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Watford 1-1 Forest

25 August 2013

Nottingham Forest secured a valuable point at Watford’s Vicarage Road this afternoon.

Former Red Lewis McGugan equalised for the hosts after Andy Reid had fired Forest in to an early lead.  

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Billy Davies made no changes to the side which beat Bolton 3-0 last Saturday.  

That meant Greg Halford kept his place up front, while Simon Cox was deemed fit enough for the bench - his first involvement since injuring himself against Hartlepool in the Capital One Cup earlier in the month.  

Jamie Mackie had handed Forest the lead within two minutes against The Trotters, and he was heavily involved as The Reds claimed an early advantage again.  

Reid capitalised on a poor defensive clearance by bringing it under control in midfield. He exchanged passes with Mackie, who worked himself into a shooting position in the area before unselfishly supplying Reid. The Irishman finished emphatically beyond Manuel Almunia to spark wild celebrations in the away end.  

Forest were enjoying all of the early play with Reid, Mackie and Halford seeing plenty of the ball in the final third.  

And, but for an Almen Abdi effort which was deflected just wide of Karl Darlow’s post, the hosts were struggling to conjure up anything significant.  

The Reds looked comfortable and went close again as Adlene Guedioura, who was battling superbly in the middle of the park, fired a thunderous effort across goal and just wide of the post.  

With 11 minutes to play in the half, Darlow was called in to make his first save of note as he got down well to hold Diego Fabbrini’s effort.  

Forest went straight down the other end and, after more good link up between Reid and Mackie, Radoslaw Majewski could only fire into the ground and straight into the grasp of Almunia.  

Henri Lansbury had been working tirelessly in midfield throughout the first half but was keen to have an impact at the other end. He fired a low, long-range effort wide on 35 minutes but went much closer as the half neared its conclusion.  

More terrific work by Reid presented Lansbury with a shooting opportunity in the area. He beat his man before striking a low effort across goal perfectly, almost too perfectly - he could only watch on as the ball cannoned off the far post and just out of the reach of Mackie.  

It had so nearly been two, but moments later the hosts came close to notching an equaliser. Fabbrini tricked his way into Forest’s area and sent a dangerous cross towards Troy Deeney, who could only head wide.

On the stroke of the break Chris Cohen was alert to block Ikechi Anya’s effort after former Red McGugan had teed him up from the byline, but Forest saw out the rest of the half comfortably to take a deserved lead into half-time.  

There were no changes at the break and Forest started up again brightly.

Mackie raced into the channel and found Reid with a cross. The midfielder did well to meet it on the edge of the area and was unfortunate to see his first-time effort sail over.  

Forest continued to dominate and Majewski was next to have a go - he ran at The Hornets’ back four before shooting straight at Almunia from the edge of the area.  

The hosts responded with a shot by Anya - it had power, but the direction allowed Darlow to hold on comfortably.  

It had been a frantic opening to the second half and Forest came close to doubling their advantage through Halford. He raced on to Lansbury’s through ball, took it into the area but saw his effort blocked by Almunia.  

And, cruelly, it was 1-1 minutes later as McGugan curled a free-kick out of the reach of Darlow and into the top corner.  

The midfielder had come to life since the interval - next he forced Darlow in to an excellent save after playing a neat one-two to get himself into the area.  

The first change of the game occurred just after the hour as Halford made way for Matt Derbyshire, minutes before McGugan’s afternoon was cut short as Sean Murray took his place.  

And the Watford sub was cursing Darlow moments later.  Daniel Pudil made strides down the left and whipped in a dangerous, low cross which was perfect for the onrushing Murray. He fired towards goal but Darlow did brilliantly to divert it away with his legs.  

Forest’s next change saw Jamie Paterson replace Majewski, and as play resumed it was Almunia’s turn to play the hero.  Mackie burst into the area in ominous fashion, just as he did against Bolton last week, but this time his effort was saved brilliantly.

A swathe of substitutions followed. For The Reds, Mackie made way for Ishmael Miller, while Watford threw on Fernando Forestieri and Davide Faraoni for Iriney and Pudil respectively.  

The second half had been quite a cagey affair but it sparked into life in the last five minutes.  

Anya bought himself some space down the left, cutting on to his right before producing an excellent save from Darlow at his near post.  

Forest then broke through Miller. Despite having an unmarked Cohen to his right he carried on into the area and saw his shot deflect just wide.

Jack Hobbs met the resultant corner with a looping header, which for a moment looked like it was going all the way in, but in the end Almunia held on comfortably.  

Watford went straight down the other end and Fabbrini showed terrific skill to evade Hobbs at the byline. Darlow did enough to divert his cross away at the near post.  

It was well and truly frantic, and Forest could have had a winner in the dying seconds of normal time.

Miller showed terrific strength to win a battle with Anya before racing towards goal. Cutting on to his left, he curled an effort towards the bottom corner. Agonisingly, Almunia's fingertip sent it on to the post.  

It wasn’t over yet - there was still time for Forestieri to lash inches wide after seeing his initial shot blocked by Lansbury.  

And with half a minute to go, Paterson twisted and turned on the edge of the area before sending a shot across goal and well wide - the final action of a terrific afternoon’s entertainment at Vicarage Road.

Forest: Darlow, Lichaj, Wilson, Hobbs, Cohen, Guedioura, Lansbury, Reid, Majewski (Paterson 71'), Halford (Derbyshire 61'), Mackie (Miller 77') 
Subs not used: De Vries, Harding, Collins, Cox 
Goal: Reid 6'
Bookings: Cohen 58', Lansbury 70', Miller 81', Wilson 83', Lichaj 87'

Watford: Almunia, Doyley, Angella, Cassetti, Pudil (Forestieri 77'), Abdi, McGugan (Murray 64'), Iriney (Faraoni 77'), Anya, Deeney, Fabbrini
Subs not used: Brown, Battocchio, Acura, Bond
Goals: McGugan 55'
Booking: Fabrini 70'

Referee: Oliver Langford

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