A late equaliser from Jamie Paterson gave Nottingham Forest a 2-2 draw in an entertaining pre-season friendly with Royal Antwerp.
With just nine minutes remaining, it was left to one of Forest’s summer signings to rescue the match in style. Paterson flicked the ball past an Antwerp defender, sprinted through the visitors’ defence and calmly slid the ball under Sengier to restore parity.
In an enthralling game, Forest should have been level immediately and only Derbyshire and Dexter Blackstock will know how they weren’t. The front two were both inside the Antwerp six-yard box but were denied by some last ditch defending on the goal line.
The Belgian side were on the march and went ahead five minutes later to the delight of the visiting supporters. A corner was laid off to the edge of the area and Bakkenes was on hand to place his shot low into the corner of Darlow’s net.
Antwerp didn’t have to wait long for their equaliser as Jordan Faucher fired them level just before the hour mark. As the visitors broke from a Forest corner, the striker raced onto a through ball from Tano and did superbly to keep his composure and slide a low finish under Darlow.
The City Ground faithful were witnessing end-to-end football and were soon on their feet to applaud a wonder save from Darlow. Kevin Tano made space for himself just inside the area and curled a beautiful effort that was heading for the top corner. Darlow had other ideas though, and leapt to his right to fingertip the ball over the bar.
Forest could have doubled their lead early in the second half as Derbyshire, who was getting into all the right positions, latched onto Lichaj’s reverse pass inside the area but was denied by a smart stop from Sengier.
Greg Halford then entered the action at half-time replacing Hobbs whilst Antwerp made two changes in an attempt to get back into the contest.
Shortly before the break, Guvenc unleashed a rasping drive from 20 yards and was unfortunate to see it fly just over the angle of post and crossbar as The Reds held their slender lead at the interval.
Derbyshire then came inches away from doubling his and Forest’s tally as he headed Darius Henderson’s cross to the back post against the crossbar.
Both sides were moving the ball around nicely in an attractive encounter and it was an Englishman that almost got the visitors level as John Bostock, formerly of Tottenham Hotspur, curled his free-kick agonisingly wide from 23 yards out.
Having won all of their pre-season games so far, Antwerp manufactured their first chance of the afternoon but the diminutive Emrullah Guvenc could only shoot straight at Karl Darlow from the edge of the area.
Forest could have extended their lead just moments later as Lansbury found space inside the box but the midfielder was denied at close range by the legs of the goalkeeper.
Majewski’s pass found Reid inside the Antwerp area and the Irishman was upended by Jonas de Roeck, resulting in Derbyshire confidently placing his spot-kick to the left of the diving Sengier.
The Belgian supporters were in full voice early on but Forest quickly silenced them in the sixth minute as they took the lead from the penalty spot.
New signings Eric Lichaj and Jack Hobbs were given their first starts at The City Ground whilst Dorus de Vries and Paterson took their places on the bench.
The former Belgian champions had come from behind in the second half after Matt Derbyshire’s early penalty but were pegged back late on by a moment of brilliance from Paterson.
Sengier, Marzo (Iboma 60), de Roeck, Diakite, Vansteenkiste, de Decker, S.Kil (Bakkenes 46), Bostock, van Tornhout (Faucher 46), Guvenc, Tano (Carvalho 83) Royal Antwerp:
: Derbyshire (pen) 7', Paterson 81'Scorers
Darlow, Lichaj (Cohen 72), Collins (Lascelles 72), Hobbs (Halford 46), Harding, Lansbury (Paterson 72), Greening (Moussi 66), Majewski (McLaughlin 77), Reid (Gillett 66), Derbyshire, Henderson (Blackstock 66) Forest:
Referee: David Coote