Another difficult watch, another defeat and another early exit from the cup, with Forest dumping us out for the second time in two years.
After watching the full 90, here’s my thoughts on each player’s performance and my marks out of 10.
NUFC XI – (4-4-2): Dubravka – Sterry, Schar, Fernandez, Clark – Atsu, Ki, Longstaff, Kenedy – Muto, Joselu
Darlow – 4 – Awful handling which almost cost us and made it 2-0. Could and should have dealt with cross better
Sterry – 6 – Put in a great cross early on for Joselu (he should’ve scored). Gave away a few cheap fouls and was out of position late on for their second, but didn’t disgrace himself.
Schar – 4 – Was beaten to the cross by Murphy for their opening goal and struggled with his physicality. Looked good on the ball, mind, playing several positive forward passes and picking out Kenedy on the diagonal several times.
Fernandez – 6 – Won headers, read the game pretty well and made a vital last ditch block to stop Murphy from making it 2-0 from close range. Was taken off prior to us conceding the second and third.
Clark – 3 – He’s really not a left-back. Wasn’t able to get forward (and looked so awkward when he did) and looked very uncomfortable defending, often coming inside and leaving space for them to get at him out wide.
Kenedy – 3 – He looked very under confident. His touch was way off on several occasions (and this cost us for their third), he didn’t ever have a go at them and he often ran into trouble. He’s clearly still suffering from the horror show at Cardiff and needs a lift.
Ki- 5 – He didn’t do enough defensively, missing a few many tackles and leaving the centre-backs exposed, but he was pretty tidy on the ball. Has a good range of passing and likes a long range shot.
Longstaff – 6 – Used the ball quite intelligently, even if he was caught out quite a few times. There’s signs here that he could be good enough at first team level, although he’s still got plenty to learn in terms of defensive work and the intensity of senior football.
Atsu – 4 – Held back too much and didn’t take his chance to impress. Went backwards too much when we needed him to make bursts forward. Final ball generally frustrating.
Muto– 5 – Movement was decent and tried his best, but not much broke for him. Had a half decent chance but scuffed a shot which was blocked.
Joselu – 4 – Had two good chances with his head. One he should’ve done MUCH better with and the other was well saved (although he was offside). Hold up play was poor in general, despite the odd decent flick here and there.
Perez – Should have won us a penalty, beating the keeper to the ball and being bundled over. Linked up with Rondon quite well at times, slipping him in for our goal late on.
Murphy – Had a run at them at times but didn’t have much joy. Needs to get his head up and think about what he’s doing. Headless chicken at times.
Rondon – Took his goal very well, smashing it in off the post from the angle, held the ball up well at times and won a few good flick ons. Good to see him grab his first goal in black and white.
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