"The first half was a waste of time which gave us all a fright,
The Charleston boys played football while the Forest men played shite."
As far as Forest were concerned, the first half of this match went like a dream - you know, one of those dreams where you fall out of a helicopter and wake up in a bath of vomit. It was clear from the start that Charleston's players were athletic and intelligent, moving fluently between their Forest counterparts like oil finding the cracks in tired metal. Muric did okay, keeping Forest in the game with several important saves, and Dawson managed to block a goalbound effort from Leko, a recent loanee from the planet Asgard. Sadly, Forest's resistance lasted only 18 minutes. A magical interchange of passes ended up with Taylor netting neatly for the home side.
Amongst Forest fans there was great wailing and gnashing of teeth. And swearing - there was a lot of swearing. No player escaped criticism. Charleston, it seemed, was no country for old men, and Forest were being made to look decrepit. The defence was kind of holding on, but midfield
and up front might as well have been ghosts. By half time, it was difficult to make a case for Forest's further existence.
Except that, well, it wasn't all bad. Charleston still only had one goal, and hadn't honestly looked like getting a second. Forest had actually contrived two decent chances of their own near the end of the half; Silva cleared the bar with one and Grabban fell asleep dithering over the other. And Mister Lamouchi was surely telling his men to pull their fingers out of their arses or he would gut them like fish, and other tactical subtleties.
"But Charleston lost their fizzle like an open can of Tizer,
And up stepped Uncle Albert with a cracking equaliser."
So things improved for Forest in the second half, partly because the full backs pushed on and the midfield moved up and pressed more effectively, partly because the Charleston players were being drained by the resilience of their opponents. Sadly, Forest's efforts were compromised by the sinister ineptitude of the referee. He was one of those blokes who makes one mistake, knows it, knows that everybody else knows it, so doubles down on his resentment by committing further acts of biased stupidity. Like Mister Oakwell the Geography teacher, who ended up putting 4A into Tuesday detention twenty times before leaving the school under a cloud.
The most spiteful of these decisions should have brought Forest an equaliser when Amoeba was hacked down well inside the area, but the ref's failure to award the penalty seemed to signal the end of Forest's hopes.
By now, however, Charleston were hanging on like the bunch of no-name upstarts they always should have been, and ten minutes from the end Silva's corner was belted home by Uncle Albert Adomah, one of those old men for whom this was the right country after all. Forest went on to almost conjure an unlikely winner, but that would have been a bit embarrassing.
A good point earned against a confident home side, then. And a warning to the Cottagers: don't you even think of trying to score a hatful of your fancy Landon goals on Saturday, or you'll jolly well find yourself in detention on Tuesday night.