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Forest Fire

By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 23/08/2022

BURNLEY 1968, Everton and Wolves 1979, Aston Villa 1991, Liverpool 2001, Spurs and Newcastle 2005, Chelsea 2019 ... these are just some of the fun games we've had against higher ranking teams in the League Cup, now called the Carabao.

It wasn't such fun always as anyone who went to Chelsea, or going back in time to the replay at Burnley will testify, but these games have always generated lots of excitement and interest. It's a free hit really with no expectation on lowly Grimsby, and no impact on promotion or relegation.

In recent times the Carabao has provided the opportunity for higher teams to put out reserves, albeit expensive ones. Town's line-up was: Crocombe - Cropper, Waterfall, Efete, Amos - Kiernan, Holohan, Green, Morris, Clifton - Pepple. It was good to see Pepple being given a chance up front, and great that Cropper is in the side for his general play but in particular for the prospect of causing havoc with his monster throws. The only real concern was that with games in midweek and on Saturdays, Town could be overstretching themselves and potentially risking injury and a loss of league form due to distraction, but this is a good distraction. Forest made a clean sweep of changes compared to the weekend, but still had two multi-million-pound players in Dennis and Freuler. 8,418 spectators were here tonight, 1,205 of them supporting the Premiership side.

Forest, in yellow and blue, kicked off. Town attacked the Osmond end. Cropper made an early error which Dennis failed to take advantage of, but honours were even in the first few minutes. Cropper had a long throw on 14 minutes which came to nothing before Forest won a corner. Efete made a block. On 17 minutes a Forest throw from the left wasn't cleared properly. Dennis pulled the ball back to Yates who slammed in a volley from the edge of the box to make it 1 - 0 to Forest. Green then lost possession, causing a Forest attack. Luckily for Town the ball hit the side netting. Forest were now dominant, enjoying 70% of possession. Forest won a corner on 28 minutes, then there was momentary excitement as Clifton raced away and there was another Cropper throw which Forest dealt with easily. Nothing was happening up front for Town as Pepple was visibly struggling on his own with the supply poor as well. On 34 minutes Green lost the ball again in the Town half. The unchallenged Surridge took advantage and slotted home. Town 0, Forest 2. A Waterfall header gave Town fleeting hope but it went wide. Town won a free-kick on 42 minutes. Morris's delivery forced a Hennessy punch. On half time a Cropper throw met Waterfall's head but the header went over. It remained 2 - 0 at half time. Forest were quicker-thinking, superior in the passing department and making less mistakes than Town.

Wearne and Taylor replaced Kiernan and Pepple for the second half. Town started it well. Hennessy flapped from a Cropper throw but Taylor was unable to capitalise. Cropper then got a good cross in from the right, and in the melee, the shot came square off the post. Town's midfield quartet of Morris, Green, Holohan and Wearne worked well together for the first time in the game. Waterfall had a header from 12 yards, then Taylor had one from a free-kick before Waterfall had another one but Town were unable to get the power and direction to break through. Cropper went off after suffering cramp, and was replaced on 62 minutes by Pearson. Town were showing endeavour as they sought to get back in the game. The hard-working Clifton did well to create an opportunity but Green's effort was blocked. Taylor, whose hold up play was helping Town's cause, won a corner on 65 minutes. A classic Efete overlap on 70 minutes led to a cross and a corner. Town now were having most of the play and were working the ball around the park. An Amos cross met Holohan's head but Town still couldn't get a clear chance. As Town pressed forward, Forest broke up the right on 77 minutes. Awomni found Surridge who again was unmarked and found the net with ease. Town 0, Forest 3. Maguire-Drew replaced Clifton for Town, and almost made an impact following a neat one-two with Taylor. A looping cross by Maguire-Drew foiled Hennessey in the Forest goal but Wearne couldn't finish. Khouri, who had replaced Green, managed a shot that Hennessey palmed away. Town couldn't be accused of lacking effort and played positively in the second half, helped by the substitutions. On 90 minutes Efete supplied Maguire-Drew but the cross was safely gathered by Hennessey. In spite of Town's possession, they were unable to make inroads, and the game ended according to form and expectation: Grimsby Town 0, Nottingham Forest 3.

As the Forest fire threatened to spread after two first-half goals, Town not only resisted but fought back well in the second half. Forest simply showed their superiority. This loss was no disgrace but ultimately it was a case of EFL League Two 0, Premiership 3.

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