instantaneously and while Tom Cairney’s finishing touches weren’t necessarily up to scratch, his calm and poise enabled us to gain territory but we simply couldn’t capitalise.

Damage limitation was vitally important, Forest didn’t exactly tail off after waltzing into a three-goal lead and there were periodic reminders of their powers on the counter throughout.

We had to step up, we had to stem the bloodshed and while we crawled from the City Ground with our dignity in tatters, things couldn’t have gotten any worse than they already were and thankfully at a stretch, reaching on our last legs, they didn’t.


Worst first 45 under Silva

From recent memory, Boxing Day was previously the wankiest showing from Silva’s squad but that regrettable festive folding on the south coast was outdone in no more than 45 minutes on the banks of the Trent.

Dreadful defensively, inactive in the final third, misshapen in the middle, Fulham were ripped apart, limb from limb, by Nuno’s Forest and it was without question or debate the worst of the worst under Marco’s command.

Not one man was up to the challenge. The Whites allowed the hosts to tighten their grip, key players were thrust out of position by Forest’s clockwork interchanges through the centre, we were stranded as they initiated breakaways and when we had to hold our discipline and concentration, we imploded.

Tosin may have found the back of the net, but he didn’t cover himself in glory, not with those lazy forward passes to nowhere.

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The same could be said about Harry Wilson, who was comprehensively marked out of the game. Alex Iwobi was shutdown systematically, Our midfield duo of Sasa Lukic and Joao Palhinha was cut adrift by Danilo and Morgan Gibbs-White – who was unplayable – and when you’ve a Brazil international in Andreas Pereira ballooning strikes into the floodlights, the Whites were cruising for a first-half paddling and that is precisely what they got.

It was abject in every sense, as Silva stood in the downpour, Forest took the absolute piss out of his underprepared gameplan and there can be no reasonable excuse. I couldn’t really give a hoot if we’re safe from relegation, losses are bound to happen but nobody can tell me that the level of our performance before the interval was acceptable.

I understand the concept of teams wanting it more when they’re in dire straits, Forest are staring down the barrel of relegation and they stopped at nothing to secure the spoils.

We can move on from this defeat, we have no choice, but we cannot forget about the early panic changes, we cannot turn a blind eye to our imbalance from front to back and away from home, against teams we should be putting to the swords ourselves. We have to quit with the bed-shitting and we have to pull our big boy pants on.

Tete was targeted

I don’t mean to single Kenny Tete out as a point of discussion because strays could be caught by anyone on that pitch in black and white, but let’s not pretend that the grounded Dutchman wasn’t targeted specifically by Forest. Tete was left exposed by his positioning, Silva insists that his fullbacks support the attackers but not many, if any, can cover the surface like Antonee Robinson does and Tete was duly found out.

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When Forest went on the offensive, they deliberately switched play to exploit Kenny, Callum Hudson-Odoi would be left in acres as our underused right-back chugged behind. For the former Chelsea prodigy’s opener, Tete was flat footed and fooled by Hudson-Odoi’s deft movement and usually, that’s an scenario where Tete succeeds on the first time of asking. He was a yard or five off the run of play, he didn’t have the motor to keep up with CHO and it told on more than one occasion.

The Whites were outgunned as they struggled to withstand Forest’s advances along Kenny’s flank, and now I see why Timothy Castagne’s our current first-choice out of the two. Blame it on lessened match minutes, we all know what Kenny’s truly made of, but Castagne responsiveness is greater than the man in question’s.

Timothy ticks more boxes and following a less than flattering outing, I’d imagine this’ll be the last time we see Tete in a starting line-up this season because he was made a sorry example of by wingers he used to shame publicly himself.

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