Forest suffered their third consecutive defeat at the weekend which highlighted the sheer lack of fire power at the club.
Despite starting the game brightly, an injury to Jamie Ward changed the contest dramatically.
It also provided solid proof that Tyler Walker isn’t ready for Championship football. From the second that he entered the field of play I knew that we would not win this game.
There was a real buzz around the ground when Chris Cohen was set to start his first league game of the season, and after 15 minutes it looked like a win was on the cards.
Forest were on the front foot and more importantly were playing with two strikers. Oliveira and Ward linked up well and the latter was guilty of wasting a couple of great chances before he exited the game.
Nelson Oliveira curled a peach of a cross with the outside of his right foot, Ward somehow blazed over the bar from five yards out.
Then came the real game changer; Jamie Ward pulled up with a hamstring injury and was replaced by (son of Des) Tyler Walker, given the rapturous reception from the stands you’d think that he was the son of God!
It was a choice between himself and Dexter Blackstock and in all honesty that doesn’t give even the eternal optimist much hope. Had O’Grady been available then surely he would have been the obvious replacement for Ward.
It was a huge surprise to see Forest take the lead in the 29th minute, Cohen’s free kick actually fell short of his intended target but Bristol failed to clear it properly and Ben Osborn punished them with a low strike.
Despite playing with a lone striker, City looked like they were destined to score before the half was over. Luke Freeman was excellent on the right and Lee Tomlin began to show what he’s capable of. The deserved equaliser came after 40 minutes when Joe Byron’s long range effort rebounded off the right hand post and was tapped home by Jonathan Kodjia.
I cannot remember Forest having a real effort at goal in the second period, Nelson Oliveira was way off form and his selfish play deserved little reward. As for Walker, he was bullied by the Bristol centre halves and looked visibly shaken.
Nathan Barker and Aidan Flint were first to every ball and adopted the tactics of seasoned pros by applying some late feet and elbows to the young striker. He looked like a kid who’d won a competition to play in the Forest team, a rabbit in the headlights!
Yet still, large portions of the Forest faithful applauded and chanted Walker’s name. A chorus of “He’s one of our own” rang out time after time from the stands. At this point I must add that Walker doesn’t pick himself and that the buck stops with Dougie Freedman.
If he continues to include this boy in his squad then his career will be over in a flash. The lad needs to be out on loan in League One, where he can toughen up and learn to put himself about. It doesn’t matter how technically good he’s supposed to be; if you can’t look after yourself as a centre forward, you’ll get nowhere.
The sheer lack of any forward threat resulted in the midfield and defence being under siege for the remainder of the game, Gardner replaced Vaughan in an attempt to shake things up.
City hit the woodwork again and it was only a matter of time before they got their deserved winner. Aidan Flint nipped in to head home from Freeman’s corner after seventy minutes and you could see no way back for Forest. Robert Tesche was replaced by Ryan Mendes but only a striker would change this game.
Bristol City took all three points as the Forest fans booed at the final whistle; let’s not go into that one again! It was blatantly obvious that when you are starved of an outlet up front, the rest of the team slowly deteriorate.
Surely people can now see that Tyler Walker has to go and learn his trade in the lower leagues or will they continue to feed his ego and ruin his career before it’s began? If we’re picking him because he’s the “son of Des” then surely Elton John should have played for us, given the achievements set by his uncle Roy?
On a lighter note it was great to have the Munster Forest supporters club over from Ireland again, they packed out an executive box and the Raglan Road bar after.
They are celebrating their 10th anniversary in June and would like you to join them in the emerald isle. The venue will be The Manor Inn, Killorglin in County Kerry and it will take place on Saturday 11th of June 2016.
Colin Barrett will be the guest of honour and there will be some amazing Forest memorabilia in the raffle. If you would like more information about the event then you can contact Gearoid Lynch via the Munster Forest Facebook page or myself on either Facebook or Twitter. (Steve Corry/@FitzCorry).