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Match Reports

Forest v Leeds

27 December 2015

Forest 1-1 Leeds

Nelson Oliveira's sixth goal of the season earned Nottingham Forest a 1-1 draw against Leeds United at The City Ground this afternoon.

Oliveira had given Forest a first-half lead as they looked for a fifth home win in a row but Sam Byram struck a late leveller to give the visitors a point to take back to Yorkshire as The Reds made it six games without defeat.

Dougie Freedman made one change from the side which beat Milton Keynes Dons last time out as Jack Hobbs replaced Daniel Pinillos with the Spaniard set for a long spell on the sidelines through injury.

A crackling atmosphere greeted the teams' arrival at The City Ground and it was Leeds who had the first chance of the afternoon after only two minutes as Stuart Dallas fired a warning shot across Dorus de Vries's goal and wide of the target.

Byram had scored two goals for Leeds in their recent win at Wolves and there was danger for The Reds as he made his way into the box after a neat one-two. The midfielder went down under Matt Mills' challenge but was shown a yellow card by referee James Linington for simulation.

It wasn't long though before Forest went in front. Mills played a delightful cross-field ball over the top and as Leeds goalkeeper Marco Silvestri and his defence hesitated, Oliveira nicked the ball away before slotting calmly into an empty net.

Leeds had a good opportunity to hit back shortly after the half-hour mark as Charlie Taylor delivered a superb left-wing cross but Chris Wood could only head over the crossbar as he lent back to try and make a good connection.

Chris O'Grady tried his best to double The Reds' advantage before half-time as tried a speculative effort from long range but it deflected up off a Leeds defender and into the grateful hands of Silvestri.

The two teams were unchanged after the interval and Oliveira had a chance to give Forest the perfect start two minutes into the second half. The Portuguese striker lined up a free-kick just outside the Leeds penalty area but his powerful strike was always rising and narrowly cleared Silvestri's crossbar.

Leeds then set about trying to equalise in the same way from which they had fallen behind as Wood latched onto a long ball over the top of the Forest back four. With de Vries unsure whether to come or stay at home, Wood fired high and wide and into the Bridgford Stand.

Ryan Mendes was the first Forest man to go into the referee's notebook on 57 minutes as the winger was cautioned for hauling back Taylor as Leeds broke down the left-hand side.

The resulting free-kick came to nothing and as Forest broke at the other end of the field, Ben Osborn's long-range strike earned a corner. Henri Lansbury's delivery to the back post was good but Mills saw his looping header cleared off the line by Luke Murphy.

Both managers then made their first changes of the game shortly after the hour as Jamie Ward replaced Mendes for Forest while Leeds brought on striker Souleymane Doukara in place of Lewis Cook.

Despite Leeds enjoying the majority of possession Forest were looking dangerous on the counter-attack and as Oliveira raced through the midfield, his ball through to Osborn was too strong and drifted behind for a goal-kick.

Freedman then opted to switch his formation to a 4-5-1 as he brought O'Grady from the field and replaced him with Robert Tesche.

Lansbury and Leeds defender Giuseppe Bellusci were both booked on 71 minutes as they angrily confronted each other after the Forest captain had challenged Silvestri for a ball inside the visitors' penalty area.

Steve Evans' side were leaving themselves exposed as they chased an equaliser and Ward almost made them pay four minutes later. He charged through the centre of the park unchallenged and Silvestri had to produce a fingertip save to turn his powerful shot over the crossbar.

The visitors had their leveller with ten minutes to play however. Byram received the ball 20 yards from goal before firing a precise effort beyond the outstretched de Vries and into the corner of the net.

Forest manager Freedman responded by making his final substitution as Oliver Burke came on for his fourth appearance of the season in place of David Vaughan.

With six minutes remaining Leeds had a golden opportunity to go in front as Scott Wootton was released down the right-hand channel. His cross in was a good one but substitute Mirco Antenucci somehow stabbed it wide of goal.

Antenucci turned provider two minutes later as he put a dangerous ball into the Forest penalty area but Wood couldn't make proper contact from six yards out and the ball drifted through to de Vries.

The game was an end-to-end affair in the closing stages and The Reds were next to attack. Burke came agonisingly close to his first goal in Forest colours as he hit a sweet strike but it cannoned off Silvestri's far post and away to safety.

Three minutes of stoppage time were added on at the end of the game but neither side could find a winner and the spoils were shared between two of the Sky Bet Championship's in-form teams.

Forest: De Vries, Lichaj, Mills, Hobbs, Mancienne, Lansbury (c), Vaughan (O.Burke 83'), Mendes (Ward 62'), Osborn, Oliveira, O'Grady (Tesche 68')

Subs not used: Evtimov, Trotter, Blackstock, C.Burke

Goal: Oliveira 17'

Bookings: Mendes 57', Lansbury 71', Osborn 81'

LeedsSilvestri, Wootton, Bellusci, Cooper (c), Taylor, Byram (Coyle 90'), Cook (Doukara 62'), Bridcutt, Murphy, Dallas (Antenucci 77'), Wood

Subs not used: Peacock-Farrell, Bamba, Adeyemi, Sloth

Goal: Byram 80'

Bookings: Byram 14', Bellusci 71'

Referee: James Linington

Attendance: 27,551 (1,980 away)

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