Another defeat, as a blip turns into a proper run of winless games. Dughall McCormick took in proceedings at the City Ground so he could tell you all about it.
Random star performer
It is hard to find a star amongst what was, let’s face it, a fairly lacklustre bunch. Having said that, once again Ivo Pinto showed the leadership qualities that would be very welcome in the performances of his team mates. He was a passionate and committed contributor whose occasional forays forward afforded a few of the scant opportunities on offer for The Canaries. He was also responsible for a couple of crucial defensive interventions. Worthy of the armband and let’s hope others will follow his example.
Moment of the match
Probably the introduction of Mustapha Carayol in the 69th minute. Carayol definitely brought something ‘extra’ to the party and his arrival certainly discombobulated the away team such that his assist for the (inevitable?) Murphy goal 8 minutes later was hardly a surprise.
When the starting eleven was announced, I couldn’t really argue with it. It looked creative and ambitious. On reflection, it was perhaps a little ‘small’ with the likes of Reed, Maddison and Hoolahan hardly offering much loft in midfield. Couldn’t argue with the substitutions either. The man in black spent the game in his usual hunched, pensive and brooding fashion, punctuated by occasional gesticulating and pacing but what was most bizarre were the gaffer’s post-match comments, claiming it to be the best away performance of the season… What?! I was at Sheffield Utd, Middlesborough and that other place and I’m pretty sure we won those games. Boro, for example, was a consummate performance from a side with confidence and assuredness - Forest, in this fan’s opinion, was not. I kind of understand what he means about them being different kinds of games (protecting a lead) but curious comments from DF nonetheless.
Biggest positive to take
That this was undoubtedly an improvement on the abject performance of the weekend against Barnsley is little comfort, but when you need to feed on crumbs… I suppose another positive was a good game for Vrancic - a player who I believe we have yet to see the best of. He’s had some stick recently and needs to answer those critics.
How could we fail to score a goal? In a game in which Oliveira, Jerome, Hoolahan. Maddison, Watkins and Murphy have played and we’ve drawn a blank, I despair. Norwich appear to be seriously lacking an edge in the final third. The chances are scant and when they do come, we fail to convert - demonstrated perfectly by Nelson’s failure to finish when through one-on-one. So much hinges on fine margins and maybe that glorious run in September and October was down to chances taken and the current disappointing run down to chances missed.
Muted would be the word. Has the Carrow Road malaise infected the away contingent? Perhaps. And if support is a reflection of the football on the pitch? There were a few stirring moments and who doesn’t like the ushering in of the festive period with The 12 Days of Huckerby? Having said that, the support was patchy and rarely did the whole of the away end get anything significant going.
Not good enough. I’m not calling for the head of the manager just yet but I’d like to see some things improve. It’s all very well playing out from the back to the middle with crisp passing and lots of possession but this amounts to nothing if you are toothless up front. More of this and we’re mid-table at best.