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Friendly Match Report: Stevenage 0-3 Forest

Here are some things we learned from Forest's first pre season friendly on British soil.

Matt Mills looks as surprised as anyone after scoring against Stevenage
Matt Mills looks as surprised as anyone after scoring against Stevenage
Clive Rose/Getty Images

*The yellow kit really does look good. It is not besmirched with red or black trim but the appropriate and proper blue, conjuring up grainy images of a yellow swarm delivering a football lesson at Old Trafford. It is also currently unblemished with any form of sponsor - which in terms of aesthetic reasons, is a triumph.

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*The starting line up looked a reasonably strong one:

De Vries

Lichaj Mills Hobbs Fox

Mancienne Lansbury Tesche

Ward Maynard Antonio

It seemed like a 4-3-3 formation with Jamie Ward and Michail Antonio maintaining a high position. Of course, it is difficult to read too much into games like this which are essentially training exercises but it wouldn't be a surprise to see such a team trot out down at Brighton on a Friday evening in the not too distant future. It does seem though that Dougie Freedman really does fancy Mancienne in midfield. It is perhaps best to simply state this as a fact and leave it there.

*Jamie Ward was his usual bustling self and was afforded a good reception after a stunning shot in the second half in front of the away support. He scuttles about as you imagine he would but let's all take a moment to acknowledge that he won't score goals like THAT one every week.

*Matt Mills partnered Jack Hobbs at the back - a more broad shouldered, burly centre halved paring will be difficult to find in the Championship. One does worry about their combined turning circle being wider than that of Per Mertersacker though. Besides which, 'Hobbs and Mills' sounds like a low rent solicitor firm...or maybe an 80s buddy cop film in which one of them is a maverick and refuses to play it by the rules, creating endless paperwork for his Captain resulting in him banging his fist on the table repeatedly and reminding both Hobbs and Mills that he is 'one day' away from retirement, goddamit. In spite of all that though, they looked solid and both weighed in with a goal - can't ask any more really.

*NIcky Maynard looked game, willing to make intelligent runs in order to create space for Antonio and Ward. In the second half, Forest seemed to have no truck with lobbing a ball up for him to chase and although he got on to the end of these, he lacked the assuredness of touch (confidence?) to worry the goalkeeper. With Britt out until January at the earliest, Lars Veldwijk back home in Holland and Matty Fryatt nowhere to be seen, he looks as good a bet as anyone to play up front.

*Michail Antonio was his usual self - indeed, his cut-in from the right resulted in him being brought down for a penalty. Of course we'd all like to see him marauding around in a Forest shirt again but what will be, will be.

*Dorus de Vries is a vocal goalkeeper and like all good keepers, likes to berate himself when his kick goes astray, or is partial to shaking his head in disbelief when a defender in front of him makes an error. He is also a very pragmatic keeper in his orders - 'head it' he bellowed at Lichaj as a cross sailed into the danger zone. That's as sound advice as you are likely to hear. Kick it and head it - it is a very simple game after all.

*Ben Osborn and David Vaughan, amongst others, had a run out from the bench late on, reminding us that for all the recruitment issues and guff, it's a well assembled squad. Factor in Kelvin Wilson, Chis Cohen and Matty Fryatt - and don't forget about long term absentees Chris Cohen and Andy Reid and were Freedman to get all of these to play to potential, there's enough talent and experience in there to worry a lot of teams. THAT - right there - was a brief glimpse of optimism. Take it and enjoy it.

*Stevenage's ground is ridiculously easy to find -  surrounded by trees, framing a beautiful sunset while a collection of birds swarmed around in an expansively clear apricot sky. Lovely.