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Tim Hopkinson - Nottingham Forest FC

Hand of God?

17/09/08 |

Match: Nottingham Forest v Grimsby Town

After not playing on the previous Saturday, there was a mid-week U18’s game in which we played Grimsby Town. The game was to maintain our fitness and to try and get a full ninety minutes for some of us.

In the first half we started off well, we took the lead after fifteen minutes when I was played in, cut in from the left and side-footed past the keeper. Ten minutes later we had another chance when I got played through again only to be brought down for a penalty. I picked myself up and took the penalty, but if I’m honest I shanked it and the keeper saved it down to his left! However, he was off his line so I got another chance. I don’t know why I changed my mind but I decided to go the other way and caught it sweet….but once again the keeper guessed the right way and pulled off a decent save to his right. I couldn’t believe I’d missed two in a row!

Second half we were pretty comfortable and never really looked like conceding a goal so we went on to win 2-0 in pretty harsh weather conditions.

On Thursday we started with our usual SAQ where we practice running through cones in pairs doing different exercises to improve our agility. There’s always banter involved with this because someone always knocks a cone over or gets the sequence wrong, fortunately for me though I can’t recall doing either this week – which is unusual for me!

Our focus of the actual session was shape play and holding the ball upfront because it’s something we need to improve on and I myself need to improve on significantly. We did a series of games in our 4-4-2 shape playing with width and only using three touches. The session was a bit of a blower because it was across the whole pitch, after that we had our gym session which always goes down well because we all get competitive trying to show off who’s got the biggest guns! I’m getting there slowly but surely.

Match: Liverpool v Nottingham Forest

On Saturday it was our third league game of the season away against Liverpool. It was an important game because we were yet to win a game having drawn and lost in our opening games.

It was a tough match because Liverpool are a very good side and they played a few third-years in their team. During the game they had a lot of possession and I was doing a lot of doggies running after their centre-backs to get the ball back. After a good move down the left hand side a deep cross came in which was headed back across goal to me. I took a touch on my knee and put the ball past the keeper, but it was ruled out immediately for hand ball. How the linesman thought it was hand ball I will never know because it hit my knee then my shoulder before I put it in the net. Must have been the ‘Hand of God’!

At this point I was gutted! It got even worse because Liverpool took the lead ten minutes later from a corner. Unfortunately for me it was the man I was marking, a lapse in concentration meant he lost me and got a free header so I was very angry with myself. We went on to lose the game 2-0, however, I felt we did alright and competed well, but we just lacked that bit of magic in the final third.

After the game I was knackered, I’d never run so much! I was disappointed as well at how I had played and how we hadn’t got anything from the game. During the journey back I was just thinking about the game, hopefully next week will be better when we play Bolton away – we have to get three points from them!