“One day Lloydy will score”. Well it should have been today… after one cut inside and dragged shot ride, the sort of thing that’s become almost passé over recent weeks, we suddenly had Lloydinho following up (following up!!!) Priskin’s first half shot. Not quite an empty net but the keeper was grounded, almost predictably Doyley’s excitement got the better of him and the shot went over. Probably a good thing, not sure I could have taken the excitement.
Watford goalkeeper Scott Loach had earlier had an inspired 45 minutes to frustrate a dominant Birmingham in the first half. But Brendan Rodgers’ side were much improved after the break and could have gone ahead themselves before Jerome made the breakthrough.
A patchy performance saw Watford give as good as they got in the second half and left the manager grateful to his reserve goalkeeper, Colin Doyle, starting a league game for the first time this season. He turned a goal-bound Grzegorz Rasiak header past a post just after the hour.
A touching send-off for Mike Keen before kickoff, with the Birmingham fans adding their applause to that of everyone connected with the club he once managed. I wasn’t around in any meaningful sense back then, I’m afraid, but Simon Marchant was and you can read his tribute here.
A telling memory of How Things Used To Be from the recent Clough documentary: Forest players in the centre circle, turning to greet and be greeted by each of the stands before kickoff. We used to do that too, a line of players in the middle of the pitch. It meant something. Now, it’s not until we’ve had a pedestrian parade of players and officials across the full width of the pitch, followed by an extended mingle with nibbles and a free bar, that we get to applaud and be applauded by our team. Or the first two or three of our team, to be precise: by the time you get halfway down the line-up, everyone’s got bored and the remaining players just wander into position rather than bother to sprint purposefully towards the Rookery. Something essential has been lost here…and for what, exactly?
Having rightly come under considerable fire in his early days, the manager has done a remarkable job of steering the ship away from the rocks since dropping his hardline allegiance to possession football. Bolstered by some extremely timely signings – Mike Williamson and Jack Cork particularly, but Don Cowie too – and aided by a transformation in the likes of Jobi McAnuff and Tamas Priskin, he’s managed to create a perfectly functional, thoroughly mid-table Second Division outfit. And a team that’s suddenly quite easy to like again, that seems comfortable with itself again. As ambition goes, that ain’t Aidy Boothroyd. But it’ll do just fine for now.