Report: Nottingham Forest 0-0 Bristol City
Saturday, April 28th 2018
Frank Fielding stood firm to deny former teammate Lee Tomlin’s second-half penalty, to earn City a 0-0 draw on the road at Nottingham Forest.
The Robins were certainly under the cosh for much of the match at the City Ground, with Fielding impressing and Forest wasting several opportunities, before Lee Johnson’s side improved in the second half.
Famara Diédhiou thought he had broken the deadlock not long after Tomlin’s penalty miss, only for his goal to be disallowed for offside.
But City ended their penultimate game of the campaign with a clean sheet and a point, which confirms the end of their play-off chances.
City made two starting XI changes: Eros Pisano and Callum O’Dowda were rested on the bench, while Lloyd Kelly and January recruit Liam Walsh were handed starts
Johnson’s side settled well on the slick-looking City Ground surface with Walsh and Marlon Pack spraying great balls wide to give City width early on.
However Fielding was certainly the busier of the two keepers, first matching Tomlin’s low strike inside the fifth minute - Forest’s first of 14 first-half shots.
CONCERN FOR BAKER
All those attached to Bristol City then watched on nervously when play was stopped after Nathan Baker hit the ground.
Forest forward Daryl Murphy’s powerful strike pummelled into the defender’s face and the stretcher was required to carry him off the field.
Baker was replaced by Callum O’Dowda after a five minute stoppage and was applauded off by both sets of supporters.
FOREST ON THE ATTACK
Then came a flurry of chances for the home side but their inability to hit the target kept the scores level. Tomlin scopped over the bar, as did Joe Lolley, while Andreas Bouchalakis couldn’t keep a fierce effort down as Forest piled on the pressure.
But City showed glimpses of their threat and unfortunately nobody in purple and green were on hand to tap in Famara Diédhiou’s teasing cross-cum-shot just before the half-hour mark.
It was Pack’s turn to have a crack on goal shortly after when Forest could only clear a throw as far as the City midfielder, lurking on the edge of the box, but his first-time strike rolled inches wide of Stefanos Kapino’s right-hand post.
But Forest were soon back in control, with Lolley in the thick of their attacks: first he whipped a ball into the box which Daryl Osborn header over, before he evaded Walsh and Pack on his way toward goal but Fielding parried away when the shot came.
Diédhiou went close with a bending effort from the edge of the box but the ball wouldn’t curl quickly enough before heading out for a goal kick while back at the other end, former Robin Tomlin was again denied by a diving save from Fielding.
Then came a let off for City as Adlene Guedioura arrived unmarked in the box to meet Osborn’s cross from the left, but he somehow poked the ball wide from close-range, to the dismay of both the Forest fans and himself.
City would certainly count themselves lucky as half-time approached and they had to survive one more scare when Tomlin danced in and out of the area before laying the ball to Guedioura. He found Lolley out wide whose shot, the officials judged, glanced off Fielding’s fingertips as it headed towards the top corner moments before the half-time whistle arrived.
Play resumed in similar fashion after the break, with Fielding again getting down low to save from a Tomlin shot, before midfielder Bouchalakis skied over with 54 minutes on the clock.
But the hosts got themselves into a pickle with Jack Colback pushed into a corner. He tried to clear the ball across his own box where Reid was on hand to intercept but he could only shoot off target from the angle.
END TO END
Then came heart in mouths time when Fielding raced off his line before bringing down Osborn in the box, leaving referee Jeremy Simpson with no choice but to point to the spot.
Up stepped Tomlinwith the chance to score against his former club but Fielding guessed correctly, diving to his right to keep out the spot kick.
City raced up the other end and Diédhiou looked to have put the Robins ahead after capitalising on a mistake from Michael Mancienne. He was through on the Forest keeper, who he rounded before tapping into an empty net, only to be greeted by a raised flag for offside.
Josh Brownhill and Eros Pisano entered the fray as City looked to finish the game the stronger side and they were certainly more improved. By now Forest’s chances were limited and Korey Smith looked to get himself on the scoresheet with an effort from distance, which sailed not all that far over Kapino’s crossbar.
A nail-biting finale ensured however, when Forest looked dangerous around the City box once more but the visitors held on to claim the point.
The result wouldn’t be enough to continue a fight for a play-off place but they will now be hoping to end the season on a high, when they host Sheffield United at Ashton Gate in their final game of the 2017/18 campaign next Sunday (May 6th, 12.30pm kick-off).