By Aidan Elder | Chief sports writer
There’s was some football played over the weekend, not that you’d have guessed it from today’s sports pages both on and offline. Chewy Suarez is the only show in town when it comes to the sports media, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that some odds-on teams failed to deliver, knocking out quite a few accums and earning them a place in today’s Hall of Shame. Hopefully you didn’t back any of these teams, but if you did here’s some abuse and a brief explanation as to why they flopped.
Roma – 1/5
Opposition: Pescara at the Stadio Olimpico (Serie A)
What went wrong?
Roma have been no great shakes this season despite some excellent ‘one man teaming’ from Francesco Totti, but against bottom of the table Pescara, they were expected to record a comfortable win in front of their rather raucous support.
The Dolphins are a huge eight points and a goal difference swing of 31 goals away from safety and wouldn’t look more destined to go down if Kate Winslet and Leo Di Caprio were sharing a passionate embrace on their bow. They’re both the lowest scorers and the leakiest team in the league, but despite those lowly stats, Roma could only manage a draw.
The minnows took the lead after 15 minutes, but thereafter Roma huffed and puffed admirably. They had an impressive 17 attempts at goal, racked up 18 corners and blew the house down with a goal from Mattias Destro after 51 minutes. They couldn’t manage to do it a second time however, leaving them with a solitary point that isn’t much help in their chase for a Europa League place. See, every cloud does have a silver lining.
Rangers – 2/7
Opposition: Peterhead at Ibrox (Scottish Division Three)
What went wrong?
Rangers booked their ticket out of the footballing black hole that is Scottish Division Three a couple of weeks back and since then I’d imagine it’s all been Irn Bru fuelled parties and pointless fist-shaking in the direction of the Scottish FA.
That’s probably not what happened, but with the league title in the bag, the biggest challenge for the Rangers players for the remainder of the season is avoiding a prank phone call which ultimately leads to you getting sacked.
Complacency wasn’t a huge issue against promotion chasing Peterhead, certainly not as much as bad finishing and an inspired performance from Graeme Smith in the minnows’ goal. Lee McCulloch put the Ibrox side on the road to victory with a goal after 12 minutes, but Rangers took a detour off that road by conceding goals in the 23rd and 56th minutes. They tried their best, but narrowly failed to get back on terms. It was frustrating, but almost certainly not as frustrating as seeing Neil Lennon smugging things up with the SPL title at Celtic Park the next day.
Doncaster – 8/15
Opposition: Notts County at Deepdale (League One)
What went wrong?
A win over a Notts County team with little to play for would have secured automatic promotion to the Championship for Doncaster, but a hatful of wasted chances leaves them with a winner takes all game at third placed Brentford next week. Well, thankfully for Rovers its winner or a draw takes all for them, which makes this defeat slightly less of a kick in the nuts.
Wastefulness was the main culprit, that and some Notts County defending that was far more enthusiastic than you’d expect for a team with not much to play for at this stage of the season. After going behind to a Joss Labadie strike, Donny rallied, but despite lots of pressure and lots of chances for the home crowd to go ‘oooouuuuuu’ at chances fizzing just wide, they couldn’t find the net. Not legally at least because they did manage a disallowed goal.
Manager, Brian Flynn remained optimistic despite the setback, glass-half-fulling:
When I took over, if someone had offered me the position of winning our last game to go up I’d have taken it without doubt.
Sadly he’s have also taken winning our second last game at home to mid-table muddlers to go up and that didn’t work out too well. Donny are now 2/5 to go up, which isn’t too bad.
Nottingham Forest – 8/11
Opposition: Barnsley at the City Ground (League One)
What went wrong?
To be honest, Nottingham Forest were very unlucky and that’s saying a lot because normally I prefer to ignore claims of ‘bad luck’ in favour of taunting teams remorselessly. Forest hadn’t won in five games heading into this one, but as Barnsley are right in the middle of a relegation scrap and considered worse than both Blackburn and Wolves, that run was expected to come to an end.
Billy Davies’ team did their best and he wasn’t in the mood to bust their balls afterwards:
I couldn’t ask more from the players. You have all seen the post hit, the bar hit, all the chances we created, all the crosses and there’s no doubt we deserved three points. Lady luck was against us
The stats back up his assessment, particularly the one that says they hit the woodwork three times and generally bossed the game in terms of possession (62%), chances created (14) and corners (15). Despite going six games without a win, Forest aren’t yet out of the running for the play-offs, but they’ll need to show more cutting edge and ability to tell Lady Luck to shove it for the last two games of the regular season.