Huddersfield 0 – 2 Nottingham Forest: Reds ease past Terriers into round three

A bizarre own goal and Henri Lansbury toe poke saw Nottingham Forest come out 2-0 winners over Huddersfield Town this evening.

Forest boss Stuart Pearce made seven changes to the side that stormed to a 4-0 victory over Reading at the weekend.

The stand-out change was the return of talismanic midfielder Henri Lansbury, making his first appearance of the season following a lengthy injury absence.

The first half saw both teams with chances to take the lead, Huddersfield hitting the post through Jon Stead and Forest coming close through Lars Veldwijk and Michail Antonio respectively.

Lansbury looked sharp, pulling the strings in midfield while the other replacements were enthusiastic in their eagerness to impress.

The Reds went into the dressing room marginally on top and made a half-time substitution with Chris Burke replacing Antonio.

Forest continued to press in the second-half and looked on top for long periods.

However the Reds had to wait till the 72nd minute to break the deadlock, and in bizarre fashion.

A Jamie Paterson corner looked like an easy clearance for Huddersfield striker James Vaughan, but he inexplicably headed the ball into his own net, gifting Forest the lead.

Lansbury sealed the win 10 minutes later with a clever toe-poked finish from the edge of the area and in doing so sent Forest into the third round of the Capital One Cup.

“I don’t feel as though we weakened the team tonight, despite the changes,” Forest assistant manager Steve Wigley told BBC Radio Nottingham.

“We controlled the game for large periods and came out as worthy winners.

“We had full confidence that we could step up to the plate and win this game and we want to continue to do well in this competition.”

The Capital One Cup third round draw will take place tomorrow evening with Forest’s next game away against Sheffield Wednesday this Saturday at 12:15pm.

Huddersfield Town: Murphy, Smith (Holmes – 73′ ), Wallace, Dixon, Lynch, Bunn (Vaughan – 61′ ), Ward, Coady, Butterfield, Hammill, Stead (Scannell – 78′ ). Subs not used: Smithies, Sinnott, Crooks, Billing.

Nottingham Forest: Darlow, Lichaj, Lascelles, Mancienne, Hunt, Tesche, Osborn, Lansbury, Antonio (Burke – 45’ ), Paterson (Fryatt 79’ ), Veldwijk (Assombalonga – 66’ ). Subs not used: Harding, Fox, McLaughlin, Durrant.

Attendance: 6,509 (1,555 away)

 

Alex Clarke

@alexclarke881

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Nottingham Forest: Season preview

We’re deep into the world’s biggest football tournament, but most English football fans have had June 18 marked in their footballing diaries for weeks. But why? Is it because Spain are playing Chile tonight? Or because Australia face off against the Netherlands at tea-time? No. It’s because the domestic football fixtures for the 2014/15 season have been announced – and Nottingham Forest fans have got some real crackers to look forward to.

LOCAL DERBIES

Derby County (H) – Saturday 13th September 2014: 15:00

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The City Ground: Home of the Reds

Most Forest fan won’t even have bothered looking at our opening fixture, our final one – or any of the ones in between. The one game that matters to any and every die-hard fan is the East Midlands derby against fierce rivals Derby County. And the tricky trees won’t have long to wait, as just six games into the season the Rams will be travelling to the City Ground, looking to build on an impressive first season under former Forest boss Steve McClaren. Our last outing against Derby is something us Forest fans will want to forget in a hurry, but with a new boss in Stuart Pearce and hopefully the luxury of not having to play our reserves, vengeance could well be on the cards. Just don’t expect a 6-0 victory.

Derby County (A) – Saturday 17th January 2015: 15:00

It’s the business end of the season and I predict both teams will be occupying a play-off spot at the least coming into 2015. A fixture so deep into the domestic season won’t just be about bragging rights – every point will matter at this stage. Expect some Hawaiian shirts to be donned by the sheep, let’s just hope the temperatures are below freezing.

THE OPENER

Blackpool (H) – Saturday 9th August 2014: 15:00

After quickly scanning to see when we’re playing Derby, all eyes will be turning towards our opening game of the season. Stuart Pearce’s first game as Forest boss will suitably be played in front of a sell-out crowd at the City Ground. We haven’t had the best of luck against the Seasiders in recent years, losing at home against them last season and of course that fated play-off loss in 2010. Psycho will be sure to have the lads pumped up though, expect a Matty Fryatt hat-trick.

