A popular proverb among the clubs is that football is 'A Game of Two Halves'. On this mild Birmingham night at St. Andrews, this was not the case. It was a game of one half.
So small were the instances in the first half meant my mind would wander into genuinely more interesting and fascinating insights. Such as, attempting to understand why BCFC changed their official crest, only to keep the old one dotted around in so many places of the ground, therefore creating the illusion of a half-baked identity crisis. Or how many of the songs sung by the ever-energetic Forest faithful the Blues fans had heard before from other sides (other than the Ben Osborn one, I like that one a lot, despite the generic tune). I considered how the 16000-odd in attendance could have better spent their night, whilst remembering that I'd previously passed the National Paint Drying Championships somewhere near Coventry on the way to the ground (these were the sort of jokes I am reduced to, even with the time to think).
All boring observations, yes, but the fact you've made it this far proves I'm making a more interesting job than the game itself, for you would have fallen away much sooner had I described the 'action'. I do believe there was a free-kick sailed over the bar by Henri Lansbury at some point. I could be wrong, perhaps it was another game (in fact it definitely was another game, it was every game).
As a great man once said, ''If nothing happens in a half of football, does it actually exist?''
Having parked in the aptly named 'St Andrews Road', literally a stone's throw from the ground, I settled in a spot with my Father to the left of the bulk of the Forest fans. A cracking view and somewhere Pops could sit. Hearing the team beforehand left us ruing our initial decision to make the trip, with many changes afoot after the impressive win at the weekend: dropping David Vaughan for Kyle Ebecilio the stand-out gaff.
Half-time came and went, with an imitation of our 'look how funny it is to see a fan kick a football from various distances' game described over the frankly awful sound system. The same team emerged and our hearts sank, imagining another pseudo-half of football ahead of us.
However, something was different. There was a hint of, dare I say, excitement! From both teams! There were shots, good build-up play, and a few tackles flying in. 10 minutes in, and the impossible became reality: a goal! Lovely play by Jamie Ward on the right-hand side to get past his man and square to the onrushing Dexter Blackstock, who, along with the hapless defender, bundled the ball into the empty net. From where I was it looked like an own goal, but it matters not, we had scored, with a team that was far from its best.
The changes came, including a linesman swap, and suddenly the team we marvelled at Saturday previous had emerged with the absence of Nelson Oliveira. Before he was subbed, Jamie Ward was being Jamie Ward, dazzling one minute then pushing the keeper needlessly the next to get booked. Ryan Mendes and Chris O'Grady were combining well again, Vaughan was class epitomised in midfield and, dare I say it, we were in control (Vaughan replaced Ebecilio who I assume was given the nod to make up for his short-lived lack of involvement on Saturday. He rewarded his manager for it by his lack of involvment for 60 minutes this time around). Osborn was the player we all love, Lansbury was quietly excellent again alongside Vaughan, and was awarded the honour of Man of the Match by Cooper Snr, and who am I to argue?
Birmingham offered little, perhaps due to our defensive work, or perhaps they were having an off day, probably a mixture of both. A far cry from the reports coming in from previous games.
The game fizzled out into a semi-comfortable 1-0 away win, making it two in succession! Hurrah! Exciting players, one point off the top six, away wins, lovely yellow shirts, what could go wrong? We'd need to be playing one of the favourites at home on television next to stop this sort of ambition! Oh...
With the furore around the Première of the fantastic-looking nostalgia-filled movie coming to the City Ground soon, emphasis on the current team had been momentarily halted. However, grounding out performances like this, the current fans will be the ones Believing in Miracles this season, as an attack on the top six becomes a not-so-distant dream (see what I did there?)
You can follow Rhys Cooper on Twitter here. Well worth doing so.