Nottingham Forest played out a 1-1 draw at Motherwell’s Fir Park this evening to record an unbeaten 2013-14 pre-season.196 Reds fans watched on as Matt Derbyshire’s early strike, his fourth of pre-season, was cancelled out by Bob McHugh’s late equaliser.
Forest nearly had the lead on six minutes after an excellent move. Chris Cohen showed great strength to rob James McFadden on the touchline before laying it off to Andy Reid. The Irishman raced into the area, played a neat one-two with Dexter Blackstock and saw his low shot from a tight angle well saved by Lee Hollis.
But The Reds did have the lead on 12 minutes. Henri Lansbury played Blackstock into the right-hand channel and the Antiguan’s low cross was turned home by Derbyshire, who did well to guide his finish into the roof of the net under pressure.
Forest were dominating possession in a match which wasn’t throwing up many clear cut chances. Paterson shot over after latching onto Lansbury’s through ball on 22 minutes before Motherwell’s McHugh picked the ball up outside the area and sent a shot just wide.
It wasn’t until seconds before half-time that Dorus De Vries was called in to serious action. John Sutton met a free-kick perfectly with his head and the keeper did brilliantly to dive to his right to divert the ball to safety and to preserve Forest’s lead going into the interval.
The Reds made one change at the break as Radoslaw Majewski replaced Lansbury.
On 58 minutes, Adlene Guedioura showed excellent skill to get into the area, only to see his effort deflect wide for a corner. A minute later, Greg Halford came on for Jack Hobbs.
As play resumed, Cohen’s drilled, low cross found its way to Guedioura at the back post. The Algerian’s first-time effort was straight at Hollis, who did well to react quickly enough to turn it wide.
It was time for Dan Harding to take to the field on 66 minutes - he replaced Eric Lichaj, and four minutes later Ishmael Miller and Simon Cox took to the field in place of Blackstock and Derbyshire respectively.
As play resumed, de Vries had to be alert to save at his near post after a high ball found its way to McHugh in the area.
Shortly afterwards, Guedioura made way for Simon Gillett.
With a quarter of an hour to play, Miller spun away from his marker well and played a through ball for the overlapping Harding. He raced towards the edge of the area and saw his shot diverted over the crossbar by a defender.
At the resultant stoppage, Danny Collins made way for Jamaal Lascelles.
On 82 minutes Majewski squared the ball to Miller on the edge of the area. The striker allowed the ball to run onto his left before firing a low effort just wide of goal.
Forest had looked comfortable all half, but Motherwell managed to conjure up an equaliser with seven minutes to go.
Substitute Zaine Francis-Angol wriggled away from Harding down the left before cutting it back for McHugh in the area. He composed himself before dispatching high beyond de Vries, the final action of note in Forest’s final pre-season match before next Saturday’s curtain-raiser against Huddersfield Town.
Forest: de Vries, Lichaj (Harding 66'), Collins (Lascelles 77'), Guedioura (Gillett 72'), Cohen(c), Lansbury (Majewski 46'), Reid (McLaughlin 84'), Hobbs (Halford 59'), Blackstock (Miller 70'), Paterson, Derbyshire (Cox 70')
Subs not used: Darlow, Greening
Scorer: Derbyshire 12'
Motherwell: Hollis (Nielsen 75'), Hammell, Ramsden, Hutchinson (Murray 78'), McManus (Kerr 52'), McFadden (Francis-Angol 63'), Lawson, Sutton (Moore 80'), Vigurs (Carswell 63'), Lasley (Erwin 75'), McHugh
Scorer: McHugh 83'
Referee: Alan Muir
Attendance: 2,230 (Away: 196)