CHRISTMAS TIME

Middlesborough (A) – 26th December 2014 / Birmingham (H) – 28th December 2014

Away on Boxing Day. No fan wants to journey half-way across the country on a belly stuffed to brimming with turkey and roast potatoes. Unfortunately this season the Forest faithful will be travelling to the north-east to play mid-table specialists Middlesbrough. After that it’s a home tie against Birmingham on December 28 before a likely FA Cup round taking place during the New Year.

END OF SEASON RUN IN

Watford (H) – April 15th 2015 / Blackburn (A) – April 18th 2015 / Ipswich Town (A) – April 25th 2015

The going’ll get tough: End of season looks rough for Reds

Forest have got an ominous list of tough fixtures to end the season on, playing Watford at home (April 15), Blackburn away (April 18) and Ipswich away (April 25) before a tasty end of season clash at the City Ground against –

Cardiff (H) – Saturday 2nd May 2015: 15:00

What is it with Forest and always having a promotion six-pointer, at home, on the final day of the season? Last year it was Brighton, and the season before Leicester – with both teams defeating the Reds to claim the final play-off spot. Is it a pre-requisite for play-off qualification that teams must beat Nottingham Forest at their place in dramatic fashion? Our final game of the season is against bookies favourites for the title and newly relegated Cardiff City. A tough fixture to be sure, but here’s hoping we’re either well inside the top six or well outside of it come the last day – as I for one do not want to suffer another final fixture heartbreak.

Come what may, I think all Forest fans can be certain of one thing – it’s going to be another rollercoaster season in the most unpredictable league in the country. Come on you Reds!

Alex Clarke

@alexclarke881

For more News, Features and NTU Sport updates follow us on Twitter – @platformsport 

 

Full 2014/15 fixtures for Nottingham Forest:

09/08/2014 – Nottingham Forest v Blackpool (3pm)

16/08/2014 – Bolton Wanderers v Nottingham Forest (3pm)

19/08/2014 – A.F.C. Bournemouth v Nottingham Forest (7.45pm)

23/08/2014 – Nottingham Forest v Reading (3pm)

30/08/2014 – Sheffield Wednesday v Nottingham Forest (3pm)

13/09/2014 – Nottingham Forest v Derby County (3pm)

17/09/2014 – Nottingham Forest v Fulham (7.45pm)

20/09/2014 – Millwall v Nottingham Forest (3pm)

27/09/2014 – Nottingham Forest v Brighton (3pm)

30/09/2014 – Wigan Athletic v Nottingham Forest

04/10/2014 – Nottingham Forest v Ipswich Town (3pm)

18/10/2014 – Cardiff City v Nottingham Forest (3pm)

21/10/2014 – Watford v Nottingham Forest (7.45pm)

25/10/2014 – Nottingham Forest v Blackburn Rovers (3pm)

01/11/2014 – Huddersfield Town v Nottingham Forest (3pm)

05/11/2014 – Nottingham Forest v Brentford (7.45pm)

08/11/2014 – Nottingham Forest v Norwich City (3pm)

22/11/2014 – Wolverhampton v Nottingham Forest (3pm)

29/11/2014 – Birmingham City v Nottingham Forest (3pm)

06/12/2014 – Nottingham Forest v Charlton Athletic (3pm)

13/12/2014 – Rotherham United v Nottingham Forest (3pm)

20/12/2014 – Nottingham Forest v Leeds United (3pm)

26/12/2014 – Middlesbrough v Nottingham Forest (3pm)

28/12/2014 – Nottingham Forest v Birmingham City (3pm)

10/01/2015 – Nottingham Forest v Sheffield Wednesday (3pm)

17/01/2015 – Derby County v Nottingham Forest (3pm)

24/01/2015 – Fulham v Nottingham Forest (3pm)

31/01/2015 – Nottingham Forest v Millwall (3pm)

07/02/2015 – Brighton v Nottingham Forest (3pm)

11/02/2015 – Nottingham Forest v Wigan Athletic (7.45pm)

