Robert Tesche came off the bench to earn Nottingham Forest a 1-1 draw in stunning style against Charlton Athletic this afternoon.
The summer signing from Hamburg replaced Henri Lansbury at the break and cancelled out Callum Harriott’s first-half opener with a superb half-volley just before the hour.
Stuart Pearce made two changes to the team he selected to face Birmingham last weekend. Out came top scorer Britt Assombalonga, who was serving a one-match suspension following his dismissal at St Andrew’s, while Chris Burke also dropped to the bench.
Burke’s omission paved the way for Jamie Paterson to make his first league start of the season, while Tom Ince was the man chosen to replace Assombalonga, lining up behind Matty Fryatt. Dexter Blackstock was named on a bench which also included Jack Hunt and David Vaughan.
The game started with Charlton in the ascendancy, the visitors going close on three minutes after Eric Lichaj lost a 50-50 with Jordan Cousins. Igor Vetokele benefited, dribbling into the area from the left and crossing the ball. With Karl Darlow stranded, Michail Antonio had to turn it behind at the back post. The subsequent corner caused problems but Forest managed to ride out the danger.
Cousins was proving to be a threat early on and drew a booking for Henri Lansbury on seven minutes when he was tripped after leading a speedy break down the left.
And the Charlton winger played a big role as the visitors took the lead ten minutes later, bringing down a crossfield ball and cutting it inside for Harriott. His shot from just outside the area took a deflection off a Forest defender on its way into the bottom corner of Darlow’s net.
The Reds had been punished for a slow start but sought a way back into the game immediately. Paterson’s dangerous cross was nodded in the direction of Antonio by a Charlton defender, but the winger could only curl the ball high over the bar.
Five minutes later, good play between Fryatt, Lansbury and Ben Osborn resulted in the ball being worked to Paterson, who could only pull it wide of the post with his left foot from the edge of the ‘D’.
The visitors were forced into a change shortly afterwards as their captain, Johnnie Jackson, was deemed unfit to continue. He was replaced by Lawrie Wilson.
Forest continued their attempts to find an equaliser, with Antonio keen to spark his side into life. He was blocked off by Francis Coquelin down the left, earning the Charlton midfielder a booking, and goalkeeper Nick Pope had to punch the ball away from Paterson’s subsequent inswinging free-kick.
The ball fell for Osborn, whose shot from range took a deflection on its way out for a corner. Vetokele managed to clear the danger with his head, five minutes before he met a cross at the other end.
Coquelin provided the delivery from the right after breaking from midfield and Vetokele generated terrific power on his header from eight yards. Darlow made an excellent save and the ball fell to Wilson to the left of goal. Forest’s defence managed to quash the danger.
Antonio and Paterson swapped wings later in the half and the move almost paid dividends on 39 minutes when the former cut in from the right with the ball. He could only strike it straight at the keeper from 18 yards under pressure from a Charlton man.
The Addicks have developed a reputation as a tough side to break down and Forest were finding that to be the case. Shortly before half-time the ball fell to Paterson in an attacking position but Charlton’s defence managed to slow their hosts down, goalkeeper Pope eventually doing brilliantly to claim a speculative cross under pressure to give his men some respite.
And Pope was called into action again in the dying seconds of normal time when Lansbury got himself into a shooting position after playing a one-two with Antonio. The midfielder opened his foot on the shot but couldn’t get the direction he was looking for, striking the ball straight at the keeper from the edge of the area.
That was to be Lansbury’s final action in the game as he was replaced by Tesche at half-time.
Forest came out fighting in the second half, with Fryatt left frustrated on three occasions early on.
Antonio was again key, embarking on a strong run down the left and crossing the ball into the middle within two minutes of the restart. Fryatt was just underneath the ball, but Forest kept the move alive and worked it to Antonio once again. This time Fryatt sprawled to meet the cross but Tal Ben Haim proved too big an obstacle for the striker to circumnavigate in his bid to make contact with the ball at the near post.
Fryatt did get his head to a cross from the left seven minutes later, this time from Danny Fox, but he was again just underneath the ball and unable to direct it towards goal.
Forest were looking dangerous nevertheless and came agonisingly close to scoring an equaliser on 55 minutes. Another Fox cross caused problems, with Fryatt applying pressure on his marker in the middle, allowing the ball to run through to Ince. The loanee was unlucky to send the ball just wide of the far post with a well-struck half-volley.
The home side were completely dominating the game by this stage and were appealing for a penalty when Paterson appeared to be clipped after turning brilliantly and scampering into the area.
Referee Kevin Wright said no, much to The City Ground crowd’s despair, but it wasn’t to matter as Tesche produced a sublime equaliser a minute later.
No doubt still infuriated by the officials’ decision not to award him a penalty, Paterson was heavily involved. His cross from the left was half-cleared by the head of a Charlton defender. Tesche, in space 25 yards from goal, chested the ball down and struck it sweetly into the top corner with his left foot.
The Reds had worked hard to get back into the game but were almost masters of their own downfall only three minutes after pulling level, giving the ball away sloppily and allowing Vetokele to slip Harriott through one-on-one with Darlow down the right. The keeper came out to narrow the angle and made a good save with his legs.
Pearce will no doubt have been pleased with Tesche’s impact however, the midfielder seeing another powerful effort blocked before taking a booking for the team by tripping Cousins on his way into Forest territory.
And the German broke up play well with 14 minutes to go to present Ince with a chance to run at the Charlton defence. Upon reaching the area he was blocked off and the ball was worked to Antonio, who found the visitors in typically resolute form. Paterson was next to have a go but he could only fire the ball over the bar.
Blackstock replaced Ince shortly afterwards, making his first league appearance at The City Ground since April 2013.
And the big striker did well to latch on to a deep cross with ten minutes to go, heading the ball towards goal. Pope was waiting at his near post to make a comfortable save.
As full-time approached Blackstock was emerging as a focal point of Forest’s attack, twice knocking the ball down for team-mates to have efforts at goal. Antonio was the first to benefit, striking the ball low from range. Pope showed good hands to hold on to it, but the keeper could only watch on two minutes later as Paterson pounced to strike the ball just wide from the edge of the area.
Four minutes of added time were indicated at the end of the match, in the second of which Charlton’s Frederic Bulot replaced Johann Gudmundsson.
Forest won a corner with ten seconds left. Blackstock met it, heading the ball towards Fryatt who had peeled into an unmarked position at the back post. The striker couldn’t react quickly enough, however, and nodded the ball over the bar.
Forest: Darlow, Lichaj, Mancienne, Lascelles, Fox, Antonio, Osborn, Lansbury (Tesche 46'), Paterson, Ince (Blackstock 76'), Fryatt
Subs not used: De Vries, Wilson, Hunt, Vaughan, Burke
Goal: Tesche 59'
Bookings: Lansbury 8', Tesche 72'
Charlton:Pope, Solly, Fox, Ben Haim, Bikey-Amougou, Gudmundsson (Bulot 90'), Cousins, Coquelin, Jackson (Wilson 20'), Vetokele, Harriott
Subs not used: Etheridge, Gomez, Onyewu, Buyens, Pigott
Goal: Harriott 10'
Booking: Coquelin 30'
Referee: Kevin Wright
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