Lewis McGugan was Nottingham Forest’s hero yet again as he scored a last-second penalty to secure a 1-1 draw at Burnley this afternoon.
Junior Stanislas’ deflected effort had given the hosts a second-half lead and, for the second time in as many games, it appeared as though Billy Davies’ unbeaten record was coming to an end.
But when referee Nigel Miller awarded The Reds a penalty in the 96th minute, McGugan made no mistake in firing home the equaliser in front of a jubilant away end.
Davies made six changes to the side which drew with Brighton on Saturday - Greg Halford came in for Danny Collins, Gonzalo Jara Reyes for Sam Hutchinson, Guy Moussi for Adlene Guedioura, McGugan for Radoslaw Majewski, Dexter Blackstock for Darius Henderson and Billy Sharp for Simon Cox.
The new-look Reds claimed the first chance of the day on four minutes. McGugan’s cross from the right was perfect for Sharp who saw his header well tipped over by Clarets ‘keeper Lee Grant.
Sharp turned provider on 13 minutes when he latched on to Cohen’s cross at the back post. He sent the ball back in and Elliott Ward could only head straight at Grant.
Moments before, Charlie Austin had blasted over after racing on to a through ball - and The Clarets almost had a fortuitous opener when Ross Wallace’s corner caused chaos in the area. The ball found its way safely to Karl Darlow, however.
The Reds went straight down the other end and, after receiving the ball from McGugan, Henri Lansbury’s curling 20-yard effort was saved comfortably by Grant.
Forest had Darlow to thank on 25 minutes for producing an excellent save from Stanislas. The former Hammer latched on to a cute ball in behind The Reds’ defence and his curling effort was tipped wide superbly.
Eight minutes later, Andy Reid picked it up on the left. Sharp’s run towards the byline opened up space for McGugan who received the ball from the Irishman with time and space. His effort from 20 yards was saved one-handed by Grant.
The first half fizzled out without a clear cut chance falling to either side, but the hosts did muster a shot seconds after the break. Austin picked it up, drove towards the Forest area and sent his strike straight at Darlow.
The next effort came in the 68th minute, and it proved to be a pivotal one.
McGugan’s corner found its way to Stanislas who led a pacy counter attack before handing possession to Joseph Mills, on for the injured Ben Mee. Reid couldn’t set himself to clear Mills' cross and it went all the way through to Stanislas, whose shot deflected off the midfielder and beyond Darlow for the opening goal.
Davies then made three changes - Blackstock for Henderson, Sharp for Cox and Reid for Majewski.
With ten minutes to play, Mills almost doubled the hosts’ lead when he unleashed a powerful drive just over Darlow’s crossbar.
The full back was then booked for a late lunge on Lansbury.
Forest began to apply pressure as injury time loomed. Halford saw his 89th-minute header tipped over from McGugan’s corner and, a minute later, Cox’s cut back from the byline bobbled up off Majewski and out for a goal kick.
The fourth official indicated five minutes of added time - during which both referee and linesman inexplicably failed to see that McGugan’s 94th-minute effort had looped out off a defender for a corner.
A goal kick was awarded and, as The Reds desperately continued their search for an equaliser, Lansbury was furious to see a handball shout turned down.
But the midfielder did have Nigel Miller pointing to the spot in the dying seconds when he was felled by Kevin Long in the area. McGugan coolly slid the equaliser to Grant’s right with the final kick to earn Forest a point.
Forest: Darlow, Jara, Ward, Halford, Cohen (c), Moussi, Lansbury, McGugan, Reid (Majewski 76'), Blackstock (Henderson 74'), Sharp (Cox 74')
Subs not used: Evtimov, Harding, Collins, Greening
Scorer: McGugan (pen) 90'
Booking: Lansbury 65'
Burnley: Grant, McCann, Austin, Wallace (Ings 71'), Shackell (c), Vokes, Bartley, Mee (Mills 60'), Stanislas (Edgar 90'), Long, Tripper
Subs not used: Jensen, Paterson, Stock, Kacaniklic
Scorer: Stanislas 68'
Bookings: Wallace 27', Mills 82'
Referee: Nigel Miller