Nottingham Forest were held to a 0-0 draw by Bristol City at Ashton Gate, with the Reds unlucky not to win a third consecutive game. James Edginton reports
If Bristol City were to prevent Forest from winning and leap-frogging the Robins in the league table, then they would have to end a dreadful run of seven consecutive league home defeats. However, Nottingham Forest’s last victory at Ashton Gate was in 2011.
The Reds made just one change from their 3-1 triumph over QPR, with Anthony Knockaert replacing Sammy Ameobi.
The away side started the better of the two and their bright start was almost rewarded with an early goal by Knockaert, who drove flashed a shot just wide from outside of the box. Joe Worrall also had a chance for a rare goal; his tame header, however, was saved by Daniel Bentley.
Forest’s best chance of the half came through teenage winger, Alex Mighten, who was looking to score his second goal in three games, but his shot cannoned back off the upright.
Such was Forest’s dominance, Bristol City’s first shot came with over half an hour played. City rode the storm though and almost took a shock first-half lead, when they too hit the post, through Henri Lansbury’s curling free-kick.
By half-time, Forest boasted 70% of possession but they’d been unable to breakdown Bristol’s defence and the game was still deadlocked at the break.
If the first half was slightly devoid of chances, the second half was much worse, with the game turning far scrappier and chances, for either side, few and far between. James Garner tested Bentley early in the half, but other than that the Bristol keeper had precious little to do in the second half.
Substitute Luke Freeman almost won the game late on with a well-struck volley, but in truth, Forest should’ve already had comfortably won their third game on the spin. A dominant first half and a frustrating second for Forest, who take just one point back to Nottingham — but now need only a few points from the final five games to guarantee safety.
The manager said: “I am probably more disappointed than pleased. I was pleased with the performance, particularly in the first half where I thought we were really good. The disappointment is that we finish the game and we try to make sure that we don’t lose the game. They made changes and went a bit more direct in the last period of the game.
“In regards to control of the game, I thought it was one of our good performances, we just need to get the goal to make the difference and give ourselves that little bit more in the final third.
“Credit to Bristol City, they have gone through a difficult period and they have had a lot of injuries and that is difficult to deal with and we hoped to capitalise on that. In the first half period I think we did and that showed that one team is in better form than the other, but you always expect a reaction and they got a reaction that the manager and the club would have expected to make it far more difficult for us.
“The responsibility is up to us to achieve it, what Bristol City will say is that they defended well enough and it is for us to make it happen. We weren’t able to do that in a good performance and overall it is away from home, a clean sheet and a draw so we can’t be too disappointed with that.”