Sep 11 2006, 11:13 AM
CALDERWOOD: FOREST START TO REBUILD SELF-BELIEF
12:00 - 11 September 2006
Forest manager Colin Calderwood says he knew his side would win at Yeovil - from the moment he sampled the pre-match atmosphere in the dressing room.
The Reds boss sang his side's praises after their perseverance paid off, with Grant Holt clinching the game with an 87th-minute goal.
It was Forest's sixth win from seven league matches and gained a little revenge for their 3-0 humiliation at Huish Park last season.
"It was a great atmosphere in the dressing room before the game. I'd take that for the next 38 games, I'll tell you," said Calderwood.
"The way they were before the match was absolutely fantastic. They were really clued in, really focused.
"The atmosphere they created, the pure togetherness, was an improvement from the start of the season.
"At the start of the season people were hoping that they would do all right as an individual and that the team might benefit from that.
"At the minute the feeling is that they hope the team does well - and because of that they will benefit as individuals.
"It has to be because of the start we have made, by getting victories. The start we have made has put a smile on everyone's faces."
But Calderwood says the sense of belief after the 1-0 victory is not just limited to those in the playing squad. "It is not just at the club, but around the city," he said. "What people think of us seems to be very positive at the minute.
"But because of that the players come together on a Saturday afternoon, because they take the help of the supporters.
"But they are the ones who have to do it, who work and prepare for matches - they have to drive each other on. That is what they did on Saturday, there was a real effort."
The game was decided by an 87th-minute volley from Holt, who took his tally to five for the season.
"Grant did fine, but some people's fine and what we think is fine, what the players' think is a good performance, might be slightly different," said Calderwood.
"Glory isn't always in the goalscorer, reward isn't always earned by scoring the winning goal. He knows that he has worked a shift in terms of his physical effort and he gets a reward for that.
"It is not just me believing that he can do better in games, I think he believes it."
The one negative aspect to the win were injuries to both Danny Cullip (muscle tear) and John Curtis (hamstring), who both had to be substituted in the first half. "I am not a physio, but I think we are looking at four weeks for Danny, if it is as bad as we fear," added Calderwood. "But we have good spirit, good physios,"
Sep 11 2006, 11:15 AM
TEAM SPIRIT IS FUELLING FOREST
12:00 - 11 September 2006
Yeovil 0 - 1 Nottingham Forest
IT is now 20 games since Nottingham Forest last failed to score in League One. But, mainly thanks to the determination of former Notts County man Steve Mildenhall, it was a statistic under considerable threat at Yeovil.
Fortunately, while the performance of their goalkeeper helped the home side hold out until the 87th minute, Forest were not short of perseverance themselves.
Which is why, after seven matches of the season, the Nottingham Forest bandwagon continues to roll and there are plenty of statistics for Reds fans to smile about. Seven games, six wins, no defeats, 12 goals scored and only two conceded and, most importantly, a three-point lead at the top of the table.
They could barely have wished for a better start.
The headlines, ultimately, were grabbed by Grant Holt. His fifth - or sixth, if that debated strike at Blackpool is credited to him, rather than Jack Lester - goal of the season earned his side their most hard-fought victory yet.
While it was Holt's driving volley into the turf which bounced up into the roof of the net put an end the hopes of sprightly and stubborn Yeovil, this was unquestionably a performance and a victory that was earned by the strength of the team.
It was a performance, as much as a result, which clearly delighted manager Colin Calderwood.
Forest had a point to prove following the 3-0 drubbing at Huish Park on their last visit, which provided one of the low points of the dismal tenure of Gary Megson.
Of the 16 players involved in October last year, only seven were included in the squad on Saturday. But while there was a change in personnel, the contrast in character was more significant.
Yeovil have themselves gone through a change of manager, after Gary Johnson departed for Bristol City.
But, under Russell Slade, they again combined a strong sense of organisation with some flowing football of their own.
It made for an entertaining game, although, while the home side perhaps enjoyed more possession, it was Forest who carved out the better opportunities.
Paul Smith had to make two or three capable saves, the most notable of which were a close-range block to deny Lee Morris, followed by an instinctive save with his feet after Wayne Gray had struck a low shot from the edge of the box.
But it was Mildenhall who was the busier of the two keepers, as he denied Jack Lester and Neil Harris from close-range volleys and Holt, after the striker had produced a powerful downwards header in the first half.
Holt was eventually to beat Mildenhall, as he lashed home after Ian Breckin had flicked on a Nicky Southall corner, to earn Forest three points and ease the frustration of seeing Danny Cullip and John Curtis limp off with injuries in the first half - with Cullip facing up to a month on the sidelines with a suspected muscle tear.
Holt's goal was, of course, the defining moment.
But an upbeat Calderwood was keener after the match to stress the all-round team performance. Forest had started the season performing as individuals, he said, now they were playing for the team and reaping the benefit.
There is clearly a fresh spirit in the dressing room - one that is in stark contrast to last season and is perhaps a significant reason as to why virtually the same squad of players are now sat at the top of the table, rather than languishing in the bottom reaches.
