Nottingham Forest blog: Midfield fragility is costing Forest dear

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Forest suffered their second defeat of the season, their second in just six days, following a comprehensive reverse to Blackburn Rovers.

The tricky trees started on fire and were good value for their half time lead.

From the off, the likes of Fryatt, Antonio, Vaughan and Burke were full of running both on and off the ball.

Antonio created a good chance for Assombalonga after 21 minutes when he skinned Baptiste, Assombalonga’s effort was well blocked on route to goal though.

Rovers rarely threatened and, for the most part, were confined to their own half.

The home side continued to press, but lacked that killer punch/final ball.

Forest’s deserved breakthrough came after 36 minutes, Assombalonga was dragged to the ground yet again but the referee waved play on; the Forest striker was incensed by the decision.

However, he got his revenge just seconds later, the ball made its way back to him from Tesche and he burst inside his marker and smashed an anger fuelled effort onto the post.

Matty Fryatt tapped home the rebound to put us ahead and the winless streak looked to be over.

Forest continued to attack and Tesche pulled off the pass of the game as he split the Blackburn defence in two, Fryatt was the recipient but he put too much on his cross and the ball went out of play.

Tesche was again the creator just before half-time, he found Assombalonga on the right, the top scorer strode into the box and surprisingly dragged his shot wide of Steele’s right hand post.

But for the final ball or definitive shot, Forest would have gone in at half time at least two nil to the good.

In hindsight, Forest should have wrapped up and gone home at the interval because what followed can only be described as a complete meltdown!

After the break they failed to string three consecutive passes together and barely entered the Blackburn half.

The men from Lancashire deservedly equalised after 65 minutes when Marshall crossed to the near post, Darlow missed his punch and the ball dropped invitingly for Baptiste, who finished with conviction.

Then on 74 minutes, Blackburn powered into the lead, Vaughan’s sloppy pass was intercepted and Williamson picked out substitute Gestede, who smashed in a free header for 2-1.

Two minutes later it was all over as Mancienne made a rare mistake to allow the prolific Rhodes in on goal. The Scottish international made no mistake and made it 3-1 to Rovers. Game over!!!

For the record, Forest seemed to fall apart and Blackburn improve following the substitutions of Fryatt and Evans respectively. Lansbury did ok and hit a post for Forest, whilst Gestede ran the show and scored for Rovers!

It is extremely hard to dissect the problem here because the team selection, formation and tempo were decent.

However, despite the midfield two of Tesche and Vaughan having good games, it has to be said that this area is killing us right now.

In short, the forwards are being starved of intelligent through balls and the defence are working overtime to counter the amount of misplaced passes that lose possession.

Last week I touched on the importance of ball retention and passing accuracy, but it seems there is still a problem here. It’s amazing how important the midfield can be!

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