Nottingham Forest shone underneath the flood lights on Thursday night but were forced to settle for a hard-fought point as a last-minute goal condemned them to a 1-1 draw away to Stoke City.
Katie Middleton had put The Reds ahead on the 83rd minute as she moved up to become Forest's joint top goal scorer across all competitions this season. But it was late heartbreak for the Reds as substitute Rosin Kivel snatched a point for her side three minutes into stoppage time.
Alena Moutlon had made three changes to her side that fell to a defeat against Sunderland last Sunday with experienced players Lyndsey Harkin, Shannon Weston and Izzy Sullivan all coming into the side to replace Sarah Brown, Ashleigh Edwards and Beth Tyson.
It was a feisty encounter between the two Midlands outfits, it was the home side who started the match better out of the two. Kelsey Richardson forced Emily Hallam into a brilliant save inside the first five minutes of the game after she a blasted a shot towards goal from the edge of the box.
Hallam then denied the Potters again on the ninth minute as she got down to push Amy Hughes' low shot around her left-hand goal post.
The Reds then began to grow into the game and started to break down the home side's defence. Forest were awarded a free kick mid-way through Stoke's half after Aimme Hickingbotham was brought down late. Harkin's set piece caused mayhem in the Potter's box but the ball was eventually cleared but only to as far as Sianna Bennett just outside the area who hit the ball straight back into the danger zone. Sullivan picked up the ball and beat the Stoke defence but the 'keeper was quick of her line to make the crucial save and deny the Forest forward.
The Reds came close again minutes later as Middleton picked up the ball and went on a brilliant run through Stoke's defence and rifled a shot from outside the box but it was deflected away for a corner kick.
Helena Constantinou took the resulting corner kick which fell directly to Bennett at the far left hand post but the 'keeper reacted quickly to save her first time shot.
Constantinou continued to have an impressive first half and broke down the left and carried the ball into the Stoke box. She then squared a pass across to Sullivan who squeezed a shot through the home side's defence but the 'keeper got down to smother the ball.
Constantinou went on another great run on the stroke of half time as she skipped through the Potter's defence but her final touch was to heavy and the 'keeper ensured her side went into the break level, again.
The Reds came out fighting in the second half, looking to seal the win and came close on the 50th minute. Harkin floated a great free kick into the Stoke box that Bennett flicked towards goal but her effort was weak which made it an easy save for the 'keeper.
Middleton proved to be a difficult player for the home side to handle as she skipped past a couple of red and white shirts and drilled a cross into the box looking for Ashleigh Edwards. But the 'keeper read her cross correctly and got down to beat Edwards to the ball.
The Reds took the lead on the 83rd minute through Middleton. Forest were swarming around Stoke's box but couldn't get a shot off towards goal but Georgia Hewitt kept the ball alive as she whipped in a brilliant cross turned shot that forced the 'keeper into making a save that she failed to keep hold off. As the 'keeper fumbled the ball Middleton pounced on her mistake and poked the ball past her and over the line.
Middleton then made a huge impact on the other end of the field on the 90th minute as Stoke looked to find a late equaliser. Middleton got down to put in a great tackle and then clearance on the edge of Forest's box.
But the win wasn't meant to be for the Reds as Stoke stole a draw on the 93rd minute. The Potters broke quickly into the Forest half and a fast pace cross came flying into the Reds' box. Kivel was lurking at the near left hand post and diverted the cross past Hallam to steal a point.
Forest: Hallam, Wilson, Harkin (c), Walters, Hewitt, Weston, Bennett, Hickingbotham (Edwards 74'), Middleton, Constantinou, Sullivan
Unused subs: Davies, Reek, Brown, Gladwin
Goal: Middleton (83')
Booking: Bennett (90+4')
Stoke: Burnside, Hudson, Roberts, Tezgel, Hyde, Richardson, Hughes, Hayes (Kivel 75'), Kolbuck (Owen 62'), Bowyer, McCoy
Unused subs: Wright, Pemberton, Robinson
Goal: Kivel (90+3')
Bookings: Tezgel (54'), McCoy (72'), Hudson (77'), Bowyer (90+4')