Weekday Winners – 7up for Forest…

22 03 2012

Leeds United manager Neil Warnock on Nottingham Forest:

Pre-match quotes:

‘They have been a club in turmoil… It’s been a very, very, traumatic year for them… What happened with Nigel (Doughty) was tragic.’

‘Nottingham Forest is a massive club. I know from my time managing Notts County when the great Brian Clough was over there.’

‘They’ll come back because big clubs do. They’ve just got to stay in this league – which I think they’ll l do – and they’ll come back stronger next season.’

Leeds United 3 Nottingham Forest 7

Post-match quotes:

‘I’m quite embarrassed by the result.’

‘Going back to my Sunday League days I’d have been disappointed to have conceded two or three of those goals.’

Neil Warnock of Leeds United has often been called a ‘Marmite Manager’ – for obvious reasons. If he happens to be in charge at your club, and he’s managed a few – with a mightily impressive record at Championship level – you love him. Supporters elsewhere mostly hate him.   

Amongst students of the round ball game, he’s universally known as ‘Colin’. If you don’t know why, treat ‘Neil Warnock’ as an anagram and you’ll get there…

To be honest I think he’s good value. Never other than forthright and honest, you might not like what he says but, but he says it straight. The fact that he riles so many opposition fans, is a sure-fire indication that he does a decent job. Hence there’s always a fine sense of achievement, when your team puts one over Warnock.

So last night’s biggest ever home defeat for Leeds United, at the hands of the Tricky Trees, was all the more satisfying – seventh heaven!

Let’s not get too carried away. Whichever way you look at it, 7-3 was a freak result. But hopefully it will prove to be the catalyst for Forest to pull away from the relegation zone. Although, as an eternal pessimist, I’m already envisaging the, high-flying, ‘Seagulls’ dropping one in the collective City Ground eye, on Saturday. Oh and then there is the little matter of another away derby – at Leicester next Tuesday…       

So given Forest’s recent Jekyll and Hyde performances (how could this be the same team who hoofed the ball around Pride Park last week?) and a propensity for taking one step forward and three back, the relegation dog-fight is still likely to go to the wire.

I’ve already stated my case with regard to Forest manager Steve Cotterill and last night’s result doesn’t alter that opinion. Even after last night’s result I would still do a straight swap with Leeds, and take Warnock – no question.

What I do suspect is that first team coach Sean O’Driscoll (formerly manager of Doncaster Rovers) is beginning to have more influence on the training ground. If Forest can hang on to him next season and successfully marry his fluent passing game, going forward, with SC’s defensive organisation and set pieces, perhaps there could be a chink of light at the end of the tunnel.     

Fair play to Cotterill, though, for selecting and getting the best out of wide men Andy Reid and Garath McCleary in recent weeks. If the Tricky Trees do stay up in the Championship, much of the credit should go to this pair.

McCleary was the headline maker at Elland Road, scoring four goals, taking him to nine in seventeen Championship appearances this season. All the more surprising given that he had previously only found the net four times in eighty-nine league outings, since his arrival from non-league Bromley. He has responded magnificently to the faith SC has shown in him.

Reidy had a hand in four of the seven goals, and his wand of a left foot is central to most of the good things about Forest’s attacking play, at the moment. I’m really pleased for him. He’s always had undoubted ability but struggled to stay in shape. Having worked hard to improve his fitness level, he’s now forcing those who, earlier this season, taunted him with, ‘Who ate all the pies?’ jibes, to eat their words.         

Another huge plus for Forest has been the ‘Dex-factor’. Dexter Blackstock’s recent return to full fitness after career threatening injury has greatly improved Forest’s attacking options. He tucked two more goals away against Leeds, to go with his brace in the away game at Brum.   

It’s marvellous what such a great result does for morale. It certainly put an extra spring in my step. The Flymo came out of mothballs for the first cut of the season, and I baked a well-received Roasted Vegetable Lasagne supper – is there no end to my talents?   

Aptly enough it was a variation on a ‘Weekday Winner’ recipe from this month’s Asda.com/magazine.    

‘Weekday Winner’ – Roasted Vegetable Lasagne

(Serves 4)

  • 450g butternut squash – deseeded and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 2 x red onions – cut into wedges
  • 25g walnuts
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 600ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 3 x level tbsp cornflour
  • ¼ level tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ level tsp mustard
  • 125g extra mature Cheddar – grated
  • 180g spinach
  • 250g pack of fresh lasagne


  1. Preheat the oven to 190˚C
  2. Put the squash & onion in a bowl and toss in the olive oil until coated
  3. Transfer the squash & onion to a baking tray & roast until tender (approx. 30 mins)
  4. Toast the walnuts on a separate baking tray for 4-5 minutes – roughly chop
  5. Mix a little milk with the cornflour, cayenne pepper & mustard – until smooth
  6. Put in a pan with the rest of the milk and bring to the boil – whisking continually
  7. Remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheese
  8. Put the spinach in a saucepan and heat until wilted
  9. Press and drain the spinach to remove as much liquid as possible
  10. Line a rectangular oven dish with lasagne
  11. Layer the vegetables, sauce, spinach and lasagne and bake in the oven for 20 mins

Serve with granary bead & chilled white wine. I would recommend a Villebois Loire – Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (good deals on-line from Naked Wines) – or a celebratory can of clean, crisp, and ridiculously bubbly ‘7UP’  🙂






2 responses

22 03 2012
Another Phil

It was a night of amazing results but this one stood out …….apart of course from our demolition of Luton 3-0 after losing to Hayes on Saturday.

22 03 2012
Phil Aldridge

Great result for FGR, although I do have a soft spot for the Hatters. It doesn’t seem right that they are playing non-league – only seems five minutes ago that Forest beat them at Wembley in one of our League Cup victories!

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