Fuller Flavour: We’re not the finished article, but we’re getting there
PUBLISHED: 18:00 03 December 2017 | UPDATED: 19:11 03 December 2017
© Copyright Stephen Waller
What a perfect week it has been for Town and one that I was totally wrong in predicting. But hey, I don’t mind being proved wrong. I’ll just put it down to reverse psychology!
In last week’s column, I feared for our trip to Derby but I also stated that we had an astonishingly good record at Pride Park and maybe, we’d pull something out of the hat again.
And so we did. I honestly believe that you will not find a better record for any other club outside the Premier League (or indeed, even within the Premier League) for a period of ten successive away games at a single club.
Derby fans must be sick of the sight of us at Pride Park. Even when putting us under intense pressure, we failed to cave in and then with our defences breached, there was Bart to pull off a world-class save.
After that last minute equaliser conceded to Sheffield Wednesday recently was followed up with a defeat at Aston Villa, such a result that was gained at Derby was a real boost to us all.
We finally proved that we could beat a top-six side and it was also our first clean sheet away from home since February. Was it really because of the fact that it was simply Derby?
Whilst Forest were not above us going into Saturday’s game, they still posed a strong threat and they did win at Portman Road last season.
It remained to be seen if we could ultimately build on that win at Pride Park. At half-time, the game was in the balance but after the break, we just about shaded proceedings.
My football app on my phone will tell you a story of Forest domination and some statistics in their favour that if you were not at the game and did not know the score, would have you believing that it was the visitors that won 4-2.
In favour of Forest was possession (69.8%), shots on target (8 to our 5), corners (8 to our 1), accurate passes (545 to our 171) and further statistics weighed against us. Such statistics should ultimately lead to wins. But as we know, goals win games.
Looking at the ‘dirty’ statistics, most were in our favour. For example, duels won (43-41), Tackles attempted (12-7), tackles succeeded (5-2) and aerials won (16-8).
Mick Mills once said that it’s not what you do with the ball, it’s what you do without it and so much of what Town do well is when we haven’t got the ball.
We saw how well this did for us in 2014/15 and throw in Daryl Murphy’s goals, we had the recipe to lead us into the play-offs.
We’re working hard and have discovered the knack of scoring goals this season again and whilst I’m not going to predict anything like a play-off place being obtained, we’re getting the type of performances and results that is all we have wanted over the last eighteen months.
As with the win at Derby, it’s testament to those in the squad that we can still win with so many players missing. In Luke Chambers, Joe Garner, David McGoldrick and Tom Adeyemi, you could argue that was our spine missing on Saturday.
In among a good all-round performance, Bart again showed why he is one of the best in the league with two outstanding moments of quality, Emyr Huws brought that touch of quality to our midfield that we’ve not had all season and Martyn Waghorn just gets better with every game.
The move that led to Dominic Iorfa’s goal showed why you don’t need possession stats to win games. One quick move from one end of the pitch to the other with a decent cross was all that was needed.
We’re still not the finished article by any means, but for now, we’re heading in the right direction.