MATCH REPORT: Nottingham Forest 0 Ipswich Town 0
Forest v Ipswich: Ipswich Town kept their momentum going with a gritty goalless draw at Nottingham Forest.
Both keepers made fine saves in the match and, while it was the hosts who had the better of the game, Town defended superbly – riding their luck on the odd occasion – to make it six successive games unbeaten away from home.
Mick McCarthy’s side have now lost just two games in 12, this draw seeing them slip just one place in the table to 10th the gap to the play-off places now three points.
Following a cagey start, the match livened up around the 15 minute mark when Frank Nouble and Simon Cox both stung the palms of keepers Karl Darlow and Dean Gerken respectively.
A piece of perceived injustice then fired up the hosts, players and supporters incensed when referee Scott Mathieson emphatically waved away strong penalty appeals after Cox had raced onto a well-weighted Andy Reid through ball and tried to round the on-rushing Gerken. Replays show it was the correct decision, with the striker going down early and Gerken making no contact.
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Forest lifted their game after that, Tommy Smith producing a brilliant saving tackle to deny Cox shortly afterwards with Gerken keeping out Jamie Mackie’s follow-up effort.
Free-roaming Algerian winger Djamal Adboun was causing the Blues no end of problems and it was his corner which was glanced onto the bar by Cox in the 24th minute.
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Greg Halford also nodded an Adboun corner wide in the 35th minute, but Mick McCarthy’s men had rode the storm and were able to get into the dressing room level at half-time.
The home started the second half on the front foot, Reid flashing a low cross across the box, with the same player’s wicked free-kick delivery somehow evading two attacking players at the far post.
Forest looked like they were losing their momentum, with a few mis-placed passes greeted by groans from the home crowd, but they were sparked back into life by a golden opportunity in the 58th minute.
Once again it was Reid who supplied the dangerous delivery, his low ball into the area taking out the entire defence. Thankfully for the Blues, Gerken was able to spread himself and keep out Cox’s close-range side-foot effort.
Four minutes later Greg Halford headed wide from another excellent Adboun corner. Having got his head to the ball first he really should have hit the target.
The longer the game went on, the more you began to sense that the Blues might be able to snatch an unlikely winner.
Indeed, Town almost broke the deadlock through an unlikely source in the 78th minute, centre-back Christophe Berra steaming forwards, playing a neat one-two with Frank Nouble to burst into the box, his shot saved by the legs of keeper Darlow.
Suddenly Town were the side on top, with Darlow brilliantly keeping a Berra header out following a hotly-disputed corner award.
– Reaction to follow.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST (4-2-3-1): Darlow; Halford, Lascelles, Hobbs, Harding; Chalobah (Jara 89), Lansbury, Mackie (Henderson 67), Reid (cpt); Abdoun (Derbyshire 86); Cox.
Subs: De Vries, Lichaj, Paterson, Majewski.
Booked: Cox (14), Lansbury (59)
IPSWICH TOWN (4-3-3): Gerken; Chambers, Berra, Smith, Cresswell; Skuse, Hyam, Tunnicliffe; Nouble, Murphy, McGoldrick (Mings 89). Subs: Loach, Tabb, Hunt, Edwards, Anderson, Graham.
Booked: Cresswell (59)
Attendance: 20,966 (1,144 away)
Referee: Scott Mathieson