It was a disappointing night at St Andrews for all Blues fans where the unbeaten run came to an end, losing 1-0 against Forest. But what went wrong for Blues?
First of all I seemed quite comfortable watching the opening exchanges. Blues controlled the ball well and looked like a threat going forward. Albeit there weren’t many chances, but overall Forest were finding it hard to get a foot hold on the game.
Toral and Donaldson were linking up quite well, which was promising. Kieftenbeld was the standout player for me, he rarely lost the ball and made sure his end product was good. However Blues just couldn’t break down Forest’s defence. The only real chance came from Maghoma who scraped the crossbar.
In the second half the goal went in and Blues were chasing the game. Chasing describes it well as the work rate was fantastic, but on the flip side the quality wasn’t. Donaldson could have opened the scoring with a close range header but it went just over. No shots on target explains it all. Overhit balls, sloppy simple passes and no one wanting to challenge for loose balls continued throughout the half until Rowett had to make changes.
The team selection probably could be a factor as the players weren’t up to scratch. Particularly the full backs – Grounds and Caddis who weren’t at their best. Normally Caddis and Cotterill link up well on the right side but there was no sign of that last night. As for Grounds he looked very shaky, not like his leader self. The only defender who you looked at and thought ‘he’ll win that’ was Morrison.
Rowett’s substitutions were sceptical, in my opinion. Brock-Madsen came on for Jon Toral who had bags of energy and never stopped running, but he needs time to get used to the aggressive nature of the Championship. He didn’t look like he knew what his role was. Gray and Solomon-Otabor came on to try and inject some pace down the flanks, which they did but no one was willing to help their runs and get onto their deliveries. It says a lot about the game when the most unknown player on the field (Solomon-Otabor) looked the most threatening.
Rowett will have to change things for Friday against Ipswich if he wants anything from the game. Forest very much looked like the home team, Blues will have to emulate their defensive performance during yet another tough test.
Here’s what Rowett had to say following the game:
“It was a disappointing evening, when you have started the season so well one of those games was lurking around the corner.
In my opinion the officials were also another factor. Donaldson was out muscled half the time but the other half their defender’s were all over him. Blues received bookings for fair tackles yet the linesman on our side didn’t move his flag. You always blame it on the referees if you lose but this one had a bad game.
What is apparent is there is not enough depth in the squad to turn a game around. If the whole team is playing poorly, is there an impact player to change the game? Wes Thomas was that type of player, but with an unproven striker in Brock-Madsen, can we rely on Donaldson against the bigger and stronger teams? It will interesting to see if Donaldson can put his mark on Friday’s game and even Tuesday’s against Villa. Two teams with height and muscle at the back. As for the defence we all know another defender is needed, hopefully the rumours of Marc Roberts joining are true.
Blues look like an old refurbished mustang at the moment, compared to a new faster one. It could just be a bump in the road but will the wheels continue to fall off in the next week?