Nottingham Forest produced a second fightback in five days to secure a 2-2 draw at Doncaster Rovers this afternoon.Federico Macheda had twice put the home side ahead but two strikes of real quality from Chris Cohen and Andy Reid gave Forest a deserved share of the spoils at The Keepmoat Stadium.
Billy Davies made three changes to the side that drew with Middlesbrough in midweek as Kelvin Wilson, Radoslaw Majewski and Simon Cox were replaced by Greg Halford, Darius Henderson and new signing Nathaniel Chalobah.
Roared on by over four thousand travelling supporters, Forest made the brighter start as first Andy Reid then Jamie Mackie tested Ross Turnbull in the Rovers goal.
The home side were content to let Forest have the majority of possession early on but looked useful on the counter-attack. Chris Brown escaped down the right-hand touchline but as he crossed for Theo Robinson, the former Derby man couldn’t connect and the danger was averted.
The Reds were seeing plenty of the ball with both Mackie and Djamal Abdoun looking lively and as the former QPR man broke into the penalty area, he could only scuff a shot from close range straight at Turnbull.
Manchester United loanee Macheda, making his first start for Doncaster, was next to try his luck with a long-range effort. Sprinting to the edge of the Forest area, the Italian struck the ball well but straight into the hands of Karl Darlow.
Shortly after the half-hour mark, The Reds had their clearest sight of goal of the afternoon. Abdoun was left in acres of space at the back post but after taking one touch too many, allowed Doncaster to get back and block his effort.
After a fairly open but uneventful start, the game sparked into life as the home sent went in front. Good link-up play between Ritchie Wellens and Robinson sent the striker racing through the Forest defence.
Robinson got his head up and unselfishly squared the ball to Macheda who placed a cool finish underneath the body of Darlow and into the net to give Rovers the lead.
But within five minutes The Reds were level thanks to a superb finish from skipper Cohen. Eric Lichaj’s cross was flicked on by Henderson and the ball evaded the Doncaster defenders before reaching Reid at the back post.
The Irishman laid the ball off to Cohen and he curled a wonderful finish up and over Turnbull and into the top corner of the net to restore parity.
Forest seemed rejuvenated by finding the equaliser and pushed hard before the break to take the lead. Jack Hobbs and Henri Lansbury both saw shots blocked away by the Rovers defence as the half ended all square.
There were no changes for either side at the interval but the hosts had the first opportunity of the second half. Macheda broke to the by-line and despite delivering a tantalising cross into the six-yard box, none of his teammates attacked the ball and Forest were able to clear.
Doncaster’s new signing was involved in all their attacking play and he restored the home side’s lead eight minutes after the break.
After Robinson broke through in midfield and fed Wellens, the former Leicester man ghosted behind the Forest defence and played a pin-point ball through the penalty area. Macheda was on hand to turn the ball home past Darlow at the back post as The Reds slipped behind again.
Forest were almost on level terms before the hour mark as Reid tested Turnbull’s reactions once again. The midfielder curled a free-kick from 20 yards out and the former Chelsea shotstopper flung himself to his left to turn the ball around the post.
In an attempt to get back into the match, Billy Davies made a double change just after the hour mark with Radi Majewski and Jamie Paterson replacing Nathaniel Chalobah and Djamal Abdoun.
Having had no success with his first two changes, the Forest boss threw his dice for the final time by bringing Matt Derbyshire on for Mackie. The substitute almost made an instant impact as he broke into the box but his low shot was easily saved by Turnbull.
Doncaster could have wrapped things up with 17 minutes to play as Forest went to sleep at the back. Robinson was left unmarked inside the penalty area but the striker could only head over Darlow’s crossbar from a good position.
Pressing for the equaliser, Forest had two shouts for a penalty in as many seconds. Reid and Derbyshire appeared to be felled inside the box but referee Andy Haines dismissed their appeals.
After seeing those shouts turned down, The Reds were level again just two minutes later. Henderson won the ball in the air and from the knockdown, Reid lashed home on the half-volley from 20 yards into the top corner of Turnbull’s net.
The Reds could even have gone ahead with just six minutes to play but Paterson passed up a golden opportunity. With the Doncaster full-back Paul Quinn out of position, Derbyshire escaped down the left-hand side and played a good ball into the six-yard box.
Paterson arrived right on cue but the winger miscued his shot horribly and the ball fell straight into the hands of the grateful Turnbull.
That was to be the last chance of any note at The Keepmoat Stadium as Forest settled for a second consecutive draw and made it three games without defeat.
Forest: Darlow, Lichaj, Hobbs, Halford, Cohen(c), Chalobah (Majewski 63'), Lansbury, Abdoun (Paterson 63'), Reid, Henderson, Mackie (Derbyshire 70')
Subs not used: De Vries, Collins, Moussi, Jara
Scorers: Cohen 40', Reid 81'
Doncaster: Turnbull, Husband, Jones, Khumalo, Wabara (Quinn 58'), Keegan, Furman, Wellens, Brown, Robinson (Cotterill 82'), Macheda (Coppinger 70')
Subs not used: Maxted, Duffy, McCullough, Bennett
Scorers: Macheda 35', 52'
Bookings: Macheda, Wellens
Referee: Andy Haines
Attendance: 12,253 (Away: 4,166)