Nottingham Forest 2 – 0 Blackpool

The 2014-15 City Ground curtain raiser saw two sides meet who’s summers had been polar opposites. The home side, Forest, having added numerous new players including Matty Fryatt and club record signing Britt Assombolonga. Blackpool however have had 3 torrid months with fan protests and managerial unrest, as well as infamously having only 8 players until a few weeks ago. It was a sell out crowd in Nottingham for the managerial debut of club legend Stuart Pearce and in terms of the match, everything seemed to go by the script. Forest dominated the ball as you would expect but it took a moment of magic by Andy Reid to break the dead-lock, his shot bouncing of the post to allow new signing Michail Antonio to score on his debut. Chris Burke quickly doubled the lead with another screamer which meant Forest lead 2-0 at half time, with Blackpool understandably so, offering very little. Despite only mustering 4 subs ‘Pool boss Jose Riga managed to make successful tactical changes for the second half – switching to a 442 formation. The improved display was to no avail though, as the second half didn’t offer a lot more offensively for the visitors and the game died down. Forest comfortably holding on for a solid victory.

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Nottingham Forest

Karl Darlow Confirmation of his move to Newcastle was released just before the game, with Darlow returning on loan for the next season, but it didn’t affect his performance. Did not have a lot to do but went about his business well. 7.0
Jack Hunt Linked up well going forward with Chris Burke, did do a few rash challenges and ended up getting booked however. 6.5
Michael Mancienne Received the the MOTM award from the home side sponsors as he dealt with any potential counter attacks Blackpool threatened with through Nathen Delfouneso’s pace. Was very impressive on debut. 7.5
Danny Fox Played at centre back for most of preseason Fox followed up those fine displays with another composed performance, distributed the ball well. 7.5
Dan Harding Exploited the space left on by Blackpool on the left hand side brilliantly, helping Forest spread the play and stretch the seasiders, but did lack end product. 7.0
Chris Burke Was almost unplayable on his debut, Burke constantly tormented the stand-in full back David Perkins regularly beating him to the point where he was almost show-boating. To add to this Burke scored a fantastic goal from 25 yards to cap off a great first game. 9.0
Chris Cohen On his first start in 9 months Cohen was played in his more natural midfield role, deployed deeper to allow Reid to roam, Cohen shelterd the back four effectively. As well as carrying the ball forward and supporting attacks from deep. 7.0
Andy Reid Produced the level of performance Forest fans have become used to seeing from him, his brilliant shot assisted the vital opening goal and his passing was, 9 times of out 10, inch perfect. 8.0
Michail Antonio Scored on debut but did not offer a lot else, his pace and power are his obvious assets, but clunky first touch occasionally letting him down. 6.5
Matty Fryatt Looked good and very composed when on the ball, my only criticism would be he often passes to a team mate when he could go alone 6.0
Britt Assombolonga As the clubs new record signing, the hype surrounding how he played makes it difficult to live up to it and at times it seemed like he was trying to hard. As soon as Forest looked to have to game won his started trying to score from anywhere 5.0

Substitutions

Eric Lichaj Subbed on late to give him some minutes to help recover from his long term injury, did not have a real effect on the match 3.0
Stephan McLaughlin Replaced Antonio and did not have a particularly good 25 minutes or so as th game died down 4.5
Ben Osborn Helped forest keep the ball and did what manager Pearce put him on to do 6.0

Blackpool

Joe Lewis Was a victim of the 2 unstoppable goals and besides them managed to keep Forest forwards at bay 5.0
Anthony McMahon Lost Antonio for the first goal but then often came out on top when left 1 on 1 with him, and kept Harding quiet on his escapades forward 6.5
Donervon Daniels Looked impressive after on signing on loan from West Brom this week, his strength often stopping Forest counter attack dead when they tried to pass him 6.5
Peter Clarke Did not look as solid as Daniels on his return to the club, but ultimately did nothing wrong 5.0
David Perkins A bit unfair as he is not a natural LB, but deployed there today he did not have a good afternoon, got beaten countless times and going forward could not find a team mate 2.0
Sergei Zenjov The new signing was one of a number of players that had to be deployed out of position, on the right wing, and really added nothing offensively + lost Harding regularly 3.5
John Lundstram The youngster was a bit overwhelmed, didn’t get close to enough to Forests influential midfielders which allowed them to pick their passes 4.5
Andrea Orlandi The only Blackpool player who looked like causing the Forest keeper any troubles, occasionally finding space in the home teams half and went close with left footed curling effort 7.5
Tomasz Cywka Like Zenjov did not add a lot or pick up the right backs forays forward, scored a screamer at the City Ground last year but never looked like repeating it 4.0
Jacob Mellis Didn’t look fully fit in all honesty as he looked reluctant to run as Forest defenders or support Delfouneso on the break 3.5
Nathan Delfouneso Had a really tough job as a lone striker with little support and considering this he had a good game. Chased every long ball and held it up a few times. At one point he got the ball and countered forest, by the time one team mate was near him to help 7 Forest players were back 6,5

Substitutions

Dominic Telford Did nothing to catch the eye after he came on as one of only four available substitutes 5.0

Man of the Match

Chris Burke: With honourable mentions to Andy Reid and Michael Mancienne, Burke is my man of the match, scored a pearler and was a pain in the travellers side until he was eventually subbed. Forests long balls from midfield to the wings were all controlled with aplomb by the former Cardiff and Birmingham man and his quick footwork was hard for Blackpool to deal with. 9.0

Highlights can be found here


About Author

Nottingham Forest supporter home and away, Andy Reid's left foot appreciator. 17 at college and hoping to go on to take Sports Journalism at uni.