LFE Blog

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Tim Hopkinson - Nottingham Forest FC

Ha’way the Lads

12/11/08 |

On Monday it was our first day back from our four day break, so obviously we needed to make sure we had done some work over the time off just to keep ourselves ticking over. The four days were a way to sort of refresh ourselves because since July we’ve hit training pretty hard and haven’t had a real break as such so we had time off to rest and refresh ourselves and get ready to work hard until Christmas.

The first thing we had was a very quick perimeter run at the Academy site so that we could get our lungs opened up again – it took just over 3 minutes which is a very quick pace compared to when we usually make it round in about 3 minutes thirty ‘ish. For the rest of the day we did possession games at a high tempo to get us blowing and work our fitness, but also to get our touches back after the days off.

In the afternoon we did some technical work practising tricks to get past players in small 3 v 3 situations which went pretty well, and then after that we had a game with the goalkeepers which was also a good blow out.

At the end of the day I felt physically good surprisingly and went across to the computers do my blog while I wait for a lift off my brother Rej. During that time I had a look at our fantasy teams which is something all the lads have entered online to see who can pick the best dream team in the Premiership. My team was hovering around 13th out of about 16, but Richie Jones our teacher/cameraman was there to rub in that he was still sitting on top in first place with the most points, he loves it!

By the time I got home I was knackered and the evening just consisted of watching Hollyoaks, Friends, Eastenders and playing a lot of Play-station before an early night to bed.

Match: Nottingham Forest v Newcastle United

On Saturday we were at home entertaining Newcastle’s youth team. It’s always a tough and exciting game at home or away whenever both teams meet. The conditions were the sort you love to be playing in, but the type you hate when standing on the sidelines watching. The wind was blowing a gale meaning high balls would change direction and there was that cold rain – you know which one I’m on about, that freezing cold rain that means you can’t feel your hands or feet even when running around playing!

Kick off was a bit later because they had a three and a half journey down from Tyneside so it was 1pm instead of 11am. The game started at a fast pace and for the first twenty minutes or so I felt we made more chances with both teams having lengthy spells of possession. My striker partner Rodder’s and me both had chances that the goalkeeper saved somehow with his feet – he had a worldy saving them. There was a goal mouth scramble as well in which we hit the bar and then it all got hectic and I couldn’t get enough power on the follow up header – there were bodies flying everywhere trying to get the ball in the net, but it didn’t go in!

Later in the half Newcastle came into the game and made a few half chances themselves. We hit the post again after a great save by the goalkeeper and I played Rodder’s through but he was thwarted by a good save once again by the keeper. Half time it was 0 – 0 and the team talk was to just be more clinical in front of goal. I was annoyed that I hadn’t taken my first half chance at this point and wanted to make amends. The second half was pretty much the same as the first, both teams working really hard in the conditions and both of us went for it attacking the opposition every time we were in possession.

Newcastle played some really good football and they took the lead after about 70 minutes when we made a costly mistake in defence. We tried to play out from the back, but they nicked the ball off us and scored from the edge of the area low in to the corner. We then piled the pressure on and had a lot more of the ball, trying our hardest to get a goal. I had a headed goal ruled out for offside and at the time I thought I was on side and looking at the video I still think I was and it was the player behind me (if anyone) that was flagged for offside.

After that I had another chance where I was stretching and put a header wide near the back stick. The game ended in a 1 – 0 defeat, it was one of those games where we just couldn’t score and we had a lot of chances, but fair play to Newcastle they did play well. In our team talk at the end we were told that we just needed to again be more clinical in the final third and if we’d have taken our chances in the first half then it may have been a different story. We have another home fixture next week against Barnsley where we’ll be looking to put in a good performance and get three points to try and push up the table.

On Sunday it was Derby day! Forest first team had Derby County at Pride in the first meeting for the two teams in a few years. Because I don’t have Sky TV at home my family went for a Sunday Roast and watched it at the local carvery – the place was rammed with Forest fans watching.

The first half was very uneventful and I can’t really remember any chances being made what so ever, but the second half was more like a derby with the referee making some dodgy decisions in our favour for once! When we took the lead it was great, I thought we deserved it at the time because we were on top of them, but when they got the equaliser the mood somewhat dropped.

Then in the last 2 minutes it all happened… First the referee blows for a Derby penalty for an invisible handball he saw, even though Derby actually scored a header from the attack. Forest keeper Camp saved the penalty before making another impressive save from the resulting corner – he’ll be a hero to Forest fans now just for that. Then Derby scored a perfectly good goal by a lad named Miles Addison, which was disallowed for handball or pushing or something – I don’t think anyone but the ref knew.

However, the weird thing for me was that the lad who scored both disallowed headers is called Miles Addison and he played for Derby’s youth team last year when we beat them 3 – 0 around this time last year. Yet twelve months on he’s playing central midfield for Derby’s first team in the Championship against Forest first team… It really proves how quickly things can change in football.

After the game my day revolved around watching the most spectacular Grand Prix ever and plenty of sleep like usual on a Sunday.