Nottingham Forest came within minutes of completing the double over league-leaders Leicester City this evening, only to be left frustrated by a late equaliser.
Jamie Vardy’s opener was cancelled out by goals from Jamie Paterson and Andy Reid before the break. But, despite having Paul Konchesky sent off on the hour, the table-toppers scored a late equaliser through Riyad Mahrez after Karl Darlow had saved Kevin Phillips’ penalty.
Billy Davies made two changes to the side which faced Sheffield United in the FA Cup on Sunday. Darlow came back in for Dorus de Vries, while Jamie Mackie replaced Darius Henderson. Former Reds Wes Morgan and Konchesky both started for The Foxes.
Forest had the first real chance of the game on seven minutes when Paterson was clattered by Marcin Wasilewski two yards outside the ‘D’. Kasper Schmeichel always looked comfortable as Reid sent the ball over the wall and sailing wide of the post.
The home side had started the brighter and threatened again two minutes later. Reid and Paterson were again involved, the Irishman sending the latter racing down the left. Paterson tricked his way past Ritchie De Laet and into the area, curling the ball towards goal. Schmeichel was equal to it, palming the ball into the middle of his box where his defenders were on hand to clear it.
But for a couple of goal-mouth scrambles the visitors hadn’t really threatened in the opening stages, and it was Forest again who pressed forward on 17 minutes. Radi Majewski’s long-range effort resulted in the ball skipping up off Morgan and out for a corner. Danny Collins stooped to meet Paterson’s inswinging delivery but Konchesky got to the ball first to clear it away.
Two half-chances followed for Leicester - Morgan heading the ball wide from a corner before, two minutes later, Gonzalo Jara did well to block Lloyd Dyer’s near post effort after the winger had received a cut-back from Konchesky.
But Forest came close to opening the scoring minutes later after Mackie and Simon Cox had both worked hard to win a corner. Collins rose highest in a crowded area to meet the ball, which had been floated in by Reid, powering it towards goal with his head. Schmeichel did brilliantly to leap into the air and push it over the bar.
Collins came close again from the resultant corner, again benefiting from Reid’s delivery - this time a low, whipped cross. The defender got his toe to the ball and, amid claims it had taken a nick off a Leicester player, could only watch it go just wide of the post.
But a defensive mix-up led to Leicester scoring an equaliser on the half-hour mark. Darlow and Jamaal Lascelles failed to deal with a bouncing ball and, after the keeper tried to punch it away under pressure from Nugent, Vardy was first to it, skipping away from some desperate defending to roll the ball into an unguarded net.
Some more sloppy play five minutes later presented the visitors with a chance to double their lead. This time Jara was the culprit, conceding possession to Anthony Knockaert in the middle. The Frenchman could only fire the ball wide from just outside the area.
The Reds appeared to be struggling to compose themselves following the goal, as demonstrated by their inability to clear the ball two minutes later. Matty James failed to capitalise, blasting it over from 22 yards.
But any nerves were settled on 39 minutes when the home side leveled the scores. Reid’s corner was half-cleared to Paterson, who set himself in a split second before brilliantly nodding the ball into the far corner of Schmeichel’s net - his third headed goal in as many matches.
Reluctant to let their hosts regain the ascendancy, Leicester set about regaining their advantage. Vardy showed great pace to skip away from Lascelles on the edge of the area before unleashing a fierce left-footed shot towards goal. Darlow dived low to his left and pushed the ball away with a strong hand.
Forest had the bit between their teeth though, a fact typified by the tireless work of Mackie two minutes before the interval. After a Reds attack broke down Leicester looked set to clear, only for Mackie to somehow nip in ahead of Morgan on the edge of Leicester’s area. The pair tumbled over each other and referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot. Reid sent Schmeichel the wrong way, placing the ball low to the keeper's left to send his side into the break 2-1 up.
Neither side made a change at half-time and Forest came out for the second half all guns blazing.
Danny Fox played a lovely ball behind Leicester’s defence for Paterson to run onto within two minutes of the restart. The winger fired the ball into the area low and hard from the left, and for a second it looked like Cox would have a simple tap-in at the back post, only for Morgan to slide in and divert it away heroically.
But the visitors were quick to remind the hosts of their own threat. A long ball over the top sparked a footrace between Vardy and Collins. The defender couldn’t clear and Vardy got goal side, where he looked certain to get a shot away from point-blank range. Collins, however, slid in brilliantly, taking the ball away cleanly to relieve the danger.
An entertaining encounter was showing no signs of slowing down as Forest worked a chance of their own. Paterson’s first-time ball found Fox in acres of space deep in Leicester territory. The full-back showed quick feet to work some space in the area before firing the ball wide from a narrow angle.
Forest had, up until this point, managed to keep The Foxes’ star striker Nugent quiet, but the forward had a golden chance to level the scores on the hour mark. Drinkwater took the ball into the area, committing Collins before cutting it back for Nugent. The striker was well placed but could only send the ball wide of the far post with a first-time effort.
And there was double frustration for the visitors moments later as, following a clash with Mackie on the touchline, Konchesky was shown a straight red card.
Henderson replaced Cox during the resultant stoppage, and it perhaps should have been 3-1 as play resumed. The ball dropped nicely for Lascelles in the area following Reid’s free-kick and the defender watched it drop onto his boot, volleying it inches wide of the post.
Keen to make their man advantage count The Reds pressed on. Collins kept the ball alive on the edge of the area following a set piece and Mackie did well to shield the ball as it dropped, spinning to face goal. It looked like he was being tugged back as Leicester’s defenders desperately tried to halt him, but the referee was unmoved and the visitors cleared the danger.
Next to threaten The Foxes' goal was Majewski, who received the ball from Paterson as The Reds countered quickly. Morgan slipped as the Pole reached the edge of the area, but he could only direct his left-footed effort straight at Schmeichel.
Despite being down to ten men Leicester were refusing to lie down. Mahrez, on for Knockaert, was tripped by Reid before smashing the ball into the wall from the resultant free-kick.
And the visitors hauled themselves level with eight minutes of normal time remaining. The referee’s assistant flagged for a penalty after Paterson had bundled into Drinkwater in the area. Phillips, on for Nugent, saw his penalty brilliantly saved by Darlow. But the visitors kept it alive and Mahrez was able to tap the ball into an empty net from two yards.
Leicester weren’t letting their intensity drop and could have taken the lead shortly afterwards. Drinkwater played a one-two with Phillips in the area but dragged his shot wide.
Four minutes of added time were indicated at the end of normal time, in the second of which Liam Moore, on for Dyer, sent the ball over from the edge of the area.
There was to be one last chance for Forest, who won a corner when Paterson’s teasing cross to the back post took a deflection on its way behind, but they couldn’t find a winner and the match ended 2-2.
Darlow, Halford, Lascelles, Collins, Fox (Harding 78'), Jara, Reid (c) (Djebbour 86'), Majewski, Mackie, Paterson, Cox (Henderson 62')
Subs not used: De Vries, Greening, Abdoun, Derbyshire
Scorers: Paterson 39', Reid (pen) 43'
Booking: Fox 70'
Schmeichel, De Laet, Morgan (c), Wasilewski, Knonchesky, Knockaert (Mahrez 70'), James, Drinkwater, Dyer (Moore 64'), Nugent (Phillips 71'), Vardy
Subs not used: Logan, Wood, Hammond, King
Scorers: Vardy 29', Mahrez 82'
Bookings: Morgan 42', De Laet 74'
Sent off: Konchesky 60'
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Attendance: 24,808 (Away: 1,997)
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