Nottingham Forest’s unbeaten start to their campaign continues after they came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw against Birmingham City in a thrilling encounter at The City Ground.
Birmingham had looked set to take all three points after goals from Lukas Jutkiewicz and Che Adams but Joe Lolley and Daryl Murphy struck late to ensure The Reds took a point from the contest.
The game started out as a rather cagey affair with neither team causing genuine attacking problems in the opening 20 minutes.
Hilall Soudani lined up an effort from about 20 yards out, which sailed high into the Trent End. At the other end, however, Birmingham grew into the game and looked more composed in front of goal.
Gary Gardner, on his return to The City Ground, drilled a low effort yards wide of Costel Pantilimon’s post before Omar Bogle used his quick feet to dart in between Jack Robinson and Tobias Figueiredo and into the Forest box. The Blues striker dragged his effort past the post while still causing Pantilimon to scramble across his goal.
Gardner came close once again for the away side. A free-kick on the edge of The Reds’ box dipped over the wall but whistled just wide.
Birmingham appeared to gain greater confidence in their previous attacking efforts and were rewarded in the 21st minute.
Forest captain Ben Watson’s attempted pass was intercepted by Jacques Maghoma, who drove down the left flank and floated a ball towards Forest’s back post. The cross found an unmarked Lukas Jutkiewicz and his looping header beat Pantilimon, nestling into the far corner of the goal.
The Blues continued to move the ball around quickly, leading to challenges and bookings for Danny Fox and Figueiredo towards the end of the first half.
While arguably disappointing in the first half, The Reds seemed hungrier at the beginning of the second.
Robinson and Matty Cash both went close for Forest, with the latter linking well with substitution Joao Carvalho, before having his attempt blocked.
Forest’s work was undone less than 20 minutes from time, however, when Che Adams picked up the ball in the penalty area. He turned and fired into the bottom corner of the goal, handing Garry Monk’s men a two-goal lead.
This motivated the hosts immediately to create chances at the right end. Having been on the pitch a matter of seconds, birthday-boy Joe Lolley utilised his first touch to fire a beauty of a strike past Lee Camp and into The Blues’ net.
Lolley turned provider in the 87th minute as Forest levelled the scores. He diverted another speculative effort on target, forcing Camp into parrying the ball into Daryl Murphy’s path and the striker made no mistake in finding an equaliser from close range.
Both teams battled well into additional time in the hope that they could convert a winning opportunity, but it wasn’t to be for either group of players. Forest’s determination warranted a last-gasp reward for the second week in a row.
Forest: Pantilimon, Byram (Lolley 75'), Figueiredo, Fox, Robinson, Watson (c) (Osborn 66'), Colback, Cash, Soudani (Carvalho 56'), Dias, Murphy
Unused subs: Steele, Goncalves, Bridcutt, Hefele
Goals: Lolley 75', Murphy 87'
Bookings: Figueiredo 32', Fox 41', Murphy 45', Colback 84'
Birmingham: Camp, Colin, Morrison (c), Dean, Pedersen, Jota (Mahoney 85'), Gardner, Kieftenbeld, Maghoma (Solomon-Otabor 74'), Bogle (Adams 67'), Jutkiewicz
Unused subs: Trueman, Roberts, Lakin, Harding
Goals: Jutkiewicz 21', Adams 72'
Referee: Tim Robinson
Attendance: 26,799 (1,965 away)