Nottingham Forest picked up another late point courtesy of Lewis McGugan as the midfielder came off the bench to score an 81st-minute equaliser in this afternoon’s 1-1 draw with Blackpool.Ludovic Sylvestre put The Reds behind for the fourth game in a row, but McGugan’s introduction off the bench brought about another recurring theme - his sixth goal in as many matches.
Isiah Osbourne had been red-carded for the visitors for a challenge on Greg Halford in the second-half.
Billy Davies made four changes to the side which drew at Burnley on Easter Monday - Adlene Guedioura recovered from concussion in time to replace Guy Moussi, Radoslaw Majewski came in for Lewis McGugan, Simon Cox for Billy Sharp and Darius Henderson for Dexter Blackstock.
After a quiet opening nine minutes, Blackpool’s Nathan Delfouneso picked it up on the left before cutting on to his right and curling his effort on to Karl Darlow’s crossbar from the edge of the area.
Forest had dominated possession from the off without creating anything clear-cut, and the next threat at goal again came at the wrong end as Tom Ince saw his 24th-minute shot deflect kindly into Darlow’s path.
Moments later, The Reds went close through Simon Cox - his first-time effort flew just over the bar from 20 yards out.
But on 27 minutes Sylvestre picked the ball up from Gary Mackenzie just outside the ‘D’ and curled a precise effort to Darlow’s left for the opening goal.
Forest almost had an equaliser on the half-hour mark. Henri Lansbury latched on to Andy Reid’s chip and his low cross from the byline just evaded Darius Henderson in the middle, who for a moment looked certain to score.
The Reds nearly compounded their own frustrations on the stroke of half-time when Gonzalo Jara Reyes failed to control the ball in his own area and Ince’s shot deflected behind for a corner.
The resultant delivery was claimed by Darlow but, as the two sets of players raced away to regain their shape, Henderson clashed with Kirk Broadfoot. The pair were booked and Forest went in to the break 1-0 down.
The Reds started the second half brightly, and a continued spell of pressure in The Tangerines’ half resulted in a 51st-minute corner. Elliott Ward could only head Radi Majewski’s delivery over Matt Gilks’ crossbar.
Moments later, the ball rolled out to Chris Cohen on the edge of the area but the full-back could only direct his right-footed curler straight at the ‘keeper.
Forest were the dominant force and on 58 minutes their cause was helped by the dismissal of Osbourne. The former Reds loanee’s challenge on Halford in the middle was deemed an offence worthy of a straight red card.
From the resultant free-kick, Halford saw his shot blocked as the pressure mounted on the visitors.
The 67th minute saw McGugan’s introduction as the in-form midfielder replaced Reid.
He proceeded to have three shots in as many minutes. His first - a well-struck volley from Guedioura’s cross - was well saved by Gilks. The ‘keeper watched his other two efforts fly off-target.
On 72 minutes came The Reds’ second substitution - Dexter Blackstock for Majewski.
Four minutes later, Blackstock lobbed it to the byline and McGugan won a race with Cox to send the ball into the middle, but no-one was there to capitalise.
Lansbury then saw a shot deflect wide before Guedioura made way for Billy Sharp.
With only ten minutes to play, nerves were beginning to creep in and when Cox’s effort was brilliantly saved by Gilks it seemed like time was running out.
But, as the striker raced on to the rebound, he was felled by Chris Basham and Mr Pawson had no option but to point to the spot. McGugan made no mistake to claim his sixth goal in as many matches.
The fourth official indicated seven minutes of added time but, frustratingly, The Reds failed to create another good opportunity and the match ended 1-1.
Forest: Darlow, Jara Reyes, Ward, Halford, Cohen (c), Guedioura (Sharp 79'), Reid (McGugan 67'), Lansbury, Majewski (Blackstock 72'), Cox, Henderson
Subs not used: Evtimov, Hutchinson, Collins, Moussi
Scorer: McGugan (pen) 81'
Bookings: Henderson 45', Cox 83, Halford 90'
Blackpool: Gilks, Baptiste, Broadfoot, MacKenzie (Cathcart 54'), Crainey, Osbourne, Basham, Sylvestre, M Phillips (Harris 85'), Ince (Eccleston 90'), Delfouneso
Subs: not used Halstead, Eardley, Angel, Grandin
Scorer: Sylvestre 27'
Booking: Broadfoot 45'
Sent off: Osbourne 58'
Referee: Craig Pawson
Attendance: 22,812 (Away: 627)