Deja vu for Forest and Bluebirds

by Sean Bell

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Reading’s comprehensive 3-0 victory at the Cardiff City Stadium last night left the home side’s supporters with a distinct feeling of deja vu. Even if last season’s play-off defeat in a spanking brand new stadium came in the final at Wembley, the pain of missing out on a promotion decider with arch rivals Swansea City in a fortnight’s time will be felt just as intensely in the Welsh capital. Once again Dave Jones’ side had looked impressive for intermittent periods during the season (including a five-match winning run in October in which their strike force hit an impressive fourteen goals) but came up short when it mattered.

Their 3-0 home defeat to Middlesbrough in their penultimate game of the season was the fatal body blow to their hopes of automatic promotion, and with Craig Bellamy missing from last night’s game with a hamstring injury, their season was effectively over with Shane Long’s penalty on the stroke of half-time. This was the third successive season that Cardiff have come up short as in 2008-09 they managed only one point from their final four matches and missed out on the play-offs to Preston North End on the number of goals scored.

Nottingham Forest fans are experiencing similar emotions after their 3-1 defeat to Swansea at the Liberty Stadium on Monday night. Last season they too lost in the play-off semi-final to Cardiff’s conquerors at Wembley, Blackpool. That defeat was more of a surprise however as Forest had finished in third place whilst this season they stumbled into sixth place after a dreadful run of form between February and April when they failed to win for nine matches. Manager Billy Davies has spent large parts of the season in dispute with the Forest board who he has accused of failing to back him with investment in the squad. 

The close season at both clubs will be interesting; although Bellamy has pledged his future to the Bluebirds, it is surely inconceivable that he will spend another season in the Championship. Dave Jones’ future after another season of play-off failure is also the subject of conjecture on the morning after the night before. Forest too have question marks over the future of highly-rated players like Lee Camp and their manager whose combative style will always antagonise club directors unused to being challenged by their employees in everyday life.

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  • Mystical Mike

    i thought Reading were class last night. They defender superbly. Shane Long won’t look out of place in the Premier League too!

  • Sean Bell

    Yeah, Shane Long is quality and Irish too. 🙂 Watch out Europe in 2012 (assuming we qualify)!

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