How Nottingham Forest must yearn for a little mundanity. Even by the standards of this endearingly quirky football club, the past few weeks have been chaotic.
They have mourned the sacking of the manager who pulled them from the Championship’s doldrums. They have appointed Nick De Marco KC, a leading sports lawyer, with the club waiting to hear whether they have been found to have breached the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability rules. They have even faced questions about why the termination of Jonjo Shelvey’s contract was originally reported as a loan.
And so, against that backdrop, a nice low-octane, drama-free progression to the FA Cup fourth round would have been most welcome. Naturally then, League One Blackpool gave Nuno Espírito Santo’s side a mighty scare.
In the end, the Portuguese manager was grateful for Nicolás Domínguez and Morgan Gibbs-White, who cancelled out goals from Jordan Lawrence-Gabriel and Albie Morgan to secure Forest a replay.
Nuno Espírito Santo was left frustrated with his Nottingham Forest side as their winter break plans had to be cancelled due to their FA Cup third-round replay.
Forest fought back from two goals down but could not find the vital third goal to send them through to the fourth round, forcing the club to rethink their plans of a team bonding trip to St George’s Park where the new Forest manager was hoping to spend some vital time with his squad having taken charge last month.
“We could have finished it today but it wasn’t meant to be. It’s a disappointing moment,” Nuno said.
“It changes the plan. Now we have to reorganise and we won’t get a break because now the priority is the replay. We have to reorganise our plans. Now what is best for the team is to start preparing for the replay in Blackpool. That is the priority.”
Nuno Espirito Santo has been forced to scrap a team bonding trip to St. George’s Park after becoming the latest Premier League manager to demand FA Cup replays be abolished.
Nottingham Forest will face a replay against League One side Blackpool next week after a 2-2 draw which has left Nuno with no option but to abandon his plans over the winter break.
Nuno was scheduled to take his new squad to England’s training headquarters at St. George’s for three days from Monday, with the stay designed to help him further impose his philosophy after replacing Steve Cooper as manager last month.
Yet the Portuguese revealed his frustration as the training camp is now cancelled and he has joined other top-flight managers Jurgen Klopp, Mikel Arteta and Thomas Frank by calling for replays to be removed.
Nottingham Forest had to come from two goals down to avoid FA Cup third-round history repeating itself as they earned a 2-2 draw with League One Blackpool.
Forest looked like heading out to the Seasiders at this stage for a second straight year when they conceded twice in three first-half minutes, with Jordan Lawrence-Gabriel and Albie Morgan getting the goals.
But the Premier League outfit hit back with goals from Nicolas Dominguez and Morgan Gibbs-White either side of the break.
They could not find a winner, though, meaning the tie will be settled with a replay at Bloomfield Road, where Forest were beaten 4-1 last season.
After a flat opening 20 minutes, the game burst into life as Forest had their first sight of goal when Chris Wood latched onto Gibbs-White’s excellent pass but could not keep his effort down.
Gonzalo Montiel has climbed football’s highest peak with the world’s greatest player but there is nothing like the FA Cup to bring you back to Earth.
Montiel’s two first-half howlers looked like giving League One Blackpool a famous win and although Nottingham Forest fought back to earn a replay thanks to goals from Nicolas Dominguez and Morgan Gibbs-White, it was still a day to forget for the Argentina star.
In the 2022 World Cup Final, Montiel scored the winning penalty in the shoot-out to help Lionel Messi lift the trophy for the first time. Here, his errors allowed two slightly more obscure players – Jordan Lawrence-Gabriel and Albie Morgan – to give the Seasiders a fighting chance of progressing to round four.
And this was quite a feather in their cap. Forest had beaten Newcastle and Manchester United in their last two matches and Nuno Espirito Santo picked a strong team here, which certainly should have been good enough to sink a third-tier side.