Reds Held In Entertaining Affair

Nottingham Forest 2-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers (Premier League) 13.04.24

In a “decent performance” against Wolves under the sun at the City Ground, Forest can be content with a point, but rue mistakes made in indecision in front of goal, and failing to be clinical when needed most. Two goals scored, but a couple/few goals potentially missed – a shame, but not an awful result despite this.

The first half

Forest started in decent fashion, getting forward and making their presence known – Reyna started, and despite predictions of starting on the right wing, the formation was almost asymmetrical, with Reyna acting as the fourth midfielder. This created an imbalance, but Forest made it work to an extend down the left side, where Hudson-Odoi was the main outlet, with crosses and inverted runs.

Despite the good start though, Wolves opened the scoring; Cunha showed his supreme quality, running past halfway, Omobamidele tracking back in front of him, but as Cunha approaches the box, he skips between the Irish defender & Yates, before firing it into the top right corner. Sels had no chance. A goal seemed imminent even before this, but thankfully Murillo’s saving header kept the score level – but unfortunately not for long.

Time ticked on, Forest fans were minutes away from entering the concourse – and I can imagine a few groans would have followed that action – but Forest’s star man, once again, gives fans hope once again. A corner comes in from Giovanni Reyna, and Gibbs-White finishes it well with his head. Head loss follows, delirious in front of his former fanbase, fingers in ears – all the minerals for a perfect end to the first half. Forest scoring from a set-piece also, a joy to witness. Reyna with an assist, and Forest utilising a different taker – Danilo took some also.

Forest fans ecstatic, but despite the joy, work still to do in the second half – in particular, focusing on ball retention, and not giving away mistakes in the defensive third.

The Second Half

The second half was always going to be tougher; Wolves acclimatising to Forest’s style of play, and know what they want to do: break quickly, through the middle or out wide, and find a forward on the edge of the box to try to shoot at goal.

This was the case, and Forest eventually made some close chances pay, this time in the form of a goal from Danilo – a cult hero, and in-form midfielder as of late. Gibbs-White’s run to the edge of the 18-yard box ends with an attempted ball to Chris Wood, Wolves deflect it, so the Forest star attempts to run into the penalty area. As he does this, he’s fouled by Matt Doherty, but the ball bounces and falls to Danilo who fires it past José Sá, and Forest now found themselves in the lead. Gun fingers from the Brazilian star who’s reignited form from last season in the final run-in.

Statistically, Wolves have been far superior to Forest on scoring/conceding from set pieces – this season, 27% (approx.) of Wolves’ goals have come from set pieces, excluding penalties, and its been a staple of their success under Gary O’Neill.

Sadly for the Reds, they would become a number in this statistic, as once again, Cunha beats Sels and scores his brace; two brilliant goals from Wolves’ number 12 – a player who offers so much, and comes back from injury in perfect form. 2-2 now, and once again, a set piece has killed the joy for Forest fans.

Nuno Espírito Santo then opted for the subs bench, bringing on Origi, Ribeiro & Tavares – unfortunately, other than Ribeiro who got stuck in, Origi & Tavares’ cameo’s were pretty poor, both failing to make any impact, and Origi fumbling a golden opportunity to find Wood across the penalty area from the right wing. I feel Origi is wasted as a winger, but altogether, poor recruitment. Tavares can be looked at with some lenience following injury, but time to recover form is scarce. Elanga was missed, his presence on the right side would’ve added another dimension to Forest’s attack.

A hard pill to swallow, and the Reds will regret not being more clinical, but nonetheless positives to take forward against a formidable Wolves side who sit comfortably mid-table.

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

*Main image @NFFC Callum Hudson Odoi in action verses Wolves.

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