Mark Whittle discusses the talking points as Rovers fall to defeat at Nottingham Forest…
The Journey continues to be a rocky one for Mowbray and Rovers
Rovers fell to a fourth consecutive defeat against a Forest side who have now completed a double 1-0 win over Mowbray’s men.
Forest have certainly enjoyed playing against Rovers this season taking six points off us – and possibly the easiest six points they have gained, thanks to a deflected shot in each match turning out to be the winner. It seems such a long time ago now when Forest were winners at Ewood back in October. Even after that defeat – when Lolley scored a last-minute deflected shot, there was still plenty of hope as the season was only a few matches old after a bright start with heavy victories against Wycombe and Derby. The home loss to Forest in October felt like just a blip.
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However, this time around the defeat has all but ended all hope of reaching the play-offs this season as the realisation of mediocrity mid-table football looms again. The growing frustration is there for all to see and as I write this, I feel very deflated, as I am sure we all are right now. It is hard to stay positive now. All that early season hope, and promise has all but now evaporated for another year. It is difficult to know where the club go and kick on from here.
Tony Mowbray has talked a lot recently about Rovers being on a ‘journey’ and only being 29 games into that (before the Forest match), as he has adopted a more possession-based approach this season. He himself set the expectation for this season and in his own words would be a ‘failure’ if we did not reach the top six. Mowbray reaches his 4-year anniversary in charge of the club this coming Monday, but it does not seem like an anniversary to celebrate though.
His post-match comments recently remain baffling and he does not give us any inspiration that things are going to change and get better any time soon. Going off what many Rovers fans are saying and comments on social media recently, they certainly do not want his tenure in charge reaching a fifth year.
A team lacking any real creativity and ideas – a contrasting season
As I touched on earlier, at the start of the season Rovers were a joy to watch. Free flowing football and creating chance after chance, scoring four and five. Even in those early matches, you felt we could have scored even more in them. The team look a complete shadow of that side and it is difficult to contemplate this is the same Rovers and same group of players from the one a few months ago. Rovers have now gone 18 games in a row not scoring more than two goals in a match which is an alarming statistic. I have never quite known a season of such contrasting differences. It has been an unprecedented season in more ways than one for everyone involved at the football club. At Forest, as with a lot of matches in this last couple of months, it feels like we are sometimes paying our £10 on iFollow to watch a repeat from a previous game.
As soon as Rovers concede and go a goal behind, you fear the worst. Although Armstrong missed a penalty at the City Ground, we never looked like we were going to seriously threaten Forest and get back into the game. The spark has gone. The players huffed and puffed but the creativity we once had has seemingly disappeared and not likely to return any time soon on recent evidence.
Mowbray changes team personnel constantly. You know that he will always make four or five substitutions in each game which comes across as more hope and desperation than tactical. I think we can all concede the season is over in terms of a top six finish, the hope now is that we can get out of this dreadful run of results and turn the season around to have a more respectable end to the campaign, although looking at the fixture list starting with Watford coming to Ewood on Wednesday night, again it is more hope than anything else.
It is a difficult period for all supporters right now, but we must all stick together. The football club has seen and been through worse times, but we always bounce back.
As always, remain safe and thanks for reading.