14/02/2015 – Blackpool v Nottingham Forest (3pm)

21/02/2015 – Nottingham Forest v Bolton Wanderers (3pm)

25/02/2015 – Nottingham Forest v A.F.C. Bournemouth (7.45pm)

28/02/2015 – Reading v Nottingham Forest (3pm)

03/03/2015 – Charlton Athletic v Nottingham Forest (7.45pm)

07/03/2015 – Nottingham Forest v Middlesbrough (3pm)

14/03/2015 – Leeds United v Nottingham Forest (3pm)

18/03/2015 – Nottingham Forest v Rotherham United (7.45pm)

21/03/2015 – Norwich City v Nottingham Forest (3pm)

04/04/2015 – Nottingham Forest v Wolverhampton (3pm)

06/04/2015 – Brentford v Nottingham Forest (3pm)

11/04/2015 – Nottingham Forest v Huddersfield Town (3pm)

15/04/2015 – Nottingham Forest v Watford (7.45pm)

18/04/2015 – Blackburn Rovers v Nottingham Forest (3pm)

25/04/2015 – Ipswich Town v Nottingham Forest (3pm)

02/05/2015 – Nottingham Forest v Cardiff City (3pm)

 

Brazil 2014: Group H preview

Dark horses: Can Belgium go all the way?

GROUP H –  Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea

The last group in the pecking order is one that is undeniably headlined by Belgium.  Their first appearance in the World Cup since 2002, Belgium’s ‘golden generation’ comprises of several world beaters including Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and Romelu Lukaku. However with great power comes great responsibility, and the rest of the group will be itching to cause an upset by overturning the Red Devil’s. Despite this potential pressure, you just can’t look past Belgium to top the group, yet stranger things have happened in the World Cup.

The proverbial underdogs of the group, Algeria will be hard pressed to progress beyond the group stages. We’ll remember them for that dismal goalless draw in Cape Town but Algeria will be hoping they can go one better against the rest of Group H. English fans will recognise Tottenham youngster Nabil Bentaleb and newly promoted Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez, while powerhouse striker Islam Slimani has the ability to score big goals.

Danger man: Playmaker Dzagoev can change a game in seconds

After a disappointing tenure with England, Fabio Capello will be striving to banish the demons of the past in Brazil this summer as manager of Russia. Having only conceded five goals in qualifying, Russia will be looking towards the talented Alan Dzagoev to carve out opportunities for front men Artem Dzyuba and Alexander Kerzhakov. The bookies favourites to follow Belgium into the last 16, Russia will need a positive result in their opener against Algeria to give themselves the best possible chance of doing so.

Two knockout appearances in the past three World Cups suggests South Korea have a decent chance of navigating their way out of the group. Sunderland’s Ki Sung-Yueng and Cardiff City’s Kim Bo-Kyung are both fine technicians in the centre of the park, but all eyes will be on Leverkusen’s wonderkid Son Heung-Min. The 21 year old is two-footed, absolutely rapid and with 10 goals from midfield for his club this season he could be the integral component in South Korea’s push for the last 16.

Final Standings

  1. Belgium
  2. South Korea
  3. Russia
  4. Algeria

 

Alex Clarke

@alexclarke881

– See more at: http://platform-online.net/2014/06/brazil-2014-group-h-preview/#sthash.wd4kv1HK.dpuf

World Cup 2014 lookalikes

With the World Cup just around the corner, Alex Clarke takes a look at the potential stars of Brazil and the doppelgangers they were separated from at birth.

Luis Suarez and Basil Brush


An irritating rodent and a fictional star of British children’s television, both are liable to crack a cheeky grin following mischievous behaviour. One likes to take chunks out of Serbian defenders while the other is famous for arguably the most irritating catchphrase in television history. The Uruguayan forward has reportedly recovered from his knee operation and looks set to start against England in São Paulo. Watch out Cahill and Jagielka, marking Suarez is a potentially dangerous assignment.

Andrea Pirlo and Chuck Norris

In complete contrast to the previous pair, these two ‘heroes of the beard’ are much loved ambassadors for their respective areas of expertise. The resemblance is striking, mainly due to their glorious facial hair, but also because of the respect and love they have earned through their careers. Pirlo is a midfield maestro and model professional, while anyone who can go head to head with Bruce Lee and live to tell the tale deserves the greatest of plaudits.

