It’s a funny old game when two weeks ago most Bluenoses were in the depths of despair. We couldn’t buy a home win and the club was supposedly on the cusp of a Sale of the Century.
Wolves tried to sneak up – as Wolves do – with a double bid to take Marlon King and Curtis Davies away from St. Andrews, with Norwich also tabling a cut price bid for the latter. Even Big Eck tried his luck in an attempt to sign Chris Burke, with two bids in the region of £500,000 rejected.
In the end, we only lost Jack Butland – and even then we’ve got him back on loan. Even better, we signed Wes Thomas; a 26 year old forward with an apparent surplus of pace and power which has perhaps been the missing link in our forward line in recent months.
The atmosphere at the match was a bit of a throwback to better times, helped by the obvious return of Alex McLeish; Forest also added to that atmosphere with a more than decent following. The game ebbed rather than flowed in a frenetic sort of way; Marlon King uncharacteristically skewed wide early on but Forest also had chances and were foiled on a couple of occasions by a couple of excellent saves by Jack Butland – and possibly down to some woeful finishing from the Forest front line.
Part of Blues’ problems was the centre of midfield. It was clear that the Wade Elliott and Morgaro Gomis partnership; one which evidently did not work with both players giving away far too much possession and needless, unnecessary fouls. Up front, it was clear the West Thomas and Marlon King partnership will need time to gel, so it was left to Chris Burke – recently recalled to the Scotland national side – to provide a real attacking threat; his bullet-like shot which led to Blues’ opener just before the interval was reminiscent of the Chris Burke of the 2011/2012 season.
As for the second half, Blues had the ascendancy. Callum Reilly – coming on as a substitute for Morgaro Gomis – added more energy and strength in the middle of the park, while the misfiring Robert Hall was replaced by Nathan Redmond who again showed glimpses of his undeniable talent with a great run and cross that led to both Blues’ and Burke’s second of the game; a tap in from all of 10 yards.
There were other encouraging signs, with Wes Thomas showing his sheer pace bursting through the Forest back line only to narrowly miss the target in a one-on-one effort with Forest ‘keeper Karl Darlow. Forest grabbed a mere consolation goal late on after Curtis Davies was judged to have fouled in the box, but it was too late for the visitors to mount a fightback and Blues held on for their first back-to-back victories of the season.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
1. Did you think that Gomis was ‘sensational’ like the good chap that phoned the Tom Ross show and gave him Man of the Match?
2. Will Jack Butland’s kicking ever improve?
3. Would you put a minimum £1.5m price tag on Chris Burke?
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Vice Chairman, Blues Trust