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Match Reports

Blackburn 2-2 Forest

29 September 2018

A Lewis Grabban brace saw Nottingham Forest come away with a point in an entertaining contest against Blackburn Rovers this afternoon.

A close-range header and a confident penalty saw the frontman take his season's tally to four goals as The Reds cancelled out Adam Armstrong and Bradley Dack goals for Rovers.

Grabban had missed a first-half penalty but he showed plenty of determination and composure to step up for a second time and seal a point for The Reds.

Fresh from the midweek victory in the Carabao Cup, Forest started brightly at Ewood Park. Their early pressure and high intensity was rewarded when they were awarded a penalty in the opening ten minutes.

Defender Michael Hefele was pulled down inside the penalty area from a Forest corner by Rovers' Darragh Lenihan. In-form Grabban however was unable to take advantage from the spot as his effort skimmed the top of the crossbar and went into the stands.

Forest continued to look dangerous on the counter attack but Rovers started to look more comfortable in possession as the half worn on. The hosts had their first effort on goal on 26 minutes when Danny Graham's volley was turned around the post by Costel Pantilimon.

The striker went even closer 10 minutes later when he neatly chipped the ball over the advancing Romanian only to be denied by a goal-line clearance from the retreating Jack Colback. The Newcastle loanee's superb diving header on the goal line denied the former Sunderland front man.

Rovers were growing in confidence and starting to control the match and with five minutes left in the first half they again were inches away from going in front.The prolific Dack was denied by the crossbar as his deflected shot from the edge of the box wrong footed Pantilimon.

The visitors, who always looked threatening on the break, nearly pinched one in stoppage time but Grabban failed to connect from a Saidy Janko cross from the right.

Forest came out for the second half with a sense of purpose and found themselves in front after just seven minutes following the restart with a wonderful goal on the break.

Firstly, Adlene Guedioura found Joe Lolley on the right with a cross-field pass, then the winger cut inside and chipped a ball over to Joao Carvalho on the left. The Portuguese Under 21 international's perfectly cushioned header was met by the onrushing Grabban who nodded past David Raya in the Rovers goal for his third goal in as many league matches.

The hosts were stunned and now feeling the pressure as the visitors were getting forward at every opportunity to try and add a second.

However, second-half substitute Adam Armstrong fortuitously drew Blackburn level just after the hour mark. The winger's cross looped over Pantilimon and went in off the bar and post. It was a little harsh on Forest who seemed the most likely to score next.

It was now the host's turn to pile on the pressure and inevitably they grabbed a second with little over 15 minutes left on the clock. The persistent Graham calmly rolled the ball across the face of the goal, after linking up with Armstrong, to find Dack who had the simple task of side footing the ball past Pantilimon.

Forest did not let their heads drop, however, and after weathering a five minute siege from the home side, they found themselves level. Referee Andrew Madley awarded the second spot kick of the day when Joe Lolley cut inside the area and was clipped by Ritchie Smallwood after wrong footing the defender.

Grabban stepped up to make amends for his earlier miss by calmly converting his second attempt after 80 minutes and, not satisfied with a point, Forest went in search of a winner.

Lolley broke clear from the Rovers defence and rifled a shot from an angle which Raya could only parry, then Hefele went even closer after he directed a Lolley shot inches wide from inside the six yard box. Guedioura's header from a corner with virtually the last action of the game could have sealed all three points for The Reds but both sides had to settle for a point in a thrilling encounter at Ewood Park.

Forest: Pantilimon, Janko, Hefele, Fox (c), Robinson, Colback, Guedioura, Cash (Dias 71'), Carvalho (Osborn 82'), Lolley, Grabban (Murphy 86')

Unused subs: Steele, Watson, Dawson, Darikwa

Goals: Grabban 52', 80' pen

Booking: Colback 44'

Blackburn: Raya, Nyambe (Rodwell 60'), Lenihan, Downing (Armstrong 57'), Bell, Reed, Smallwood, Evans (Rothwell 75'), Bennett (c), Dack, Graham

Unused subs: Leutwiler, Travis, Conway, Palmer

Goals: Armstrong 65', Dack 74'

Referee: Andrew Madley

Attendance: 14,440 (2,022 away)


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