STUFF

FOREST 4 WIGGUM 3

Died again, several times. Of course, it's not the dying, so much as where it leaves you, that matters.

So, when Forest pressed high, forced a Wiggum mistake, and Britt ran through to slot home the perfect striker's goal, you may have died and gone to heaven. Not any old heaven, this, but a heaven characterised by sweet precision and that general air of things slotting into place and the cheerful promise of abundance. This particular heaven, sadly, was almost immediately stained by the sight of Britt limping out of his celebration and, not long afterwards, out of the match.

A few moments later, it seemed, we died and went to hell. A Wiggum player was freed on Forest's left, and amidst a confusion of sluggish reaction and poor marking, a sharp finish darted across Henderson into the net. This was a hell of freezing silence punctuated by muttered foulness, and that terrible feeling of dread which seems to spread from the defence to the crowd to the defence again.

Hell hath no fury like a Forest scorned, they say, and hopes were raised as the youngsters in red pressed for a second goal. Matty Cash, who absolutely made the most of his opportunity on the day, pitched a wonderful shot against the post, but Kasami couldn't convert the rebound. Vellios's cracker was saved, Osborn tried his luck when perhaps he should have passed. Twisty's pace took him beyond a labouring Wiggum defence, but he too failed to beat their goalkeeper. The half ended with the match threatening to become a frustrating hell all of its own.

Eight minutes into the second half, and we were in heaven again. This time the heaven was of its own making, composed entirely of a splendid sequence of events: Cohen simultaneously placing the ball for a free kick and staring downfield to track Twisty's run, then delivering a sixty yard pass onto Twisty's chest. Twisty controlled it perfectly and bounced it past their keeper. A heavenly move, accompanied by hugs and relief and that swelling conviction that one of our own was becoming a star before our very eyes.

And then a penalty, manufactured by the wise old head of Chris Cohen. And then hell again, as Vellios, desperate for his first goal, delivered a weak attempt which was saved. And then a deeper hell, as Hildeberto failed to stop a cross and a completely unmarked Grigg nodded home past a surprised Henderson. This hell was worse because it was not entirely unexpected. Another reshuffled defence, another chaos of dim reaction and uncoordinated effort, another simple goal for the opposition. The Forest players looked at each other, not exactly knowing who to blame.

The City Ground was turning into the Theatre of the Absurd. A beautiful through pass by Cash (we think) was collected by Twisty, who scored an angled goal with some expertise. Heaven again, surely this time one that promised light at the end of a rocky journey. But no. Not long later a Wiggum throw in was headed backwards by Mancienne, and Grigg pounced again. This really was hellish, like being trapped in some Victorian asylum full of half-lit, haunted faces. The crowd were now anticipating the deepest hell of all, the one we'd be plunged into when Wiggum scored their winner.

Well at least Forest seemed to be avoiding that particular horror, as full time ticked into extra time, leading to odd musings about why Forest matches always last longer than everybody else's, about whether Will Grigg's unenthusiastic celebrations meant that he was off to pastures new, about how the Forest defence could possibly manufacture the father of all cockups in the dying moments. And then, in added time, came the final death, the final petite mort as the French say (look it up). Hildeberto performed one last bit of wriggling magic and crossed precisely to Lam, who swept it home. What fresh heaven was this? The lunatics broke out of the asylum and scattered joyously through the grounds. Grown men swore undying love for the centre half. The Theatre of the Absurd exploded in earthy appreciation. Forest had won 4-3 again.

So after all these deaths, where does that leave us? Well, somewhere between heaven and hell, in a place that's called Purgatory. That sounds bad, but I would remind you that everyone who enters Purgatory is eventually purged of their sins and ends up in heaven. How long we have to wait for that, however, is anybody's guess.


OTHER STUFF

SEASON 2016/17
01 06.08.16 FOREST 4 BURTON DOWN 3
02 12.08.16 HOVE 3 FOREST 0
03 16.08.16 BENTFORD 1 FOREST 0
04 20.08.16 FOREST 4 WIGGUM 3
05 27.08.16 FOREST v LEED









Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time; and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing.