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Club News

Blackburn 0-0 Forest

14 December 2015

Nottingham Forest extended their unbeaten run to four matches with a 0-0 draw at Ewood Park tonight.

The Reds came agonisingly close to an injury-time winner when Rovers keeper Jason Steele made a superb save to deny Matt Mills, tipping the defender's header on to the post.

Blackburn were earlier left ruing the woodwork after Ben Marshall's deflected effort cannoned off the crossbar.

The match was a scrappy affair but Forest remained resolute in defence to secure a valuable point and clean sheet.

Dougie Freedman made four changes to the team that drew at Wolves on Friday night.

Dexter Blackstock, who scored Forest's equaliser at Molineux, came into the starting line up along with Jamie Ward, Jonny Williams and Robert Tesche. Nelson Oliveira, David Vaughan, Chris O'Grady and Ryan Mendes were the men to miss out.

The first chance of the match fell to Forest on two minutes. Williams displayed good control to bring the ball down near the halfway line. He supplied Ward, who was pushed wide by a Blackburn defender. The winger managed to get his shot away but he could only fire the ball straight at Steele from the edge of the area.

Blackburn's response came eight minutes later when Craig Conway whipped the ball into the middle from a free-kick down the right. Hope Akpan met the ball with his head but could only direct it over the bar.

Michael Mancienne was the first name in the referee's notebook after he was booked for hauling back Fode Koita in the middle. Conway's subsequent free-kick found Shane Duffy, who headed the ball powerfully towards goal. Dorus de Vries got down low to make the save.

It was proving to be a scrappy first half with few chances for either side. Jordan Rhodes was being kept quiet but he came alive on 30 minutes when he got around Mancienne at the near post and dived to meet Conway's cross. The forward couldn't angle the ball inside the post with his header.

Rovers were looking the more likely team to take a first-half lead and they nearly had one nine minutes before the break. Former Leicester winger Marshall saw his long-range effort take a deflection off Eric Lichaj. With de Vries stranded, the ball struck the underside of the bar and bounced away to safety.

Tesche joined Mancienne in the book for a mistimed challenge on Conway shortly before the referee called time on the first half.

Forest emerged unchanged for the second half and set about breaking the deadlock when Ben Osborn supplied Lansbury in space 25 yards out. The Forest captain connected sweetly with his shot but it was comfortably dealt with by Steele.

Freedman's first change came on 57 minutes when Oliveira replaced Williams.

And, with 20 minutes to play, a superb piece of skill from the substitute almost proved the catalyst for Forest taking the lead. He spun away from a Blackburn man majestically in midfield before passing the ball to Osborn on the left. The winger cut back inside on his right and struck the ball towards Steele's bottom corner. The keeper dived to his right to make the save.

Moments later, Rovers missed a huge chance to take the lead when substitute Corry Evans' cross from the right picked out Koita unmarked six yards out. He could only head the ball straight into de Vries' arms.

Forest were presented with a good opportunity of their own with quarter of an hour to play when Osborn was tripped in a dangerous position. Ward took charge of the free-kick but blasted the ball into the wall.

With full-time approaching the match was stopped for a lengthy period when Lee Williamson, who only moments earlier had replaced Akpan, was assessed by medical staff following a heavy fall. He was deemed fit to continue.

Forest's final change saw O'Grady replace Blackstock shortly before eight minutes of added time were indicated by the fourth official.

And injury time saw Forest come within inches of grabbing a dramatic winner. Lansbury's corner was met by Mills at the back post. He headed the ball goalwards but Steele made a stunning save to push it on to the post.

There were no more chances for either side and the match ended 0-0.

Forest: De Vries, Lichaj, Mancienne, Mills, Pinillos, Ward, Lansbury (c), Williams (Oliveira 57'), Tesche, Osborn, Blackstock (O'Grady 88')

Subs not used: Evtimov, Trotter, Vaughan, Hobbs, O.Burke

Bookings: Mancienne 18', Tesche 43'

BlackburnSteele, Henley, Duffy, Hanley (c), Olsson, Marshall (Taylor 74'), Guthrie (Evans 65'), Akpan (Williamson 83'), Conway, Koita, Rhodes

Subs not used: Eastwood, Spurr, Kilgallon, Lawrence

Bookings: Guthrie 46', Olsson 57', Koita 60'

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Attendance: 12,002 (491 away)

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