For­est fall after fir­ing blanks

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Ian Baker

EVEN Not­ting­ham For­est man­ager Stu­art Pearce had to apol­o­gise to the 23,811 in attendance after a dour draw against Brighton.

A sec­ond league match with­out a goal for Pearce’s side meant they were knocked off the top of the Cham­pi­onship as Brighton pro­duced a solid de­fen­sive show­ing.

This was an unin­spir­ing af­fair with lit­tle in the way of goal­mouth ac­tion bar a Michael Man­ci­enne header for the hosts in in­jury­time, where he was left un­marked from Ben Os­born’s cor­ner only to head down and over. It summed up the 90 min­utes.

“It was not a very good spec­ta­cle and I do apol­o­gise,” said Pearce.

“From our per­spec­tive we did not show enough oomph and cut­ting edge.The majority were rested at Tot­ten­ham and were fresh.

“We did not have enough to put a sus­tained pres­sure on Brighton. It was frus­trat­ing but I was pleased with the two cen­tral de­fend­ers and the goal­keeper.

“We were ragged late as we chased the game but de­fen­sively I was pleased.The rest of the side I was lit­tle bit dis­ap­pointed with as we can do a lot bet­ter.We did not play par­tic­u­larly well.

“The tar­get now is to go into the next two games and re­main un­beaten. But this league is un­for­giv­ing. If you’re five-ten per cent off you don’t win games.

“Ev­ery game in this league of­fers some­thing dif­fer­ent. We were look­ing for some­thing a bit spe­cial from our front four. But it did not hap­pen for any of them and we have to learn.”

For­est were with­out David Vaughan who in­jured him­self in the warm-up so Os­born was drafted into the team. He proved to be the best player on the pitch but could not in­spire For­est to vic­tory.

Cer­tainly Pearce’s side had enough chances in the first half but did not have their shoot­ing boots on as Henri Lans­bury headed over Danny Fox’s cross while the Cham- pi­o­nship’s lead­ing scorer Britt As­som­ba­longa blazed high and wide after Lans­bury had robbed Lewis Dunk.

Ger­man mid­fielder Robert Tesche then missed a hat-trick of long range chances with David Stock­dale mak­ing the only real save of the match from one of them.

Craig Mack­ail-Smith was then un­able to make proper con­tact on a Bruno Sal­tor header while just after the break Man­ci­enne nearly sliced into his own net from an Adrian Col­unga cross.

Sub­sti­tute Lars Veld­wijk should have made him­self an in­stant For­est hero but he could not get on the end of Fox’s cross while the vis­i­tors had a chance through Mack­ail-Smith who shot wide late on.

“We were not do­ing the right things on the field de­fen­sively or of­fen­sively in the first half,” said Brighton boss Sami Hyypia.

“We weren’t ag­gres­sive enough or pos­i­tive enough.

“Sec­ond half we cre­ated a few chances but I’m not happy with a point. I want to win ev­ery game we play. If we are on top of our game we can beat any­one in this league. We’re still on a learn­ing curve, we have new play­ers.

“After the sec­ond game we brought in sev­eral new sign­ings. We have not yet had a chance to in­te­grate them but I don’t want to make ex­cuses.

“I don’t have a con­crete tar­get of where I want us to fin­ish in the league but I go into ev­ery game to win and give ev­ery­thing that we can.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

KEEP­ING FO­CUSSED: Not­ting­ham For­est’s Robert Tesche takes a shot at goal as the Reds fire blanks against Brighton

UP HIGH: Karl Dar­low

claims the ball

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