Well, that's not been a bad week, has it?
First of all the Nottingham Forest match. Overall it was an excellent performance. They started with a high tempo and took the league with an excellent finish from Gary Hooper after another exquisite ball from Barry Bannan. Both Bannan and Hooper have, in my opinion, started the season in excellent form. You can see that their confidence is increasing with every game and their link up play at times is excellent.
The debut of Joost van Aken was timely and he looked to settle in pretty well. I like the fact that he seems to have pace, is obviously comfortable on the ball in possession and with his height should be an aerial threat in both boxes. The goal they conceded will have been something that he will learn from and on Tuesday against Brentford I thought he was excellent again.
Unfortunately over the last couple of seasons we tend to have a habit of sitting back or dropping the tempo after we have taken a lead. It's often said that you're most vulnerable time is just after you have scored and maybe this is a conscious effort to try and keep possession of the ball and nullify that threat. I don’t know this for sure but I can’t really see any other reason that you would consistently do this.
It would be interesting to find out if this is so but in any case it generally tends to let our opponents regroup and gain some confidence again. Without being kamikaze I’d love us to be little more forceful after taking the lead and try to score a second. I’m sure I am not alone in recognising that the tempo seems to always increase second half, especially if we are kicking towards the Kop.
I was also delighted to see Fletcher score direct from a corner to regain the lead against Forest. Due to the lack in height over the past couple of seasons I don’t feel like we have been very dominant at set pieces, especially corners and it was an excellent delivery from Kieren Lee who notched the third.
It's great to have him back in the side isn’t it? He is full of running and tends to be the only man form the middle of the park who will run in beyond the defensive line and stretch the game. It is no coincidence that when he plays we seem to have more space and time in the middle of the park and he loves being in and around the penalty are where his goal scoring and finishing is second to none.
I was rather surprised to see him in the starting line up on Tuesday though. After having quite a bit of time off through his hip injury and the reports that he was still feeling it after Saturday I thought Carlos might have given him a rest. The fact that he not only started but played the full 90 minutes is testament to Kieran Lee and his fitness levels. Missing out on pre season is always a difficult one. You gain your base fitness during pre-season and it tends to see you through the season if you can steer clear of any major injuries. To come back into the starting XI and play two tough, frenetic games in the space of three days is hard going. Let's hope that he can kick on from here and put the frustration of his injury behind him.
Brentford were our visitors on Tuesday night and brought along a game full of pace and energy. Going behind to very uncharacteristic mistake from Keiren Westwood was a real test as they really came to have a go at us. Not only the players but the fans' initial reaction to Westwood's mistake was superb. Everyone got behind the team and we were unlucky not to equalise pretty much straight away through Ross Wallace who made the keeper pull of a great save.
Overall I thought Brentford bossed the first half and we looked slightly off the pace. They had plenty of pace going forwards and caused us a good few problems. Some excellent work by Adam Reach and the Gary Hooper again resulted in us drawing level just before half time and again we came out with a new vigor for the second half. We put them under more pressure and I thought at times played some excellent pieces of football. Adam Reach looks as comfortable as anyone playing at full back and his surges forward are a continuous threat to the opposition. Overall possibly a bit fortunate to come away with the three points but it what was needed and two wins on the bounce will do us no harm whatsoever.
Overall a great week, results wise, that hopefully will have kick-started the season after a bit of a stuttering beginning and with some really tasty games coming up we can go into them with our confidence on the up.
Jon Newsome is the owner of prestige, sports and performance cars specialists, Automarques 21-23 Leigh Street, Sheffield S9 2PR