Nottingham Forest recorded their first draw of the season following a 1-1 stalemate against Preston North End at Deepdale this afternoon.
Ben Brereton opened the scoring in the second half but North End hit back with 15 minutes to play as Paul Huntington’s strike ensured the points would be shared in Lancashire.
Mark Warburton made three changes to the side beaten at Bristol City last weekend as Ben Osborn, David Vaughan and Brereton came into the team in place of Matt Mills, Andreas Bouchalakis and Tyler Walker. The fit-again Armand Traore returned to the squad and took a place on the substitutes’ bench.
The home side started brightly and Jordan Smith had to be alert to prevent them taking the lead. After the Forest goalkeeper had punched a free-kick away from inside his own six-yard area, the ball fell to Alan Browne but Smith blocked his powerfully-struck effort.
It was a cagey opening to the contest but both sides had chances midway through the half. Jordan Hugill saw a header comfortably saved by Smith after he met Paul Gallagher’s cross before Kieran Dowell’s left-wing cross was almost turned home by Daryl Murphy but the hosts were able to scramble the ball behind for a corner.
Preston had been on a good run of form and confidence was flowing for the home side as they created a golden chance on 26 minutes. Gallagher’s cross picked out an unmarked Tom Barkhuizen six yards from goal but he placed his header over Smith’s crossbar.
David Vaughan and Liam Bridcutt were both cautioned for late challenges before Preston carved out the final chance of the first half. Callum Robinson curled a low effort towards goal from the edge of the penalty area which Smith had to turn around his left-hand post as the first half ended goalless.
Both sides struggled to get going at the start of the second half before Forest drew first blood on 58 minutes. A lightning-quick counter-attack from one end of the field to the other ended with Dowell playing Brereton through on goal and the youngster kept his head and coolly slotted the ball under the body of Chris Maxwell in the North End goal.
Warburton made a double substitution as Jamie Ward and Matty Cash replaced Brereton and Mustapha Carayol but it wasn’t enough to see his side keep their lead.
Forest failed to clear a long throw into their penalty area and, despite Smith’s best efforts, Huntington was able to lash a low shot into the corner of the net to bring North End level with 15 minutes to play.
There were no real clear-cut opportunities for either side in the closing stages of the contest as Forest held on to claim a useful point at the beginning of their busy festive period.
Forest: Smith; Lichaj, Mancienne (c), Worrall, Osborn; Bridcutt, Vaughan (Bouchalakis 84’); Brereton (Ward 62’), Dowell, Carayol (Cash 63’); Murphy
Subs not used: Henderson, Traore, McKay, Clough
Goal: Brereton 58’
Bookings: Vaughan 31’, Bridcutt 42’, Brereton 49’, Osborn 68’
Preston: Maxwell; O’Connor, Huntington, Davies, Clarke (c); Gallagher, Pearson; Robinson (Horgan 59’), Browne (Harrop 62’), Barkhuizen; Hugill
Subs not used: Rudd, Boyle, Johnson, Welsh, Mavididi
Goal: Huntington 75’
Bookings: Pearson 86’, Gallagher 89'
Referee: Scott Duncan
Attendance: 13,481 (1,210 away)