Author Topic: Jack and Loz at the Cottage - Blog 72 Forest  (Read 2231 times)

Offline Friendsoffulham

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Jack and Loz at the Cottage - Blog 72 Forest
« on: February 04, 2018, 12:53:11 PM »
Jack and Loz at the Cottage - Blog 72
Date: 3rd February 2018

Opposition: Nottingham Forest

Score: 2-0

Weather: cold and wet

Atmosphere: nervous but good

Opposition fans: an excellent turn out from the noisy Forest fans who saw some good football but no goals from their team

MOTM (football): Marcus Bettinelli was kept busy by Forest but this was a faultless performance from him to keep a clean sheet. Dangerous crosses and dodgy back passes were dealt with equally well and his triple save towards the end of the second half kept us in the game and was as valuable as a goal at that point

MOTM (non-football): it has been Brede Hangeland Week this week (which should be an annual celebration as far as we are concerned). Excellent interviews by Fulham Focus and Fulhamish Podcast in which Brede relived the great escape and the Europa run and discussed his favourite cheeses were topped off by a visit to the Cottage from the man himself. He looked totally at home back on the pitch: a Fulham giant in every sense.

Pub: the Blue Boat, our new favourite

As regular readers will know, we went to the Tuscany of the North (aka Barnsley) last weekend where we enjoyed everything from the Yorkshire tea to the slightly more sparkling drinks we had to celebrate Kevin McDonald's Messi-like, sorry - no, Kevin McDonald's messy winning goal. It was great to be back home at the Cottage on Saturday following the gripping end to Fulham's transfer window in which the excellently named Cyrus Christie and the dubiously reputationed Aleksandar Mitrovic arrived in a typically Fulhamish late period of activity.

Our opponents Nottingham Forest had also had a good transfer window so we were under no illusions that keeping our unbeaten run going would be easy. The first half of the match would have been entertaining for a neutral but was frustrating for Fulham fans with some near misses at the front and some uncharacteristic mistakes at the back. Having liked our first sighting of Matttt Ttargetttt last week we were really impressed with him on Saturday. He is so comfortable on the ball that his expertise with his left foot almost looks casual. This was one of Norwood's best games for a while, ditto Kalas.

At half time we enjoyed the Brede interview and a birthday shout out (same age as Ttargetttt's shirt number again!) whilst Slav briefly shed his enormous coat, spoke gruffly about improvements and gave Rui Fonte his 10 minute warning. Denis Odoi, meanwhile, joined in with the children's penalty shoot out proving that he takes his role as utility player very seriously indeed.

Forest are no Burton or Barnsley. They are a well organised solid team with some good players. They had an excellent spell at the start of the second half which we only just survived unscathed. They defended well but the main difference between them and us was that when they made mistakes we capitalised on them. Both goals came this way (and via a lot of hard work from Piazon and Stefjo) and despite Forest's best efforts the Fulham defence stood firm and they could register no reply.

The 2-0 score line is slightly flattering to Fulham but both the victory and the clean sheet were well deserved. This was a game which at the start of the season could well have ended 1-1 or, at best 1-0 with a terrifying last 10 minutes with Fulham in panic mode clinging onto a lead, Hull at home for example and Sheffield United away. Whilst there have been subtle changes in our style as the season has progressed and vast improvements in areas like shooting, shooting accurately, shooting clinically, shooting quickly and making the decision to shoot what has really changed is the mentality of the players. We all love the fact that Fulham is about fair play and respecting the game and your opponent but sometimes in the past (both distant and recent) we have been too respectful. We have been generous even, giving away points to a team who needed them more that we did.

But those days are gone. Slavisa Jokanovic has imposed his controlled agression, his intense focus and his ruthless streak on his team. There is no more Mr Nice Fulham. There is almost, dare we say it, no more Fulhamishness. The team is a finely tuned machine which will play fair but which will fight for promotion, and fight hard for it.

Random musings:-

- we liked what we saw of mean, moody, menacing Mitrovic. It's only a matter of time before her scores.

- Tom Cairney is still off sick but interestingly the team didn't seem to miss his creative skills on Saturday. They didn't miss him as captain either as that is a role Kevin McDonald has very much made his own. The fact of the matter is most of the meteoric rise of the table has been accomplished without him and whilst it's not his fault he's injured and it's not really his fault that he had his head turned by West Ham, he's not endearing himself to fans by his lack of support for his team mates on social media. How long does it take to tweet "great game from the lads. Wish I could of been there"?

- on the subject of sick leave it was great to see Ayite back on the pitch and looking lively

- finally it was also nice to see Ashkan Dejagah again and we wish him well at Forest

Fulham finished Saturday in 5th place in the table, uncharted territory after last year's 6th place finish. It is hard to overstate the outstanding nature of the current unbeaten run but we know that matches are going to get harder and the ascent is going to get steeper. Whilst the prospect of a challenge for 2nd is enticing the teams around us now are the others in good form and it may be that all roads lead to Wembley. Whatever happens, the rest of the season is going to be thrilling as Fulham go all out in the race to the finish.

Offline OdecaMynoT

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Re: Jack and Loz at the Cottage - Blog 72 Forest
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2018, 01:08:42 PM »
Excellent, amusing, accurate read.

Well done and thanks.  082.gif

Offline Snibbo

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Re: Jack and Loz at the Cottage - Blog 72 Forest
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2018, 01:29:04 PM »
Excellent, amusing, accurate read.

Well done and thanks.  082.gif

 :plus one:

Offline hovewhite

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Re: Jack and Loz at the Cottage - Blog 72 Forest
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2018, 06:14:32 PM »
Very entertaining.