AFC Bournemouth scored an injury-time equaliser to leave Nottingham Forest frustrated at The City Ground this afternoon.A sensational first-half Henri Lansbury strike looked like it was going to be enough to earn the hosts all three points, but Marc Pugh scored in the first of five added minutes at the end of the match to earn the visitors a draw.
Billy Davies was forced into two changes from the side that won at Brighton before the break. Eric Lichaj, who before this afternoon hadn’t missed a minute of league action since joining in the summer, and Nathaniel Chalobah were both suspended. Gonzalo Jara Reyes and Djamal Abdoun replaced them.
Kelvin Wilson had been missing since picking up a back injury in the draw against Middlesbrough last month but he was deemed fit enough for the bench as Danny Collins kept his place alongside Jack Hobbs.
The visitors, kicking towards The Trent End, offered the first threat at goal when Lewis Grabban’s low cross drew a slide from Hobbs, who deflected the ball into Karl Darlow’s grateful grasp.
And Bournemouth should perhaps have had the lead when Tokelo Rantie raced onto Andy Reid’s undercooked back pass, only for Darlow to react quickly to smother brilliantly.
Forest came up with an immediate response through Abdoun. The Algerian cut in from the right and drew a save low down from West Ham loanee Stephen Henderson. The ball spilled from his grasp and Simon Cox charged in to try and knick it away from the keeper, catching him in the process. It looked innocuous but Henderson required lengthy treatment and was eventually stretchered off and replaced by Ryan Allsop.
The Reds had dominated possession without carving out anything clear cut, but they had their first proper sight of goal on 21 minutes. Abdoun found Lansbury with a neat pass and the former Arsenal man took it into the area. Lansbury composed himself before skewing his shot across goal and wide of the post.
Bournemouth reacted quickly and Darlow again had to save well from Rantie after the South African international took the ball across the edge of the area and struck firmly towards goal.
Forest were still enjoying the lion’s share of play and could have been ahead on 26 minutes. Lansbury found Cox with a fantastic through ball. The Irishman had beaten the offside trap and his touch took him onto his left with only the keeper to beat. He connected well with his shot but could only watch on as it flashed wide of the post.
The Cherries were proving stubborn in defence and on 35 minutes Chris Cohen tried a different tactic in a bid to unlock them. After the visitors had failed to properly clear Radi Majewski’s corner, Cohen found himself in possession near the byline with a packed penalty area awaiting his delivery. He opted for power with his cross, which somehow evaded everyone and flew out for a goal kick.
But if Forest were becoming frustrated with Bournemouth’s reslience, Lansbury delivered the perfect tonic on 39 minutes.
He picked the ball up in plenty of space and it was clear he had only one thing on his mind. His effort arced way out of Allsop’s reach and into the top corner from 30 yards.
The opener lit up a first half which had been diffused somewhat by Henderson’s injury, a moment everyone was reminded of as seven minutes of added time were indicated at the end of the half.
Reds defender Collins had received treatment earlier in the half and in the sixth added minute was forced to make way for Wilson.
And Bournemouth almost had an equaliser shortly after his departure as The Reds failed to deal with a long throw. Grabban, one of the division’s top scorers, hit the post amid the ensuing melee and Simon Francis blasted over on the follow-up.
Experienced full back Ian Harte made way for Charlie Daniels at the break as Eddie Howe sought a way back into the match for his side.
Forest emerged unchanged and Jack Collison was booked soon after the restart after catching Reid late.
The Reds soon reasserted their dominance, with Abdoun looking particularly bright. The former Olympiacos man first received a nice flick from Majewski before seeing his shot blocked before Darius Henderson’s header from the Algerian’s cross was diverted away from goal by the head of Steve Cook.
Keen to put the game further out of Bournemouth’s reach, Forest continued to press and went close twice in quick succession on the hour mark.
Cox ran into the area and managed to dig out a shot despite being surrounded by defenders. It was straight at Allsop, who blocked, but Cox was first to the rebound. He composed himself before sliding it across goal in Henderson’s direction but the striker seemingly couldn’t set himself and it ran away from him.
Henderson’s footwork didn’t desert him two minutes later, however. Abdoun’s through ball was exquisite and the striker did well to nip in ahead of Allsop before wrong-footing the keeper on the edge of the area. With the goal gaping, he stretched to turn it home but sent the ball crawling agonisingly the wrong side of the post.
Majewski made way for Jamie Mackie shortly afterwards.
Forest thought they had it all wrapped up on 66 minutes when Henderson headed home, only for the referee to rule his effort out for a push.
Six minutes later, Cohen embarked on a brilliant run down the left, shrugging off two men before cutting back to Cox on the edge of the area. The striker’s shot was blocked and he made way for Matt Derbyshire shortly afterwards.
The visitors could have been out of the game by this stage but were refusing to lie down. Brett Pitman, on for Andrew Surman, sent a free-kick high over Darlow’s crossbar before Harry Arter gained similar altitude on his own effort from the edge of the area with three minutes of normal time to play.
But in the first of five added minutes the visitors had an equaliser as Pugh turned in the area and beat Darlow at his near post with a low, well struck effort.
Forest went close to restoring their lead through Abdoun, but the Algerian’s effort from the edge of the area curled just over the angle of post and crossbar and the game ended 1-1.
Forest: Darlow, Jara, Hobbs, Collins (Wilson 45'), Cohen (c), Lansbury, Majewski (Mackie 64'), Reid, Abdoun, Cox (Derbyshire 73'), Henderson
Subs not used: De Vries, Harding, Halford, Paterson
Scorer: Lansbury 39'
Bookings: Cox 69', Lansbury 81', Hobbs 89', Darlow 89'
Bournemouth: Henderson (Allsop 13'), Francis, Ward, Cook, Harte (Daniels 46'), Surman (Pitman 73'), Collison, Arter, Pugh, Grabban, Rantie
Subs not used: Elphick, MacDonald, O'Kane, Thomas
Scorer: Pugh 90'
Booking: Collison 52'
Referee: Philip Gibbs
Attendance: 28,070 (Away: 1,067)