A heavy 4-1 defeat against Blackpool sees Nottingham Forest crash out of the FA Cup in the third round.
Goals from Ekpiteta, Poveda, Hamilton and Jerry Yates (with a late consolation goal from Ryan Yates) confounded a miserable afternoon for Forest, as poor defensive errors, and lack of a clinical final touch from the reds, saw them exit the FA Cup at the first time of asking.
Going into the game, Forest arrived with a new-found confidence.
After a deserved draw against Chelsea, followed by a significant first league away win against bottom of the table Southampton, Forest seemed to be finding their groove in the Premier league. On top of this, most won’t need reminding of their exceptional FA Cup run last season, reaching the quarter final stage, narrowly exiting only to a fantastic Liverpool side who eventually went on to win the competition. Forest had every right to be confident of securing a place in the hat for the fourth round, but it didn’t transpire on the day for the Reds in the North West.
Blackpool came into this game in a relegation battle of their own, picking up just 4 points out of the last 15 with their last win coming way back in October against Coventry. However, a few exciting loan signings have lifted spirits, with Manchester City winger Morgan Rogers arriving, as well as the return of the Reds owned Josh Bowler for the next half of the season. Head coach Michael Appleton will be pleased to have now demolished a Premier League side and no doubt this will do wonders for their confidence, and could help propel them up the league to avoid the dreaded drop to League One.
The first half was overall dominated by Forest, with exciting, new signing Gustavo Scarpa helping craft plenty of opportunities for the two front men Surridge and Dennis. However, the three couldn’t craft a goal, and Forest conceded one themselves in the 17th minute after failing to clear a cross. Not letting frustration of conceding early get the better of them, Steve Cooper’s men carried forward much the same momentum in the second half, with chance after chance being almost so perfectly crafted, but not quite. With the reds being very much on the front foot, a terrible backpass from Neco Williams helped gift Blackpool their second goal, with their third coming through a fantastic strike via CJ Hamilton. The fourth came from Jerry Yates in the 86th minute, burying the game dead before Ryan Yates got Forest a late consolation goal in added time.
With eleven changes from the team that beat Southampton on Wednesday, it was always going to be a risk from Steve Cooper, however not many would have envisaged an outcome quite like this. There was a visible lack of chemistry and fitness on display, with too many players having a poor game; it was a fantastic chance for some fringe players to show they’re premier league worthy, but that chance has been squandered by most.
The silver lining of today for Forest fans will be Gustavo Scarpa. The Brazilian signed in January with a big reputation, and once again looked every bit ready for the big league. Now with more minutes in his legs, many will begin wishing for him to start in the more upcoming, important games.
Speaking of important games, Forest will now return to the City Ground on Wednesday night, hoping to regain some form against a struggling Wolverhampton Wanderers side in the Quarter-finals of the Carabao cup. Following this come some crucial ‘six-pointer’ Premier League matches against relegation rivals Leicester, Bournemouth, Leeds, West Ham and Everton all to come within the next few months. Steve Cooper will be hoping to put this poor result behind him and revitalise his team for the upcoming fixtures, which could prove pivotal for Forest’s survival in the Prem.
*Article provided by Dylan Jackson (Nottingham Forest Correspondent).
*Main image @NFFC Gustavo Scarpa in action as Forest are well beaten in Blackpool.