Clark misses crowd's point
Monday 15 January 1996
Nottingham Forest 1 Southampton 0
It used to be Arsenal who were masters of the 1-0 win but nowadays maybe Forest should be so acclaimed. This was their sixth such scoreline this season, a third in a row at the City Ground. They even stand accused of being boring, or so their manager thinks.
"I can understand the crowd getting frustrated," Frank Clark said. "You pundits keep telling us we have to play a more patient, passing game to match the Continentals but one of the problems in that is educating English supporters.
"They want the ball going forward quickly - that's what they are used to - but we've got to ignore them in that respect.
"Southampton made life very difficult for us by getting 10 men behind the ball. But we were patient, kept passing and kept probing. It was not a free-flowing, crowd-pleasing performance but in the context of a difficult game it was excellent."
An honest assessment but he was missing the point. It is not so much the method as the end result that is getting the crowd down, the fact that Forest have only to score once, it appears, to be collectively seized by goal-scorer's block. In the last 13 games they have only once reached two. Supporters do not tire of winning 1-0 but they can do without the anxiety it involves. Ask an Arsenal fan.
Kevin Campbell would be quite at home, if someone at Forest could shield his shortcomings the way Ian Wright did at Highbury. Clark, seeking to defend a striker with two goals in 13 starts, said it was "important to have a front player to hold the ball up" but pounds 2.5m is a lot for a foil. Robert Rosario, languishing in the reserves, could do the job just as well.
As if to emphasise this point, it was a defender, Colin Cooper, who broke the deadlock, capping a redoubtable display in his primary role by stealing Campbell's thunder for good measure. Cooper popped up in Southampton's box to head home Bryan Roy's cross a minute before half-time.
But if Forest are worried about Campbell, their concerns are nothing next to Southampton's over Matthew Le Tissier. His loss of form has become a chronic malaise. His manager suspects rejection by England is at the root of it all.
"You'd have to ask a pyschologist about that," Le Tissier said, declining to discuss the theory. In Dave Merrington's view, however, there would be no need.
"If I were a class player and did not get selected it would affect me," Merrington said, "and I'm sure it has affected him."
Goal: Cooper (44) 1-0.
Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Crossley; Lyttle, Cooper, Chettle, Pearce; Stone, Gemmill, Bart-Williams, Woan; Campbell (Lee, 77), Roy. Substitutes not used: Phillips, McGregor.
Southampton (4-4-1-1): Beasant; Dodd, Neilson, Monkou, Charlton; Bennett (McDonald, 58), Magilton, Venison, Maddison (Watson, 68); Le Tissier; Shipperley. Substitute not used: Grobbelaar (gk).
Referee: S Lodge (Barnsley).
Bookings: Forest: Pearce; Southampton: Dodd, Monkou.
Man of the match: Cooper. Attendance: 23,321.
Latest in Sport
Liverpool vs Bolton report: Brilliant Adam Bogdan produces heroics to earn Wanderers a replay
Cristiano Ronaldo vine: Real Madrid forward sent-off for kicking and striking opponent during 2-1 win over Cordoba
What time is the 2015 WWE Royal Rumble on? TV details and full card
Sam Burgess: Bath and England's next big thing
The Andy Cole Column: The real reason I've hated Sheringham for 15 years: he refused to shake my hand
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...
Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...
£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...