Nottingham Forest played-out an entertaining 0-0 draw with Brighton in front of a record crowd of 26,684 at the AMEX Stadium this afternoon.The Reds made four changes for the trip with Guy Moussi, Chris Cohen, Daniel Ayala and Adlene Guedioura coming in for Lewis McGugan, Simon Gillett, Elliott Ward and Henri Lansbury.
The hosts enjoyed a bright start and after Cohen had conceded a corner four minutes in, David Lopez’s delivery found Inigo Calderon unmarked, only for the Spaniard to head harmlessly over.
And Calderon went much closer three minutes later after he was teed-up by Craig Mackail-Smith. His left-footed effort from the edge of the area clipped the post.
And on 11 minutes it was Will Hoskins’ turn to go close. He stretched to meet a cross from the left but put it wide under pressure from Danny Collins.
Andy Reid did his best to respond a minute later but his shot from the edge of the area flew way over Tomasz Kuszczak’s crossbar.
And the hosts then went close twice in quick succession. First Bridge fired wide after good work by Will Buckley and then Hoskins somehow volleyed over from close range after a good knock-down by Mackail-Smith.
Forest were being restricted to speculative long-range efforts but the same couldn’t be said for Brighton who went close yet again when Hoskins headed Andrew Crofts’ cross over.
The Reds carved-out an opening moments later, however, when Sharp squared it for Reid in the box. The Irishman met it cleanly first time but couldn’t quite keep it down.
On 32 minutes Mackail-Smith made strides into the box and flashed a low effort across Camp and just wide of the post.
And the keeper was called into action six minutes later when he tipped Calderon’s effort over.
Just before the break, Mackail-Smith turned Daniel Ayala inside out before sending his shot wide from inside the area.
But for all the home side’s pressure it was Forest who would go closest in the first half. Cohen latched on to a through ball from Reid down the left and crossed low for Sharp. The striker’s deft flick looped up and over Kuszczak but rebounded off the bar.
Greg Halford replaced Dan Harding at half time and the full back made an immediate impact. His low cross from the byline was turned wide by Dexter Blackstock under the close attentions of Adam El-Abd.
The substitute was then booked for a foul on Buckley and the resultant free kick went all the way through to Hoskins but he could only scuff his volley wide.
Halford was then given his final warning after tripping his man out wide, before he clashed with Buckley off the ball. The coming-together provoked a furious reaction from the home support but in the end both players went unpunished.
Forest made their second change of the game on the hour mark when Guedioura was replaced by Lansbury.
And the substitute went close six minutes later. Hutton’s cross was met by Blackstock whose neat knock-down found Lansbury on the edge of the area. His first time effort fizzed along the greasy turf and into Kuzczak’s hands.
The game was now at the mercy of torrential rain and Hoskins headed for the shelter of the bench on 70 minutes when he was replaced by Kazenga Lua Lua.
Four minutes later it appeared a Forest short corner had gone awry but Reid managed to wriggle his way into the box and cross to the back post but Ayala could only turn it over from close range when the ball was knocked back in.
And The Reds went close again when Blackstock flashed his header wide from Halford’s cross.
On 81 minutes Lua Lua got away from Hutton and Camp did well to tip his low effort wide.
Having looked much sturdier at the back since the break, all Forest’s hard work was nearly undone five minutes from time when Halford’s slip let Buckley through one-on-one with Camp. The Northern Irishman pulled off an excellent one-handed save to deny him, however.
And with seconds of normal time remaining, Ayala plucked the ball away from Barnes to deny a certain goal.
Gillett replaced Reid in the second minute of stoppage time - the final incident of note in an exciting game on the South coast.
Forest: Camp, Hutton, Ayala, Collins (c), Harding (Halford 46'), Moussi, Guedioura (Lansbury 60'), Cohen, Reid (Gillett 90'), Blackstock, Sharp
Subs not used: Darlow, McGugan, Majewski, Ward
Bookings: Reid 16', Halford 54'
Brighton: Kuszczak, Greer (c), El-Abd, Hoskins (LuaLua 70'), Crofts, Mackail-Smith, Calderon, Lopez (Barnes 78'), Bridcutt (Hammond 83'), Bridge, Buckley
Subs not used: Brezovan, Dunk, Dobbie, Harley
Referee: Graham Salisbury
Attendance: 26,684 (Away: 1,860)