Points shared at Molineux; enough to save Cooper’s job?
Nottingham Forest are in a relegation battle, and every point is crucial – today earning themselves another with a decent draw against Wolves. Despite a decent performance, is “decent” enough to secure Cooper’s fate, and stay as manager of the club?
The First Half:
Forest started well – seven major changes, a return to a back five, completely different team – despite some worry, albeit from myself to a degree, I was pleasantly proved wrong.
Forest started well, pressing high & ruthlessly, and using the wing-backs effectively, soon taking the next step, as Neco Williams’ pinpoint cross finds Toffolo at the far post, who heads it home to secure the opening goal at Molineux, and his first goal in the Garibaldi. Toffolo’s rise to the top of the squad hierarchy has been truly sensational – an impersonation of what a player wearing the Red shirt should mean.
This good start wouldn’t last long, unfortunately, as a sorrow Steve Cooper watched on, Sarabia’s across-the-box pass finds Matheus Cunha, who scores his 5th goal of the 23/24 campaign. A controversial throwing decision just before, one both managers admit should have gone in Forest’s favour. A disappointing way to proceed after a goal, with Reds fans hoping that Forest wouldn’t succumb to conceding another soon. Wolves would soon get the foothold of the first half.
Thankfully for Forest, they wouldn’t concede – they wouldn’t score, but would come close, as Kouyaté gets into a one-on-one with Wolves keeper Sá, but his effort isn’t a great one, and is blocked with ease.
All square at half time.
The Second Half:
Forest’s first half start would irradiate into that of the start to the second half, controlling possession, and looking more comfortable – at the same time, though, not getting forward perhaps as much as they desired.
The golden opportunity did come for the Reds though; Harry Toffolo receives a cross off of a well-worked recovery from Neco Williams, but ultimately heads it high, over the crossbar, and Forest fans resigned to their seats. So close to a second, possibly the best chance for either side other than the goals.
For the Old Gold wearing Wolves, Cunha would have another chance after a superb move between Forest defenders, but Turner would save the effort.
A second half that could’ve been a winner for Nottingham Forest, and one I ultimately felt they played better in, but a clinical edge was left to be desired.
A well earned draw, perhaps disappointed with only a point in the end, but nonetheless, a much-improved performance from Wednesday’s defeat to Fulham – a solid foundation for future games. Steve Cooper to stay? It would be most sensible, I feel.
Despite it being “only a draw”, it’s clear the selection was influenced by attitude, and desire; my concerns were eased, Forest looked like a team, rather than eleven individuals fielded together for 90 minutes, simply because they are employed to do so. They fought for Forest, they fought for Cooper. Build from here.
*Article provided by Jamie Martin (Head Nottingham Forest Correspondent).
*Main image @NFFC Morgan Gibbs-White (right) in action against his old club.