Nottingham Forest earned a creditable 1-1 draw with Premier League side Swansea City at The City Ground this afternoon.
Andre Ayew had given the visitors the lead on the hour mark, but Robert Tesche brought The Reds level less than ten minutes later.
Dorus de Vries started in goal for Forest behind a back four of Eric Lichaj, Matt Mills, Jack Hobbs and Danny Fox. Henri Lansbury, Tesche and Michael Mancienne made up the central midfield three, with Jamie Ward and Michail Antonio out wide. Trialist Nicky Maynard started up front.
Former Forest loanee Modou Barrow was on Swansea’s bench.
The first real chances of the game fell Swansea’s way. de Vries claimed a dangerous Kyle Naughton cross just before Ayew could make contact and then Sung-Yeung Ki hit a rasping effort just over Forest’s bar.
The visitors continued to exert pressure and had the lion share of possession early on, but then Antonio was presented with his first opportunity of the game to run at the Swansea defence.
Slipped in by Tesche down the left-hand side, he raced beyond the halfway line and into the Swans’ box, but was prevented from getting a shot away by an excellent Ashley Williams tackle.
The exceptional Matt Mills then blocked a cultured Matt Grimes shot that looked destined for the far corner, before de Vries made the save of the game, preventing the onrushing Naughton from smashing his side in front.
Midway through the first half fine interplay between Lichaj and Ward on the right-hand side saw the latter scamper into the box. His neat cut back for skipper Lansbury allowed Forest’s number ten get a dangerous, dipping shot off, but it curled just over the bar.
The Reds, wearing the 150th anniversary home kit for the first time, began to get a foothold in the game at this stage.
Maynard, Lansbury and Tesche combined in the middle of the park to set the German away through the middle, but his pass wide to Maynard was just over-hit in what was a dangerous position.
The impressive Routledge created himself some space in the Forest area near the half hour mark, but his shot was blocked, and it fell to the feet of Antonio. The winger set off on a trademark rampaging run, but his eventual through ball towards Maynard was blocked.
Soon after de Vries made a sharp save from the inventive Ayew, who tried to backheel home from six yards out after a slight goalmouth scramble, then Routledge once again caused our backline a problem, this time with a vicious snapshot from the edge of the area.
Maynard, who had done a good job of holding the ball up on his own up front, tried an inventive overhead kick when Swansea failed to clear a deep cross, but the striker couldn’t get sufficient power behind the effort to trouble Lukasz Fabianski.
Jamie Ward sprang in off the right-hand side just before half-time and forced Swansea’s Polish stopper into a stretching save away to his left.
That was the last real chance of the half and neither manager made any changes at the break.
Winger Routledge bustled his way into the Forest box in the opening minute of the second period, before setting the ball back for Ayew, who had acres of space on the edge of the area.
The former Marseille man steadied himself, but thankfully for The Reds, blasted over. After that initial chance Forest grew into the half and restricted the Swans to half chances, but failed to create any meaningful openings of their own.
Then on 59 minutes, Ayew atoned for his earlier miss and put the visitors in front. He just beat Mills to a ball over the top and controlled it inside the Forest box, before coolly slotting under de Vries.
The Swans were an inch away from going two up when a Routledge cross eluded Eder at the back post midway through the second half, but then Forest deservedly got back on level terms.
Ward delivered a dangerous cross which just evaded Maynard, but the onrushing Tesche deftly nodded it past Fabianski.
Spaces began to open up as the game wore on and The Reds continued to create chances on the counter attack.
Maynard held the ball up well before feeding Ward on the right, and he almost found Antonio with a deep cross, but Fabianski came off his line to hold.
Antonio was again causing the Swans problems a minute later, when he nodded a superb forward ball from Danny Fox over Federico Fernandez, but the Argentinian recovered excellently to nip the ball away as the winger went to shoot.
Eder had the ball in the back of the Forest net moments later as the game became more of an end-to-end affair, but the referee adjudged the Portuguese international had used his hand and it was ruled out.
With just under a quarter of an hour remaining, Dougie Freedman made the first changes of the game. He brought on Paul Taylor, Tyler Walker and Chris Burke, to replace Michail Antonio, Jamie Ward and Nicky Maynard.
In a half short on chances, Walker nearly got a shot off with his first action of the game, squaring up Fernandez inside the box and creating a bit of space, but the 18-year-old was crowded out.
Goalscorer Tesche was replaced by David Vaughan with a little under ten minutes to go, before Forest nearly took the lead for the first time.
Lansbury burst forwards and played a fine through ball to Lichaj, who cut inside onto his left foot and tried to curl the ball into the far corner. Sadly for the full back, his shot went over, and that was to be the last clear chance of the game.
Forest: De Vries, Lichaj, Mills, Hobbs, Fox, Mancienne, Ward (C.Burke 78'), Lansbury (c), Tesche (Vaughan 84'), Antonio (Taylor 78'), Maynard (Walker 78')
Subs not used: Evtimov, Riera, Wilson, Paterson, McLaughlin, Blackstock
Goal: Tesche 68'
Swansea: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Williams (c), Taylor, Cork, Ki, Grimes, Ayew, Routledge, Eder
Subs not used: Vickers, Hanley, Sheehan, Barrow
Goal: Ayew 60'
Referee: Christopher Kavanagh
Attendance: 4,285 (304 away)