Nottingham Forest were denied back-to-back Championship victories as West Brom equalised late on in a 2-2 draw at the Hawthorns.
The Reds were looking to build on an impressive win against Brentford at the weekend. They got themselves off to a superb start as Stefan Johansen’s own-goal gave them the lead after just six minutes.
Despite the hosts having more of the ball, the Reds looked relatively comfortable throughout. However, Martin O’Neill’s side’s resistance was broken early in the second half. The ball fell kindly for Jacob Murphy in the area and he fired home into the back of the net.
This setback didn’t seem to have an impact on Forest. They were able to retake the lead just 10 minutes later. After having the first goal taken away from him, there was no debate over Ryan Yates’ second effort. He volleyed Lewis Grabban’s knock down into the bottom corner in front of the away support to put the Reds in the driving seat.
However, not for the first time this season, Forest were let down by the officials. Dwight Gayle appeared to deceive the referee with just minutes left to play, which led to the Baggies being awarded a penalty. Jay Rodriguez converted from the spot and left the Reds feeling very hard done by.
In short, it was a performance that deserved all three points from Forest. The likes of Jack Colback, Yates and Lewis Grabban all stood out. They would’ve boosted their play-off chances with a win, but it now looks an increasingly tough ask.
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Yates deserved the win more than anyone
After his superb performance against Brentford, it wasn’t a surprise to see Yates retain his place in the starting line-up. It’s fair to say that his performance against the Baggies was even better. Not only was he involved in both goals, but he helped contribute to a very assured midfield performance from the Reds.
However, he wasn’t the only player to produce a positive performance. The defence deserve credit for keeping the likes of Gayle, Rodriguez and Murphy quiet for the majority of the game. West Brom may have scored twice, but Costel Pantilimon didn’t really have to make a notable save.
In hindsight, the big moment in the game came when Joe Lolley played Grabban in on goal with the Reds 2-1 up. Had the 16-goal man found the back of the net, there’s no doubt that we’d be talking about a second consecutive Championship victory. This is no criticism of Grabban who put in another momentous shift in the lone striker role.
It just goes to show how fine the margins are at this level. If you aren’t able to finish the game off, there’s always the chance that the opposition can get themselves back into it, in this case through a poor refereeing decision.
Can the Reds still reach the play-offs?
At one stage tonight, the Reds were just two points off the play-offs. However, after West Brom’s equaliser and Bristol City’s late winner, that gap remains at five points. With both Derby and Middlesbrough having a game in hand, the Reds’ chances of making the play-offs now look increasingly slim.
It’s a real kick in the teeth when you think about the amount of cheap points that the Reds have dropped throughout the season. They’ll have to produce automatic promotion form between now and the end of the season to make it.
Following the conclusion of today’s match, Seat Pitch rounded up exactly what Reds supporters had to say about the game.