Major disappointment at the city ground last night. A much changed team through injury saw Seb Hines make his first league start of the season alongside Stephen McManus and Tony McMahon as Mogga opted to go with 3-5-2 which has been such a success so far on our travels this season. Our captain Matthew Bates and Rhys Williams stayed back on Teesside with injuries.
Scott McDonald was given a breather and dropped down to the bench with Julio Arca. Faris Haroun came in to the starting line up with Barry Robson supporting Emnes upfront. Boro didn’t start the game well against a side that hadn’t won at home this season and looked shaky at the back. It was disappointing that we let Forest get a hold of the game, they grew in confidence and they took the lead 10 minutes before half time through some sloppy play, losing possession and players switching off from defensive duties.
We weren’t playing passes on the deck and were hoofing the ball forward, trying to force the play too often. Any team would miss the likes of Matthew Bates and Rhys Williams they have been so influential in our early season form. Both players bring the ball forward and pass it out of defence. 2nd half sounded similar with Forest doubling their lead and I couldn’t wait for the final whistle.
It was a bad day all around, only having one shot at goal, losing Barry Robson to suspension after getting his 5th yellow card of the season and Thomson spending the last few minutes in the dugout after tweaking his hamstring. We will be without Barry Robson who has been one of our better players recently as he serves a one match ban against Derby. I would like to see Richard Smallwood feature on the bench on Saturday as he seems to have become a forgotten man for us with this stupid 5 players on bench rule limiting his chances. He did great in first team last season.
From listening to the match on BBC Tees I do like Craig Hignett’s honest assessment of games, he tells it how it is. I was thinking during commentary he would make a good assistant somewhere. The unbeaten run had to come to an end sometime but I’m disappointed it happened against a struggling team like Forest whose new manager won’t have had much time to work with the players.
Hopefully on Saturday we will have some of our key defenders back and Scott McDonald back in the starting line up to get back on the goal trail. The game will probably come too soon for new forward signing Bart Ogbeche. I have started calling our new Nigerian who signed until the end of the season Bart Man! It seems easier to pronounce! A much needed option upfront let’s hope he can have a real impact throughout the season.
The forest game has gone now and it is all about bouncing back from this defeat and what we do on Saturday. At least the unbeaten hype from the media will have gone. It is important we don’t let this great start to the season go to waste and start another run of winning games. I hope the Boro team get their shooting boots on, beat the Rams on our own patch and we are talking about 3 home pts come 5.45pm sat night. UTB!