‘Ner­vous’ For­est flunk it again

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By James Owens

STU­ART Pearce ad­mit­ted a timid first-half per­for­mance left his Not­ting­ham For­est side with too much to do as they took only a point against in­jury-hit Charl­ton Ath­letic at the City Ground, de­spite a dom­i­nant dis­play after the break.

Bob Peeters’ Addicks quickly cap­i­talised on For­est’s nervy start, with Callum Har­riott giv­ing them the lead in the tenth minute with a low shot from the edge of the 18-yard box.

Charl­ton could have gone in at half-time with a two-goal lead after Har­riott broke down the right to cen­tre for Igor Ve­tokele in the 34th minute, only for the An­golan for­ward to see his header well saved by Karl Dar­low.

Pearce’s men rarely trou­bled un­der­study Nick Pope in the Charl­ton goal, and looked blunt in the ab­sence of sus­pended top goalscorer, the dan­ger­ous Britt As­som­ba­longa, with his deputy Matty Fry­att strug­gling to get into the game.

But Pearce’s half-time changes saw For­est come back to take a point, with Robert Tesche com­ing on in place of Henri Lans­bury and fir­ing home a fine equaliser from 20 yards just be­fore the hour.

“It was an aw­ful first half per­for­mance, there’s no doubt about that,” Pearce ad­mit­ted.

“I think there’s a lit­tle bit of ner­vous­ness in the camp for what­ever rea­son.

“There’s that lit­tle bit of devil­ment dur­ing the week in some of the things they show me in train­ing, but in some ways that is ir­rel­e­vant. They have to show me on match days.That’s when the big men step up.

“Sec­ond half we came out and we were a to­tal con­trast as a team. I thought we got on the front foot, we dom­i­nated the game, and as I sit here I’m think­ing I’ve lost two points.

“If we’d have played that way from the out­set, we would have won the game, maybe com­fort­ably.”

For­est dom­i­nated after half­time with Charl­ton strug­gling for pos­ses­sion.

But de­spite Tesche’s equaliser, it was the vis­i­tors who had the best chance to win the match, with Har­riott thwarted by Dar­low when Ve­tokele played him through on goal three min­utes after the Ger­man mid­fielder had drawn For­est level.

Peeters, mean­while, ad­mit­ted that Charl­ton had to be happy to take a point from the City Ground.

How­ever, the Bel­gian man­ager also felt that the Addicks could have trav­elled back to London with all three had they made more of their clear chances on the counter.

“I think if we score that goal with Ve­tokele in the first half, it would have been a dif­fer­ent game,” Peeters said.

“As long as it stays 1-0, es­pe­cially with a very lively home crowd, you know they’re go­ing to ap­ply a lot of pres­sure.

“But we didn’t give away a lot of chances. I don’t think their goal was a chance, but it was a top, top fin­ish from 20 yards, and you can only say ‘well done’ when they score a goal like that.

“Then we got a chance again, with Callum one-on-one with the goal­keeper. If he puts that away, it’s 2-1 and I think the game is fin­ished.

“But again, when you come away at Not­ting­ham For­est and play a very good team with a very good home rep­u­ta­tion, over­all maybe you need to be happy with a point.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd

LET­TING LOOSE: Callum Har­riott fires Charl­ton Ath­letic into the lead at the City Ground


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