Nottingham Forest were held to a 1-1 draw in a pre-season friendly at Doncaster Rovers this evening.
The home side took the lead through a clinical Curtis Main finish but Chris Burke levelled the scores before the break with a superb individual effort.
Bulgarian keeper Dimitar Evtimov was handed a start by Dougie Freedman, while two Spaniards lined up in the full back positions: Roger Riera on the right and trialist Daniel Pinillos on the left.
Forest created the first chance of the game on five minutes following good interplay between Chris Burke, Jamie Ward and trialist Paul Taylor. The ball arrived at Dexter Blackstock’s feet in the area but the striker could only scuff it wide.
Freedman’s men found themselves behind on 16 minutes when they failed to clear a Doncaster free-kick, handing Main the opportunity to lash the ball past Evtimov to make it 1-0.
Taylor tried to issue an immediate response when he cut inside from the left before bending the ball goalwards. Unfortunately for him, it sailed wide of the far post.
Evtimov was tested shortly afterwards when Cedric Evina struck the ball straight at him from the edge of the area. The Bulgarian pushed it away well.
It was becoming an open affair at the Keepmoat as Forest pressed for an equaliser. On 22 minutes, Taylor took the ball across the edge of the area, beating three defenders before sending the ball bobbling just wide.
Shortly afterwards, Burke led a Forest counter attack down the right before playing the ball infield to Ward, who saw his shot blocked. The ball fell to Blackstock, who was unable to generate sufficient power on his effort to trouble Rovers keeper Thorsten Stuckmann.
But Forest’s frustrations were eased on 34 minutes thanks to a flash of Burke brilliance. He turned away from his man superbly down the right, cut inside and curled the ball elegantly into the far corner.
Rovers wasted no time in attempting to regain the lead. Harry Forrester twice went close in quick succession, seeing his shot diverted off-target by Pinillos before Kelvin Wilson cleared his effort off the line shortly afterwards.
It was then Blackstock’s turn to have chances to give his side the lead. Both came from Burke corners, the first of which saw the striker’s header deflect off a Doncaster man and wide. Blackstock met Burke’s resultant delivery with a diving header but the ball was blocked on the line by a Rovers defender.
The final action of an even first half saw the home side’s Harry Middleton send the ball over the bar with a powerful strike from just outside the area.
Freedman made three changes at the break, sending on Michael Mancienne, Ben Osborn and Jamie Paterson in place of Matt Mills, Henri Lansbury and Ward.
And his side tested Stuckmann twice soon after the restart, Taylor forcing him into a one-handed save at his near post before the keeper parried the ball away after Paterson turned and struck it goalwards inside the area.
Paterson was seeing plenty of the ball and sent another shot goalwards on 64 minutes. Again Stuckmann was equal to it, however, holding on to the ball low down.
And the German denied Paterson yet again shortly afterwards, making a good save with his feet after the midfielder had benefited from good work by Burke.
A wave of Forest substitutions followed as Pinillos, Blackstock, Burke, Taylor and Wilson made way for Danny Fox, Tyler Walker, Michail Antonio, Stephen McLaughlin and trialist Nicky Maynard.
Ben Osborn also departed with an injury, Jorge Grant his replacement, but the game petered out without further incident.
Forest: Evtimov, Riera, Wilson (McLaughlin 85'), Mills (Mancienne 46'), Pinillos (Fox 75'), Taylor (Maynard 82'), Lansbury (Osborn 46' (Grant 84')), Vaughan, Ward (Paterson 46'), C.Burke (Antonio 82'), Blackstock (Walker 75')
Subs not used: De Vries, Lichaj, Tesche
Goal: C.Burke 34'
Doncaster: Stuckmann, Evina, McCullough, Jones (c) (Whitehouse 46'), MacKenzie (Lund 62'), Williams (Mandeville 62'), Forrester (Carberry 75'), Coppinger (McKay 62'), Middleton (Parkin 89'), Main (Linley 89'), Taylor-Sinclar (Butler 46')
Sub not used: Marosi
Goal: Main 16'
Attendance: 2,613 (887 away)
Referee: Darren England