Forest earn draw at Stamford Bridge

With the threat of relegation still looming for Steve Cooper’s Nottingham Forest, his side swapped the Trent for the Thames on Saturday. Frank Lampard’s second stint in the dugouts at Stamford Bridge has been far from smooth sailing thus far, and there’d be plenty of hope for Forest fans ahead of this fixture.

CHE: Mendy; Hall, Badiashile, T. Silva, Chalobah; Gallagher, Fernandez, Kovacic; Sterling, Felix, Madueke

NFO: Navas; Niakhate, Felipe, Worrall; Lodi, Yates, Mangala, Aurier; Danilo, Gibbs-White; Awoniyi

Forest were the first to find the back of the net after thirteen minutes, as Taiwo Awoniyi headed home into an empty net. Renan Lodi’s cross from the left found the striker perfectly, and Chelsea were made to pay for their defensive errors.

Chelsea seemed to grow into the game though, and had plenty of chances within the opening thirty minutes. Chalobah broke free on the left before crossing to Hall on the opposite side of the pitch, but the youngster’s low drive was blocked well by Aurier. Kovacic also looked to create an opportunity for the Blues, but his through ball towards Sterling was cut out by Worrall.

Still trailing, Raheem Sterling cut inside from the left before powering a thunderous effort towards goal from distance – but a perfectly-timed challenge from Yates was enough to bring an end to the danger. The Blues had been by far the better side, as Hall surged past Aurier – creating space to fire a cross towards Joao Felix. The Portuguese forward’s header looked destined for the far corner, but Keylor Navas was able to make the save and prevent a certain goal.

The teams headed down the tunnel, with Forest still holding their surprise lead. Taiwo Awoniyi’s early strike had forced the Blues into action, and they’d been the better team ever since – but Frank Lampard’s side still lacked that final finishing touch and they trailed as a result.

Forest looked to double their advantage soon after the break, as Felipe flicked a corner towards Niakhate at the back post. The Frenchman’s close-range volley was sent inches wide of the post though, sailing out for a goal-kick.

It was Chelsea though that struck next, breaking forward with pace. Madueke allowed Chalobah to run free on the right flank, and his cutback pass found Sterling who drove home into the bottom corner. It had been a dream start to the second half for the Blues, who now held the momentum to grab a second.

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And that’s exactly what they did! Gallagher attempted to find the back of the net from distance, but his shot was held comfortably by Navas – and Joao Felix nestled an effort on the roof of the net soon after. Ultimately though, it was Raheem Sterling to the rescue once again – having received the ball from Loftus-Cheek, he darted through the Forest defence before propelling the ball into the top corner.

Spectacularly though, Forest drew level four minutes later through Taiwo Awoniyi. Mangala’s ball into the box found the Nigerian, who managed to head home at full stretch – finding the bottom corner to bring Forest level in this tie. The second half certainly hadn’t lacked action!

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The chances didn’t stop there, as Lodi’s effort from a tight angle flashed across the face of goal before sailing out wide for a goal-kick. The Brazilian looked set to pick out the top corner moments later with a thunderous half-volleyed effort, but once again it flew just wide of the woodwork.

Ultimately though, neither side would be able to find a breakthrough – and the sides settled for a point apiece. Chelsea’s season is almost over, and they’ve nothing to play for – but this a huge result for Steve Cooper’s Forest.