At this stage last season Forest were struggling in 21st place, having mustered just two wins from their opening seven games, along with five dismal defeats.
Megson had offered to resign, following a 2-0 defeat at Barnsley, the painful finale of which was a long, humiliating walk towards the tunnel for the players and manager, in front of a huge contingent of travelling fans, who booed and jeered them every painful step of the way. On Saturday there were only cheers, as the Forest squad made their way over to the Forest faithful to receive their adulation.
There is a long way to go, the season is still in its infancy. But, if the evidence of what we have seen so far is anything to go by, then there is reason for hope.
Last season, the optimism was fuelled by the number of talented individuals Megson, to his credit, had brought to the club.
Crucially, this time, it is the strength of those same players - with one or two additions - together, as a team, which makes you believe this could finally be a club on the way up.
Yeovil: Mildenhall, Jones, Skiverton, Forbes, Terry, Gray (Webb, 84 (Davies, 90)), Cohen, Kalala, Lynch, Morris (Welsh, 74), Stewart. Subs not used: Guyett,, Barry.
Forest: Smith, Curtis (Clingan 32), Breckin, Cullip (Morgan, 22), Bennett, Gary Holt, Perch, Southall, Lester (Agogo, 64), Grant Holt, Harris Subs not used: Thompson, Pedersen.
Referee: Mick Russell (Hertfordshire)
Sep 11 2006, 11:16 AM
NOT PRETTY, BUT RICHLY SATISFYING
12:00 - 11 September 2006
There's something about this part of the country. Tucked away in the south west of England, it has the "Heart of a country and mind of city", or so you're reminded upon entry of Yeovil. More like heart of a lion - but it serves as apt warning to its visitors that there's more to these parts than initially meets the eye.
As calming as the surrounding countryside should be, it only serves to stoke the ire in opposing managers - Nottingham Forest ones in particular.
Even the name sounds gentile enough.
It evokes images of an English country garden - rose bushes, privet hedges and the like.
But it was at this venue last season that Gary Megson infamously deployed assistance from the terraces during his after match briefing.
Just short of a year on, Colin Calderwood was suitably ruffled to discard his favoured formation after only half an hour.
Stalking up and down his technical area, while his three-man defence struggled to cope with Yeovil's attacks, he reverted to a 4-4-2 formation and reaped the rewards.
True he was forced into changes of sorts given injuries to Danny Cullip and John Curtis but in Wes Morgan, John Thompson and James Perch, he had enough central defenders to maintain his favoured formation.
They were the actions of a man in total control of the situation - and in stark contrast to those of his predecessor's at the same ground.
There was no sign of Calderwood trotting up to the Red embankment for advice.
If the performance in the same fixture last year suggested Megson had hit a brick wall in terms of tactics, the extreme measure of inviting fans into the dressing room afterwards suggested he'd reached a similar block when it came to inspiring his charges.
Not so Calderwood.
From the day he walked into the City Ground, it was clear his regime would be different.
As a player who responded to an arm around the shoulder rather than a brick bat, the mutual respect between him and his players has been abundantly evident.
While it is easy to keep everyone smiling when results are going well, such is the impression Calderwood's approach has left on the dressing room that it's difficult to imagine mutinies even in the unlikely event that results turn sour.
Simple things such as naming an unchanged side on Saturday despite the return of Sammy Clingan from international duty and the arrival of Junior Agogo, will have been well received.
The message to the likes of Neil Harris and the rest of the squad was clear: "Play well and you're picked."
Likewise his actions after little over half an hour was evidence of a steelier side to the manager.
Calderwood is a genial man but one who is steadfastly focused on the job at hand.
Fiercely ambitious, he wants to manage at the level that he played his career - and as soon as possible.
Since arriving, results have been the name of the game. Save for the Accrington Stanley aberration, his record is beyond question.
Saturday was hardly classic Forest but there have been few results this season that will have been more satisfying to Calderwood.
A tactical switch that paid dividends and a performance of such character that you never believed they would lose the match.
Forest had the better of the chances and, but for Steve Mildenhall, could have put the game away long before Grant Holt's last-gasp strike.
If there were any lingering doubts as to Forest's title credentials, it is results like this that should dispel them immediately.
Sep 11 2006, 11:17 AM
FOREST 'WILL BE HARD TO STOP'
12:00 - 11 September 2006
Russell Slade believes Forest will take some stopping in League One this season and hopes they will one day return to the Premiership.
The Yeovil manager said: "Colin Calderwood has got experienced players with savvy and know-how.
"They are more direct than Forest sides I have seen in the past and I've been watching as far back as Brian Clough.
"But they are playing to their strengths and you don't knock what's not broken.
"The results have been resounding so far and for me they are a Premiership football club. I hope they will be again one day."
Forest are now showing the dividends of a good pre-season training under their belts and with the quality & determination in the squad we are finally getting good results:clap Keep going reds along hill still the climb but i believe we will be top dogs come next may:clap
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