Ten Men Reds Slip To Late Defeat

A ‘baffling’ Bournemouth win sees Forest in danger

After perhaps the most controversial game of football, Nottingham Forest find themselves in serious danger – sides below them picking up crucial points, Forest slumping to just one win in 14. That being said, a result that, I don’t feel, fairly represented Forest’s performance.

The First Half:

Starting well, Nottingham Forest got early shots on target; seemingly, Nuno Espírito Santo’s – the new Nottingham Forest head coach – influence was, so far, positive.

Forest’s positive start, however, and not too their own fault, would take an unexpected turn. Boly, already booked, tackles Solanke superbly on the edge of his box, and follows up with another great tackle, only for referee, Rob Jones, to pull out a second yellow, and reduce Forest to ten men. Boly’s clear winning of the tackle proved how poor the decision was – if anything, Boly was fouled, as Adam Smith catches his foot in the process. Most likely the worst refereeing performance at the City Ground this season, from the same referee responsible for VAR decisions during Forest’s controversial loss to Manchester United earlier this season. Boly off, Nuno’s first match off to a nightmare start inside just 23 minutes. VAR couldn’t check this as the decision was a yellow card, and VAR doesn’t check for that – if it has been a straight Red, the Video Assistant Referee would’ve likely intervened.

After this, the first half seemed flat: a quieter-than-usual atmosphere at the City Ground representative of the game being played. Certainly not a fantastic half, for the most part.

Forest were once again victim to a poor refereeing decision though, as Harry Todfolo’s cross on the left hand-side comes off of Adam Smith’s flailing arm, inside the Bournemouth box, only for VAR to deem it not a penalty.

A first half of football with the only real talking point being Rob Jones & Co’s refereeing performance – a sad thought in modern football.

The Second Half:

Despite a nightmarish first half start for the Reds, such nightmares would soon turn to dreams, as Marcus Tavernier’s mistake is stolen by an on-running Chris Wood, who flicks it between Bournemouth’s centre-backs, with Anthony Elanga slotting it into the left-area of the goal. An early second half lead, Elanga now the sides joint top scorer (4 goals). A superbly taken move by Forest. The City Ground, awoken.

Forest’s incredible effort would be outshone though, as a brilliant left-footed cross from the left side of the Forest defensive quarter finds Dominic Solanke – B’mouths top scorer – who heads a ball over Matt Turner to equalise. Poor positioning from Turner, who, somehow, was lobbed on his goal line.

The ‘dream’ start for Forest would only soon be plunged, once again, into nightmare territory though, as Solanke strikes again. Billing tipped off a ball rolling across the floor after a failed Murillo clearance, for which Solanke finishes. A brace for Bournemouth’s star striker.

Nuno’s Reds would get a chance, however, as Morgan Gibbs-White’s out swinging cross is met by the head of Chris Wood, who fires Forest back into the game. Some hope was restored, and the atmosphere electrified.

Forest would hold on for most of the remaining time though, with both sides “packing punches” of their own. Bournemouth’s would hit harder though, as Solanke “seals the deal”, and puts a third past Forest – his 7th goal contribution (4th goal) in 5 games against Nottingham Forest.

Forest’s fight wasn’t enough – fight only does so much, but even with that sentiment stated, even from a neutrals perspective, it’s fair to say that Nottingham Forest didn’t deserve to lose that game. Not to insinuate that they deserved to win, but poor decisions made by officiators had a profound effect; but, and as Nuno reiterated, mistakes around the edge of the box are too common, and Forest conceded preventable goals against Bournemouth.

Newcastle & Manchester United the final fixtures before the New Year, another tough couple of fixtures to come – but in some ways, the best time to play both sides. It’s up to Forest now to showcase they can exploit such weaknesses, and pick up points tha are so desperately needed.

*Article provided by Jamie Martin (Head Nottingham Forest Correspondent).

*Main image @NFFC Willy Boly is controversially sent off by Referee Rob Jones.

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