Forest Away

Saturday 3rd October 2015 – Nottingham Forest FC 0 – 1 Hull City AFC

Championship @ City Ground, Nottingham

Note – rubbish photos, seem to be having issues uploading from iPhone…

A popular Hull City podcast last week raised the issue of whether a trip to Forest should be considered the daunting fixture that it perhaps might have been before Hull hit the heights of the Premiership. The overarching view was that it should not; the Championship is full of fallen giants (including also Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday), Forest have played in League 1 more recently than the Premiership (which they have yet to grace this century) and their most notable success in Europe was over 25 years ago. With one of the best sides on paper in this league, City should be bossing fixtures like this. Like we have on our previous two visits to City Ground.

That all said and done though, Forest away remains a standout weekend on the fixture list. Nottingham is a welcoming City, with plenty of good pubs, and two old-fashioned football stadiums (and a cricket ground) within walking distance of the centre.

This was my first league away trip of the season; house moving and TV / holidays intervening is to be blamed for the void. Arriving at 11am, fog had covered the countryside for much of my journey from London, but now the sun was shining, possibly the last such weather for a match before the cold winter and dark evenings set in.

I was in the hands of a local for pre-match suppage and I wasn’t to be disappointed. Previous visits to Nottingham have involved a combination of canal side hostelries as well as the Notts County Supporters Club Bar. This one was slightly more interesting….

Yes it is a Pitcher and Piano, a normally faceless and upmarket version of ‘Spoons, but this one is….an old church! Not sure how they got the planning permission! I have seen old prayer houses turned into flats before, but never a boozer. A nice place to catch up before the match, decent range of beers, and a friendly atmosphere. Christening the bog had also never felt so literal….

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There are lots of other good venues in Nottingham for a pre-match point, but I enjoyed this one – so definitely worthy of inclusion within ‘Worth a sup…

Chow and sup achieved, it was onto City Ground. The walk itself is c. 20-25 minutes from the centre, down a relatively unattractive A road, and past Hooters! This changes however when you get to Notts County’s Meadow Lane, when the Trent comes into view. A pleasant walk from then on, albeit set amongst the houses, the entrance to away end was a bit tricky to find.

On ‘Twentys Plenty‘ day (a day supported by both Forest and City fans) entry was £28. Not a bad price given what some others charges – but for context, with train costing £40, and food and drink £25 – just short of £100 for an away day (granted the food and drink is discretionary!). Highlights the point of the cause though.

City Ground is a good old-fashioned venue, and unlike its older peers (such as Goodison) there is plenty of room on the concourse. The view from our seats was great too, right in the corner of the MoneyShop Stand (groan…..). Thankfully the netting between the upper and lower tiers only had chewing gum on.

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City sold out their allocation that day (almost 2,000) and were making lots of noise – as were the home side also, which was great to hear and made for a very good atmosphere.

The game started fast, with the hosts having a real go of it, but with City dominating proceedings – impaired though by their inability to string together 2 passes without giving the ball away. But Forest never looked like scoring.

Hull got a penalty mid-way through the first half, Matt Mills bringing down Shaun Maloney. My own view was that it should have been a straight red (last man and all that) but the ref opted for yellow. Hernandez then decided to pass the ball to keeper De Vries and the chance went begging.

He made up for it just before half time though scoring a header from a corner. 1-0 City. Time to press on and make the three points ours.

Unfortunately that wasn’t to be. Half Time came and went, and despite enjoying the bulk of possession in the opening exchanges of the second half, City couldn’t make it count. Hernandez looked to switch off and was replaced. But neither side could get a game changing goal.

It then got scrappy, resulting in Mills (who should arguably have been off earlier) being shown the early bath. Forest continued to press though, and it was with some relief that the final whistle went. A good three points, but City seemed to make hard work of it! Now 5th in the table, it seems odd to be complaining about performances, but I am slightly concerned we can’t kill games off. Forest are good – 8th to 14th place in the Championship good so by no means pushovers – but never really threatened.

An enjoyable day out though – Nottingham is a great place to watch football, even better with a win. I am going to enjoy the ‘great day out feeling’, for my next trip at the end of October is a trip to MK Dons……


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