Nottingham Forest had every reason to feel disappointed after only claiming a point from the visit of high-flying Blackburn to The City Ground.Sean O’Driscoll’s men dominated for long spells of the game but were unable to find a way past former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson.
He rolled back the years to deny Henri Lansbury a first goal for The Reds, while Andy Reid and Billy Sharp also went close to breaking the deadlock on a night of frustration O’Driscoll and his players.
The draw at least applied the brakes to a run of two successive defeats for Forest who will make the trip to Peterborough on Saturday looking for a first win in six.
Lansbury was handed his first start – one of two changes O’Driscoll was forced to make to his starting line-up.
Simon Cox and Dexter Blackstock were ruled out through suspension, which gave Sharp the chance to join Lansbury in the side.
O’Driscoll included Jermaine Jenas in his plans for the first time since the midfielder’s return to The City Ground on an emergency loan from Tottenham.
The 29 year old England international was named among the substitutes, more than 10 years after his last appearance in a Reds shirt.
Chances were very much few far and between in the first half, although Forest did threaten in the closing stages of the first half.
Scott Dann blocked a goal-bound header from Sharp, just moments after Robinson had pushed a long-range shot from McGugan behind for a corner.
McGugan was at the heart of Forest’s brightest moments in the opening 45 minutes.
His first minute corner flashed across the face of the visitors’ goal with both Daniel Ayala and Chris Cohen inches away from getting a crucial touch.
And later in the first half his right-wing cross gave Sharp a sight of goal, although the on-loan striker failed to get any power on his shot.
Blackburn arrived in Nottingham unbeaten on their travels in the Championship and knowing victory would take them level on points with second-placed Leicester.
Grant Hanley tested Lee Camp early on with a shot from just outside the area but for all Blackburn’s probing, they failed to create a clear-cut opening before half-time.
Reid fired inches over the Blackburn bar from a partially cleared corner at the start of the second half as The Reds looked to strike the opening blow.
The home side survived a scare in the 58th minute when Cohen appeared to trip Blackburn’s £8million striker Jordan Rhodes in the area but referee Mick Russell waved away penalty appeals.
Lansbury’s invention created the beat goal-scoring opportunity of the game on hour mark. The former Arsenal man created space for himself just inside the area with a sublime first touch but Robinson parried his shot.
Lansbury was withdrawn shortly afterwards and his replacement Radoslaw Majewski almost made an immediate – and significant - contribution. He skipped past a challenge from Martin Olsson on the bye-line but his cross was hacked clear by Bradley Orr on the goal-line.
Reid’s guile and invention created an inviting 70th minute opportunity for Sharp but the former Doncaster man fired into the side-netting from eight yards out.
O’Driscoll introduced Jenas to the action 18 minutes from time – at the expense of McGugan – as Forest looked to make their dominance count but all to no avail.
Forest: Camp; Halford, Ayala, Collins(c), Harding; Gillett, Cohen, McGugan (Jenas 72'), Reid (Coppinger 86'), Lansbury (Majewski 63'); Sharp.
Subs not used: Evtimov (GK), Moussi, Greening, Moloney.
Blackburn: Robinson, Orr, Olsson, Givet, Lowe, Formica, Murphy(c), Dann, Gomes (Kazim-Richards 64'), Hanley, Rhodes (Dunn 86').
Subs not used: Nunes, Pedersen, Rochina, Ribeiro, Kean.
Referee: Mick Russell
Attendance: 18,748 (Away: 1,158)