A 34 year wait

I’d wanted to say “Shrewsbury boys are back in town again” but we’ve never played Forest in a game that mattered, ever.
I’ve waited 34 years for Salop at Forest.
Then Forest have put out a reserve side – 11 changes.
To add to the anti-climax came the rain which had been incessant all-day, and a below 8,000 attendance
Forest began on top, with chances on the break, but from 15 minutes, Town played better as a team and started to dominate.
Brave changes have been made during the summer break and the team’s average age is 23, with many of the signings from the fifth tier of league football.  Surprising the oldest players play on the wing.  A stronger emphasis on attacking this season.  But the pressure was not creating chances.
Then a couple of mishaps when a full-back pranged his ankle in a challenge on a breaking forward and a slip by a midfielder bringing down the player in the box.  Forest converted the penalty, and for Salop it was to be all uphill.
The rain was stronger in the second-half and some of the basics for playing on a sodden pitch were forgotten, like don’t dawdle on the ball when preparing to clear it and don’t take short corners.  Worse was the “final ball” – a kind of axiomatic description for a poor ball into the box – but Salop belted the ball over their attacking line 5 times – so often, I was reminded of Harry Kane playing for England in Euro ’16, including that 90th minute free kick against Iceland that was mimicked by Shaun Whalley.
By then, Forest had a got a second – this time direct from the break, whilst Salop had also converted a penalty, although I’d like to see the rejected appeal for a penalty 10 minutes earlier.
These are early days for a new set-up, but given Salop have a recent track record of winning at tier 2 clubs in the second round, it’s worth reminding ourselves that Salop were pitched against Forest reserves; or that tier 2 club budgets means their reserves are better paid than tier 3 first team players, and that this time, the opposition manager had properly drilled the reserves.

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Track 1: “Catch us if you can”, Dave Clark Five

Been asked to choose 8 songs for a 75 minute radio show which are OK for a Sunday morning that signpost moments or stages in your life, for broadcast on BBC Radio Nottingham (Sunday, 13th August; 10:45am). 

The opening track is –
“Catch us if you can”, Dave Clark Five

… a great opener.
And yeah, played before home games at Shrewsbury Town Football Club, mostly, since the early seventies.
Capturing a time when the football club exceeded expectation for over 10 years (and judged to be the third most successful English club of the eighties).
I’ve seen Salop at over 90 football league grounds since, including now
It was actually written for Spurs – Dave Clark 5 were decidedly from Tottenham – but they never used it.
So much to celebrate from the sixties, and the Beatles are unsurpassable, but Dave Clark 5 had a sound and “Bit and Pieces” – was the first 2nd hand 45 I picked out when Dad was buying secondhand record player via classified ads.

Forest avoid relegation to the third tier

WP_20170507_12_43_34_Pro ab0465h city ground penalty to Forest

Twenty minutes in and it looked grim.  Ipswich were comfortable. Forest’s midfield didn’t know how to get the ball up the field.  Blackburn were 2-0 up elsewhere and 2 points above Forest.  Birmingham were winning away too.  Ipswich fans sang “Que Sera, … you’re going to Shrewsbury!”
Towards the end of the first half, Forest developed quick attacks, one of which led to a Forest player being fouled in the box, and their no. 9 comfortably converted the penalty kick.  Now Forest were safe by a goal difference of 1.  But if another was needed, it was not clear how it would come.
Second half and Forest were much better, keeping the ball in the Ipswich half.  And finally a shot from 30 years looked the business and was behind the Ipswich keeper’s long dive.  And Blackburn had conceded a goal.  Comfort enough for the No. 9 to miss a second penalty, though he made up which an individual driving run and smash.
Now the sell-out crowd waited for the final whistle, to both celebrate on the pitch and wave a “Fawaz out” banner.

Salop finish 18th and 2 points clear

20170430 english tier 3 table bottom ab0206h

In the end, survival was enough. (Table by ESPN FC.)
A new manager, after the previous manager arranged his own departure in quite a dignified way, whilst we were some points behind the rest at the bottom.
Elsewhere, Arsenal fans’ arrangement of a St.Totteringham’s day for the first time in 20 years when Arsenal were to finish below them in the league seemed a bit of a mistake.
Notts Co. have survived in the Football League, but Notts County Ladies have folded.
Finally, Nottingham Forest are only just safe with one game to go.  I’m desperate for a Forest vs Salop match, but not in the third tier.  Please, Forest.

Super Whalley

WP_20170417_16_53_13_Pro ab0233h Salop attack at Northampton
Pressure for relegation threatened Salop.
But better play than home to Walsall and a surprise to go behind.
Distress at 2 Northampton forwards who seemed to run into clashes and be the first to hit the ground.
Second half, and Salop winger Whalley decides to run and run at the full-back, who I think had committed six fouls before he got his second yellow card.  This during a purple patch and when Whalley hit a sharp inswinging cross from the corner of the box, it had goal written all over it – Sadler rose to nod in from 3 feet.
It seemed then only a matter fo time before a winning goal, but Salop struggled to control the ball and keep it down, and even though a second Cobbler got a second yellow for repeated fouls, time had run out.
Results elsewhere all went Salop’s way so now 3 points clear of the drop – can the escape be made at the next home game?
Bizarrest thing of the day: Salop fans adapting the Supertramp song – “Logical” – as a tribute to Shaun Whalley.