Forest tasted defeat for the first time at home this season on Saturday after Blackpool stole a last minute winner at The City Ground.
After last week’s surprise defeat away at Yeovil, Forest would have wanted to get back to winning ways against a Blackpool side competing for promotion.
And the match looked promising at the start, with a couple of runs by Abdoun causing problems for the Tangerines’ defence.
However it was the away side that had the first notable opportunity. A Stephen Dobbie free kick from around 25 yards, deflected on its way, but Darlow did well to react and stick a leg out to block the attempt. Forest didn’t cause many problems for Matt Gilks in the Blackpool net, prompting frustration from The Reds support, which grew even more after witnessing what was to happen ten minutes before half time.
Djamel Abdoun, who had earlier looked promising down the wing, allowed Neal Bishop to get in front of him in the box, leading to the Forest man bringing him down. A penalty and red card was issued. Tom Ince stepped up, but his penalty was saved well down low by Darlow, and the rebound was also blocked by the Forest stopper.
Forests closest effort throughout the match came from Chris Cohen a few minutes later, whose 25 yard drive was tipped round the post.
The second half, much like the first, didn’t hold the answer to Forest hopes. Gilks was barely tested in a match that certainly won’t be one of the memorable ones. The Reds lacked what they needed in the final third to punish Blackpool, which expresses the need for a quality striker to be brought through the doors via the loan market, sooner rather than later.
The match looked like it had a draw written all over it; however nobody had told Stephen Dobbie that. The midfielder found room in the box and slotted it past Darlow into the bottom left corner. That sparked jubilation amongst the Tangerines support, who were witnessing their side improve on a great start to the season, whilst Forest fans and staff were left frustrated due to a controversial decision, as to whether or not there was an offside in the build-up to the match winner.
The full time whistle brought a few boos around the ground after the Reds faithful were left wondering what has happened to their previous good form.
The 1-0 defeat signalled Forest’s first loss at home this season and leaves Forest with just one point from their last three matches. The performance was poor and they didn’t really look like scoring today, something that will add to the calls for a new striker.
The positives for me from this match would be the performance of Karl Darlow, who received the Man of the Match award. It was also good to see young Jamaal Lascelles making progress and featuring for the second week running in the defence.
Forest will have to improve soon, as they face some very tough fixtures, starting with a trip to Leicester’s King Power Stadium next Saturday.