Fernando Torres and Brüno

The former is often the subject of ridicule for his questionable goal-scoring ability while the latter is a homosexual fashion journalist. In their prime both sported superb locks of golden hair – and was it just mere coincidence that the year Brüno’s film was released was also one of Torres’ most successful seasons in English football? We think not.

James Milner and Lee Evans

Famed for his tedious approach to football interviews, the England and Manchester City journeyman is the spitting image of the Welsh comic actor. Milner has inspired a twitter account well known for its mundane approach to everyday activities while Evans is one of Britain’s highest selling stand-up comedians. The personalities of the two could not be further apart, but will Milner provide us with laughs or tears this summer in Brazil?

Adnan Januzaj and Macaulay Culkin

One is a Belgian superstar in the making, the other an actor turned musician who likes to get booed off Nottingham stages. While Culkin enjoys handing out pizza and foiling the plans of dastardly criminals, Januzaj has been tipped to become one of the best wingers in the world. Although it remains to be seen whether Januzaj will play a part in Belgium’s World Cup campaign, it’s certain that Kevin Mcallister would be able to deal with any tricky opposition tactics.

Well there we have it. What other celebrity lookalikes are out there? Let us know.

 

Alex Clarke

@alex.clarke881

 

Shaun Derry pre-match interveiw: “It’s time to get nervous again”

Shaun Derry said “it’s time to get nervous again” ahead of Notts County’s penultimate clash of the season against Swindon Town this Saturday.

The Magpies currently sit just inside the relegation zone, one point from safety with two vital fixtures still to play.

A mere month ago Notts were stranded at the foot of League One staring relegation in the face.

But five wins in seven have seen Derry’s men steadily clawing their way to safety and a win this weekend could see them perched precariously above the relegation zone going into the last game of the season.

County boss Shaun Derry said: “I always stressed it would be the last six or seven games of the season where you would get some weird and wonderful results and it’s certainly proven to be the case here.

“Given our recent form I really hope we’ve turned that corner and really realise what it means to be consistent and this large amount of points we’ve amassed the past few games has been down to our character.”

County had to endure a nervy final few minutes in their last league outing against Crawley Town on Monday, holding out for a crucial 1-0 victory courtesy of a Jimmy Spencer header in the first half.

And it is the spirit of his side which could make the difference in County’s remaining two fixtures, according to Derry.

He said: “After the sorry loss to Tranmere many people wrote us off, but on Monday we showed the resolve, determination and sturdiness to hang in there.

“I think the realisation that we can survive has set in now and has become engrained into the players’ mental state, which is great for me as a manager.”

Derry also believes his experience as a player in similar high-pressure situations can inspire his team.

He said: “Although this is an entirely new experience for me as a manager – as a player I’ve always had something to play for, whether its fighting for promotion or battling relegation, so it’s a position in which I can relate to the players.”

Playoff chasers Swindon Town visit Meadow Lane this weekend with much to play for themselves and Derry believes this may work in County’s favour.

“This game means a lot to both teams yet I know my players can really play under pressure, they have been all season.

“Swindon have to win this Saturday, but that’s been our situation for a while now and the players are used to this mentality and have overcome it in recent weeks.”

Derry called on the Meadow Lane faithful to replicate their support in the final home game of the season.

“We had the highest attendance of the season against Crawley and they were one of the reasons we were able to hang on for the win.

“From the moment I arrived they’ve been absolutely behind us – we’ve had some darks days this season but they’ve been with us every step of the way.”

County have no fresh injury doubts ahead of this weekends clash with on-loan Bolton midfielder Josh Vela set to return to the fold after missing out against Crawley on Monday.

Derry was quick to praise his players in regards to their recent resurgence in the league.

He said: “The players have to take a huge amount of credit as they’re the ones that go out and put in the performances every Saturday afternoon and Tuesday night.

“It’s all about clichés at this stage of the year and I’ve just told them to concentrate on their own game and if we approach the match in the right way then we’ll do well.”

