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2-2
29 September 2018 Venue Ewood Park Attendance

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Report: Rovers 2 Nottingham Forest 2

A ding-dong affair sees a share of the spoils in an enthralling Ewood Park encounter

29 September 2018

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For the third time in a week Rovers produced another entertaining display but could only take a point from a brilliant game against Nottingham Fores

All the goals came in the second half, with Forest going ahead through Lewis Grabban's header before Rovers battled back to lead through an Adam Armstrong scorcher and another goal from Bradley Dack.

But a controversial penalty - Forest's second of the day - proved decisive in the final outcome, with Grabban slotting home from 12 yards to make sure both sides took a point from a brilliant game of football.

The point ensures Rovers continue their fine form at Ewood Park, but Tony Mowbray's side will feel they deserved more for their efforts following a hardworking display.

There was just the one change to the team from the last Championship outing at Stoke City, with Paul Downing coming into the XI for the first time in the league in place of the suspended Derrick Williams.

The game came a little too soon for regular skipper Charlie Mulgrew, who remained out with a calf strain.

The visitors had a glorious chance to earn an early lead after Darragh Lenihan tugged the shirt of Michael Hefele from a corner.

Up stepped Grabban from 12 yards, but the experienced frontman hammered the ball onto the top of David Raya’s upright and into the Blackburn End just eight minutes into the encounter.

Both teams were struggling for chances, but a flowing move midway through the half saw Dack’s teasing ball in volleyed goalwards by Danny Graham, but Costel Pantilimon was in the way to beat behind for a corner,

Soon after, a cross from captain for the day Elliott Bennett found Dack in the box, but the playmaker’s header was straight into the gloves of giant Romanian stopper Pantilimon.

Rovers were upping the gears and after Danny Fox was put under pressure on the edge of his own box, Richie Smallwood fed Graham, but despite beating Pantilimon with his effort, the strike couldn’t beat Jack Colback who was on hand to head off the line and away.

Dack was the next Rover to go close as his curling strike from 20 yards crashed against the bar and bounced away with six minutes of the half remaining in the East Lancashire sunshine.

It was the hosts who ended the stronger, but both sides went into the break as they started the game. 

But seven minutes into the second half, Grabban grabbed the opener as he finished off a fantastic and flowing counter attack; nodding home after a deep Joe Lolley cross was headed back across goal by Joao Carvalho.

Adlene Guedioura smashed wide as Forest searched for more as Rovers pushed on looking for an equaliser.

A double change saw Armstrong and Jack Rodwell thrown on as we approached the hour mark, with Downing and Nyambe being the pair to make way.

Armstrong made an instant impact off the bench and he got himself off the mark in the Championship as he looped a curling effort from the left over the frame of Pantilimon and into the back of the net via the post for a sensational equaliser.

Rovers had the bit between their teeth and Dack tested Pantilimon with a free kick before Lenihan's header from the resulting corner had to be tipped over by the former Manchester City custodian as the game began to open up.

The momentum was with Rovers and Dack continued his fine form with yet another goal and it would have been his easiest of the season so far as Graham put it on a plate for the number 23, who tapped home from just four yards to hand Rovers the lead.

But five minutes later and Forest were level again as Andrew Madley awarded another penalty, which looked harsh for Rodwell's tackle on Lolley, and Grabban stepped up to find the corner despite Raya going the right way.

Lolley, who caused problems for Rovers throughout the encounter, lashed towards goal with eight minutes remaining and stung the palms of Raya, who had to be alert to deny the former Huddersfield schemer.

Another ex-Huddersfield man in Michael Hefele, who skewed inches past the post late on after Lolley's shot deflected into his path.

There was still time for Guedioura to head over the bar when he really should have scored in the final opportunity - and the final touch - of a barnstorming game in East Lancashire.

Don't forget, Rovers are back in action on home turf on Wednesday night when Sheffield United make the trip across from Yorkshire.

Rovers: Raya, Nyambe (Rodwell, 59), Lenihan, Downing (Armstrong, 56), Bell, Reed, Evans (Rothwell, 75), Smallwood, Bennett (c), Dack, Graham.

Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Travis, Conway, Palmer.

Goals: Armstrong, 64, Dack, 73

Nottingham Forest: Pantilimon, Fox (c), Guedioura, Colback, Grabban (Murphy, 85), Carvalho (Osborn, 81), Cash (Dias, 71), Robinson, Janko, Lolley, Hefele.

Unused substitutes: Steele, Watson, Dawson, Darikwa.

Booked: Colback, 43

Goal: Grabban, 52, Grabban, 79.

Referee: Andrew Madley

Attendance: 14,440 (2,022 away).

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