Nottingham Forest’s City Ground played host to a nail biting mid-table clash on Saturday afternoon, as Steve Cooper’s side welcomed Julen Lopetegui’s Wolves. Neither team would be able to rise any higher than thirteenth regardless of the result, though Forest would have leapfrogged their opposition if they could pick up all three points.
NFO: Navas; Toffolo, Niakhate, Felipe, Williams; Danilo, Freuler, Mangala; Dennis, Johnson; Gibbs-White
WOL: Sa; Gomes, Kilman, Dawson, Semedo; Lemina, Neves; Nunes, Moutinho, Traore; Cunha
Wolves were exploited early on as Remo Freuler split the visitors’ back line with a through ball to Brennan Johnson, who worked his way past Max Kilman before curling a shot towards goal – but Jose Sa was able to tip it over the crossbar.
Matheus Nunes attempted to find Matheus Cunha with a cross in from the left flank, but it was a little too high for the Brazilian. Moussa Niakhate flicked it backwards towards Keylor Navas – but his pass struck the crossbar, and what an own goal that could have been!
Brennan Johnson opened the scoring in the 38th minute after Danilo worked his way past Ruben Neves before playing it out to the Welshman, who let the ball bounce before driving a low strike past Sa into the bottom corner to give Forest the lead.
Steve Cooper’s side could have doubled their lead ahead of half-time as Morgan Gibbs-White’s free-kick was headed towards the back post by Felipe – but Emmanuel Dennis’ sensational overhead kick was sent well over the crossbar.
Wolves felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the 52nd minute, as Adama Traore was shoved to the ground by Felipe. The referee waved their appeals away though, and the VAR officials agreed with Chris Kavanagh’s initial decision – but each team had a member of their backroom staff sent off after an argument broke out on the touchline.
Forest came close to doubling their advantage with just over an hour played, as Morgan Gibbs-White looked to take advantage of acres of open space in behind. The youngster found Emmanuel Dennis, but his strike was saved by the leg of Jose Sa – and Brennan Johnson sent the rebound wide of the post.
With less than ten minutes left to play, Daniel Podence found an equaliser for Wolves with their first shot on target of the match. Max Kilman’s cross into the box was played out to Pedro Neto by Diego Costa, and while his effort was blocked, Podence was ready to pounce and curled his strike into the back of the net!
The drama was far from over though, as Diego Costa was brought to the ground by Kouyate. Somewhere in the midst of the resulting argument, Daniel Podence was the subject of a VAR check for a possible red card – but nothing was given. Kouyate had alleged that the Portuguese star had spat at him, but the replays were inconclusive and Chris Kavanagh couldn’t dismiss the goalscorer.
That result sees both sides pick up a point, and Wolves remain in 13th. Forest are just a point behind in 14th, as they moved up the table following Leeds’ loss to Arsenal.