Notts County’s match against Swindon Town kicks off at 3pm this Saturday at Meadow Lane.

Alex Clarke @alex.clarke881

Peter Adams @peterjayadams

 

Can Burnley be caught?

Chris Woods' spectacular winner secured all three points for Leicester

Chris Woods’ spectacular winner sealed all three points for Leicester

IN arguably the biggest clash of the weekend, division leaders Leicester took a decisive step towards the Championship title with a convincing 2-0 victory over second placed Burnley.

However while Leicester celebrated a win which will almost certainly see them return to the Premier League as division champions, it left Burnley glancing nervously over their shoulders at the chasing pack.

The disappointing loss was made worse by news that prolific striker Sam Vokes ruptured a ligament in his knee, limping off the field after only five minutes at Turf Moor last Saturday.

The 24-year-old will join fellow forward Danny Ings on the injury table, with their 40 goals combined accounting for over 60% of Burnley’s goal tally this season.

This setback leaves manager Sean Dyche with Ashley Barnes, who has just one goal in 14 appearances, as his only fit senior striker.

Vokes look set to miss the rest of the season

Vokes look set to miss the rest of the season

Burnley’s stability and envious luxury to routinely name an unchanged line-up has been the key to their consistent form this campaign, but injuries to their top scorers along with their first defeat at Turf Moor in over a year means their fairy-tale season now hangs in the balance.

Their next two matches are away against a Barnsley outfit, fighting for the lives, who have won their last two and a resurgent Watford, who thumped Sheffield Wednesday 4-1 in their last league outing.

These next two ties will prove crucial to the Clarets’ promotion aspirations and disappointing results could leave chasers QPR and Derby poised to snatch that much sought after second promotion spot which Burnley have held for so long.

Alex Clarke (@alex.clarke881)

Inside the Nottingham Forest ground with Fawaz

A hearty round of applause greets him as his Mercedes pulls up outside The City Ground. There is no fanfare and it’s certainly not a grand entrance, but Fawaz Al-Hasawi is a humble man. Decked in a black jacket and a pair of grey jogging bottoms, he gives a warm smile and quick wave to the several hundred fans who are queuing patiently outside before entering the reception of the main stand.

Not every chairman would open the doors of his football club to the public, for free, on a blustery Thursday afternoon. But then again the Nottingham Forest owner is no ordinary chairman.

The Al-Hasawi family took over a football club on the slide. A football club with trophies to their name, yet a football club that didn’t have much to brag or cheer about over the past few years.

A 19th placed finish in the Championship the previous season, compounded by the tragic death of then owner and chairman Nigel Doughty, had left a somber and discouraging atmosphere hanging over the club.

But in the summer of 2012 a passionate man made a decision to buy this football club, and in the process became an heroic figure to many of the club’s supporters.

And this passion is plainly evident on his face as he greets each and every fan with the same enthusiasm, never turning down a handshake, a photo or even just a quick chat.

“I still think we can do it this year and win promotion to the Premier League” he tells an elderly couple in front of me, “and if not, then we just accept it and start preparing for next season.”

An exchange of pleasantries is followed by a questionably blurry photo taken by his friend. Then it’s a handshake and a pat on the back and we’re ushered away, but you can’t criticise him – after all he’s got a lot of hands to shake and a lot of backs to pat today.

After a quick photo in front of the European Cup with club legend John McGovern (who will he be supporting this Saturday I wonder?), it’s on to the pitch for the unique chance to sit in the dugout and throw your arms in the air and do your best impersonation of Forest manager Billy Davis in the technical area.

You can even sit in the director’s box and have a wonder down the tunnel, although there are no referees in sight, just in case you were inclined to continue your managerial impersonations.

It is every football fans’ dream to walk onto the hallowed turf of their home ground, browse the silverware and absorb their beloved club’s history, and across the country you’d probably pay good money to achieve these very things.

Yet at this particular football club supporters have been presented with the incredibly generous opportunity to meet the man many of them admire and also to revere in the long history of a club doing their best to get back to where they belong.

No matter what else is happening behind the scenes at Nottingham Forest currently, all Reds fans can be certain of one thing, Fawaz is here to stay.

Alex Clarke

(@alexclarke881)