Nottingham Forest 0-0 Watford (EFL Championship) 02.12.20
Seemingly unable to convert an increasing number of chances, Chris Hughton’s men gained a hard-earned point at home to high-flying Watford, both sides failing to register in a goalless draw – although there was chances a plenty for the Reds.
The Reds went into the game on the back of three consecutive losses, without scoring, having failed to convert opportunities in games against Barnsley, Bournemouth and Swansea, form that saw them hovering above the drop zone whilst the visitors to the City Ground on a cold December eve were EFL Championship high-fliers.
Managed by Serbian, Vladimir Ivic, the Hornets find themselves among the early pacesetters and arrived unbeaten in their last five, scoring elven times to boot; Forest were certainly up against it, more having lost captain Jack Colback last time out.
Colback was one of four changes Chris Hughton made to his starting line-up as Scott McKenna, Miguel Guerrero and Sammy Ameobi all made way with Joe Worrall, Harry Arter, Cafu and Joe Lolley all starting, there was even a place on the bench for Michael Dawson.
The first half was one that although dominant in possession by the visitors, they had no perceived sting in their tail, whilst the Reds looked good going forward, seemingly creating chances at ease, but without converting. That is a fact that has come to bite them hard in recent outings.
Although the homes sides’ number twenty-three, Lolley would pick up a yellow midway through the first from referee David Webb, both he, and Harry Arter, were responsible for a good half dozen efforts on visiting ‘keeper Ben Foster.
Both Lolley, and Arter, had a pair of chances apiece inside the first quarter of the game whilst Cafu also got in on the act with a header from an Arter assist, all this before the visitors finally got a sniff of goal, Joao Pedro seeing his effort saved by home ‘keeper, Brice Samba, front-and-centre.
Lolley going into the officials’ notebook came on the back of a foul on Ismaila Sarr ahead of Kiko Femenia taking a shot at goal, his right-footed effort blocked en-route before both Arter and Lolley added further attempts for the home side heading into the closing stages of the half.
Troy Deeney got his first real glimpse of goal minutes before the break however, being put through by Nathaniel Chalobah, the Hornets hitman is caught offside, the two sides going in level, and goalless, at the interval.
The visitors raced out of the blocks at the start of the second period as Joao Pedro sends an effort high and wide before Forest’s hitman, Lyle Taylor, finally gets in on the act with a couple of efforts of his own, Anthony Knockaert both having an effort, and being booked, in between.
Taylor’s first was a left-footed shot that went wide, whilst his second, with his head, met the same fate; as the second period progressed, Forest continued to assert pressure on the visitors and, but for efforts by Pedro and Deeney, the visitors were becoming frustrated.
In quick succession both Nathaniel Chalobah, and Domingos Quina, found themselves going in to the officials’ notebook, whilst Knockaert was pulling the strings, probing for the opener, but the game fast became in danger of petering out into a goalless draw – Forest much in need of a win but a clean-sheet would be welcome relief as well.
Those closing stages would also see Harry Arter find his way in the officials’ book, the fifth of the evening and, although Cafu had a chance to win it deep into stoppage time, Yuri Ribeiro setting him up, is left-footed effort sails wide of goal; a lengthy stoppage being added due to injury to the visitors’ Craig Catchcart.
It wasn’t to be though and both sides took home a share of the spoils following a goalless draw – next stop, away to Reading on Saturday, and in front of fans at last.
Nottingham Forest: Samba, Christie, Figueiredo, Worrall, Ribeiro, Arter, Yates, Cafu, Lolley (Ameobi, 88), Taylor, Knockaert.
Watford: Foster, Femenia, Catchcart (Wilmot, 92), Kabasele, Ngakia, Quina (Perica, 75), Garner, Chalobah, Sarr, Deeney, Pedro.
Venue: City Ground
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @NFFC Ryan Yates challenges in a tough night’s encounter verses Watford.