Filip Krovinović’s second-half strike earnt Nottingham Forest a good point against Brentford, who missed the opportunity to move up to third. James Edginton reports
Nottingham Forest travelled to the Brentford Community Stadium for the first time to face Brentford, in the last of a tough run of fixtures against four of the top six.
The Bees were pushing for automatic promotion and they knew a win against Forest would take them above Swansea and into third place. However, dropping points when they have been given an opportunity to move up the table has been a frequent occurrence for Brentford, having drawn 2-2 with Derby on Tuesday after leading 2-0.
Forest were outclassed by Norwich on Wednesday and Chris Hughton made four changes from that defeat, as Brice Samba, Gaëtan Bong, Filip Krovinović and Alex Mighten all returned to the team.
In contrast to the midweek game, the Reds started brightly and enjoyed a large share of possession in the early stages. But it only took 11 minutes for Forest to be punished, after Bong dragged down Ivan Toney in the penalty area.
Toney stepped up and nonchalantly sent Samba the wrong way to score his 28th Championship goal of the season. And shortly after going one goal down, Forest almost conceded another as Bryan Mbeumo dragged his low shot just past the post.
Forest looked incredibly vulnerable every time Brentford had a set-piece, and with 34 minutes played, poor Forest defending saw Vitaly Janelt have a free header crash against the bar with Dalsgaard’s follow-up striking the post, as Forest hung on.
Forest’s best chance came at the end of an unimaginative first-half, in which they created very little, with Bong’s cross being headed over by Lewis Grabban, who was unmarked in the six-yard box.
Forest improved in the second-half, and after Gaetan Bong saved them with an excellent block, they began to start to probe in the Brentford half. The equaliser for Forest involved Bong again, as his cross was poorly dealt with and Krovinović calmly slotted the ball past Raya.
After the goal, Forest failed to create many more chances, but with their defence battling away valiantly, neither did the Bees. However, with five minutes of normal play left, Forest almost snatched a win, as Cyrus Christie looped a half-volley just wide.
Christie, then averted a Brentford winner, making an excellent last-gasp block to deny a late winner by Brentford’s Tarique Fosu-Henry.
Four minutes were added on at the end of the match setting up a grandstand finish, but in the end a good away performance saw them move 10 points clear from the bottom three.
A much-improved performance by Chris Hughton’s side but Forest continue to lack a serious threat in front of goal.
The manager said: “I am pleased with the reaction to conceding when we did, up against a very good side but also the reaction to midweek when it was a better second-half performance against Norwich but nowhere near the levels that keep us in the game, so it is a good reaction all over.
“Probably the most pleasing thing was that we were a side today that knew we had to do the work off the ball but we were good in possession too. For a team to come here and have the possession that we did speaks volumes for the character in the team.”