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Garry Birtles criticises key part of Nottingham Forest’s game after Middlesbrough draw

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Garry Birtles has admitted that he was concerned after watching Nottingham Forest draw 1-1 with Middlesbrough on Tuesday night. 

The Reds weren’t at their best against Jonathan Woodgate’s side, and suffered a late blow for the second successive game as Paddy McNair netted a penalty in the latter stages of the contest.

Forest dominated possession throughout the encounter, but were unable to create any real clear-cut chances and they lacked that final ball in the attacking third.

Ryan Yates did put Sabri Lamouchi’s side ahead with a header in the second-half, but they were left to rue their toothless display in front of goal when McNair scored from 12 yards.

This isn’t the first time Forest have struggled to put their chances away. In their previous home game, Forest had 32 shots on goal but still fell to a 1-0 defeat against Cardiff City.

Speaking to Nottinghamshire Live, Birtles admitted that it was concerning to watch Forest draw the game, and the ex-Reds striker criticised their lack of cutting edge up top.

He said: “Watching the last couple of games at the City Ground, Nottingham Forest’s home form has to be a concern. We get one goal and we sat back. It reminded me of the West Brom display at the start of the season and we were found out.

“As poor as Boro were and make no mistake about it, they were awful, especially in that first half, seeing Forest go into their shell after Ryan Yates’ header would have given them confidence.

Can you get 15 out of 15 on this Forest quiz?

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What position did Nottingham Forest finish in the 2011/12 Championship campaign?

“There’s no shortage of creative options there, but for some reason when it comes to playing at the City Ground, there’s an anxiety, a nervousness about their play and that’s something I really don’t understand the origin of.

“The expectation has risen, of course it has and with that, the crowds have been consistently big so with that comes an added pressure. Could it be that? I’m not so sure, and I really hope it isn’t. You should love playing at the City Ground with that crowd.”

After winning only one of their last five league games since returning from the international break, Forest now sit 12 points off the automatic promotion places with a game in hand.

The Reds take on Sheffield Wednesday at the City Ground this weekend, in what should be a tough test against another top six contender.

The Verdict

Forest weren’t at the races on Tuesday night, and despite dominating the ball they deserved to draw the game.

It seemed like they just lacked so much belief and quality in the final third – there was a moment where Joe Lolley could have shot, but he squared the ball for Lewis Grabban 12 yards out and the pass was way over-hit.

They will need to improve on this, as this can be the difference in the race for promotion.


Nottingham-based journalist who regularly covers Nottingham Forest home and away.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Garry Birtles criticises key part of Nottingham Forest’s game after Middlesbrough draw

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