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Derby Draw For 21s

28 February 2014

Nottingham Forest were held to a 1-1 draw following a last-gasp Derby County goal in a fiercely-contested local derby this afternoon.

Ryan Sellers' 82nd minute header wasn't enough as The Rams poured forward late on to grab a deserved equaliser through Mason Bennett.

A healthy crowd that included former Forest boss Steve McClaren watched on as the two sides slugged it out in a scrappy, fast-paced encounter.

The first chance of the game fell to Bennett, who when played through, could only direct the ball wide from the edge of the area.

Bennett's pace continued to trouble the Forest centre-halves Lawrence Gorman and Sellers, as both sides struggled to retain the ball for long, with Bennett's speed proving effective in behind. 

Forest's first opportunity fell to Josh Rees, who attempted a spectacularly-ambitious 25-yard drive, which was saved comfortably by Kelle Roos.

A glorious chance came Derby's way following a hopeful punt from keeper Roos, as it fell kindly for Michael Hoganson on the edge of the area, who fired just past the post much to Dimitar Evtimov's relief. 

The Rams continued to apply the pressure and Forest found it difficult to create anything clear-cut in the sticky conditions, as the breaks usually fell fortuitously for the opposition.

Derby's experienced left-back Lee Naylor delivered a good curling cross towards Andrew Dales, who could only head it down the throat of a well-positioned Evtimov.

Dales caught brief sight of the goal once again, spooning a wonderful chance over the bar as the Forest back-line were caught sleeping.

The Reds' trio of Jack Blake, Ben Osborn and Kieran Wallace hassled the opposition successfully but struggled to be productive in possession, with the latter replaced by Deimantas Petravicius at half time, with the aim of providing for the frustrated Tyler Walker and Stephen McLaughlin up front. 

The second half brought a tidier, more intent Forest. Rees' tough tackling allowed Osborn and Blake to both flourish, springing forward willingly to force Derby back. 

Slack defending from Charlie McParland's men nearly let Derby in for the opener. The decision for the defence to burst forward at the point of the set-piece being taken nearly proved costly, with the linesman refusing to flag despite protestations, but Josh Lelan failed to capitalise poking the ball just wide. 

Admirable interplay between Blake, Osborn and Rees then saw the latter get a shot away just inside the area, which was bravely blocked.

Bennett was played through once again and won the header against an onrushing Evtimov, who could only observe as the ball raced quickly towards goal before a chasing Gorman got back to hook the ball off the line. 

The 17-year-old Derby man was once again at the forefront of his side's attacking play. A wonderful individual effort from the striker beating three defenders nearly ended in glory, but was once again denied on the line, this time by Kamal Gutmy. 

Great work from McLaughlin down the left then saw the palms of Roos tested, as the Irishman powered a shot towards goal. 

Forest could only apply rare pressure, but that was enough to grab the opener against the run of play. 

Jack Blake's inswinging corner in the 82nd minute found the leap of Ryan Sellers who outmuscled his marker to head home past a helpless Roos.

With only seconds remaining, Derby poured forward and were finally rewarded for their efforts. 

Bennett found room inside the 18-yard-box, but this time made Forest pay. A left-footed strike found its way past Evtimov via a deflection to deny the away side a sucker-punch of a victory, and ensured the sides shared the spoils.

Forest remain four points ahead of Derby, sitting comfortably in mid-table and next face a trip to Coventry City on March 7. 

Team: Evtimov, Polimos, Gutmy, Rees, Gorman, Sellers, Wallace (Petravicius 45'), Blake, Walker (Otim 70'), Osborn, McLaughlin.
Subs not used: Durrant, Schoenecker, Hollingworth  

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