I’d hoped this article would be able to look back at a successful semi-final, and look forward to a final. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
So, we lost the first leg 2-1, after going ahead through a strike from Chris Cohen worthy of gracing any top flight league in the world. Unfortunately some lax defending led to an equaliser and Blackpool took the lead after Perch bundled over DJ Campbell in the box for Adam to slot home from 12 yards. We had chances, we hit the bar, and in the dying seconds Cohen forced an excellent save from Matt Gilks with
yet another wonderful strike.
The agonising three-day wait until the second leg came and went. Emotions fluctuated from extreme pessimism to eternal optimism. One minute I thought we’d roll over, and the next I was thinking we’d be emulating Chelsea’s eight-goal victory over Wigan. As kick off approached nerves reached a screaming crescendo, and I thought an early goal was needed purely for my own sanity! That came from Earnshaw, and we seemed to settle into the game. I’m not going to dwell too much on what happened over the following 83 minutes. Anyone who has supported Forest for some time will know what was about to come, it was a second leg playoff semi final, after all.
So, we lost the game. We’re not going to Wembley, we’re not going to be in the Premiership next season. However, some positives need to be stated. Last season we were praying to still be in the Championship, and our target this season was simply to secure our Championship place a little bit earlier than we did last year. Getting to where we were was all a bonus, and testament to what Billy has done at the club.
Blackpool beat us twice in the league, and twice in the playoffs. They seem to know how to play against us, so all credit to them, they came to Nottingham and did their jobs well. They did it with dignity and decorum, too. They deserved to win the semi overall, and hopefully they will go on to beat whoever they play in the final. The Premiership will be a better place with Ian Holloway in it, and Blackpool at least try to play the game the right way.
My abject disappointment of last night has subsided, slightly. I’m gutted that we didn’t win, but I’m exceptionally proud of the players, the staff and the management. This season has been wonderful. We’ve beaten Derby, we’ve stuffed Leicester, we won a game 5-0, and we’ve scored some wonderful goals along the way. We’ve seen Majewski score two goals of the highest standard; we’ve seen Forest pass the ball through teams as though they weren’t there, and we’ve seen Luke Chambers score a back heeled volley. We’ve seen a reasonably full City Ground every week in fine voice, we’ve experienced more highs than lows this season, and I can safely say, this has been the best season for a very long time.
Hopefully we can strengthen for next season, and mount a good challenge again. We need to take this momentum and use it to advance rather than dwell on what could have been. We will be promoted to the Premiership, but we will do it when we are entirely ready.
This isn’t my season sign off, I intend to write a proper season appraisal, and indeed keep going throughout the summer with developments from the City Ground. I will leave you with some thoughts, though: last night I went to bed proud to be a Forest fan, as I would do if we were in the Premier League or the Blue Square Premier League.
Good luck Blackpool, I hope you smash the winners of the ‘financial grey area’ semi final. Inabit, youth.
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