Nottingham Forest made it four games unbeaten and with one defeat from 11 after a hard fought 0-0 draw with AFC Bournemouth.

Chances were at a premium for both sides, with Shane Long going closest for the visitors as his header looped over the bar.

The Reds went closest from Glenn Murray, whose header was cleared off the line, while Joe Worrall also put a header wide from a glorious position.

Chris Hughton’s side are now on 33 points after 29 games and here are three things we learnt from the match…

Nottingham Forest
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND FEBRUARY 13: Junior Stanislas of AFC Bournemouth during the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and AFC Bournemouth at City Ground on February 13, 2021 in Nottingham, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

The structure is so much better

With every passing week, the Reds’ defensive shape and structure has improved under Hughton, but facing Bournemouth was a huge test.

It was also a test that they largely got through unscathed as for large periods of the game, it felt as if the only way Bournemouth would get any joy would either be via a Forest individual error or a slice of pure magic.

This will please Hughton as while the game was far from a classic, it is highlighting that he is very much building strong foundations at The City Ground and they are looking stronger out of the ball.

Nottingham Forest
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 13: Shane Long of AFC Bournemouth is challenged by Joe Worrall of Nottingham Forest during the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and AFC Bournemouth at City Ground on February 13, 2021 in Nottingham, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Attacking set pieces remains an issue

One of the best chances of the game came for Forest via a delightful Anthony Knockaert delivery from a set piece, but Worrall could only flash it wide.

It was one of those situations where you felt the chance created was so good, it had to be hitting the target – but sadly for Forest, it went begging.

 

Murray also had a chance from a corner and made much better contact than Worrall did for his, but the striker’s header was cleared on the line by Ben Pearson.

This has been a recurring theme for the Reds, with Forest only scoring five goals from set pieces in 29 matches – the joint second lowest in the league.

That statistic won’t be lost on Hughton and his side will need to work on the training ground to amend that.

Nottingham Forest
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 13: Cameron Carter-Vickers of AFC Bournemouth passes the ball while under pressure from Glenn Murray of Nottingham Forest during the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and AFC Bournemouth at City Ground on February 13, 2021 in Nottingham, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Huge progress made in a few months

Three months ago, Forest went to Bournemouth and were outclassed by their opponents, losing 2-0.

The Reds were chasing the game after just three minutes when Junior Stanislas ran through unchallenged to score and it only got worse from there.

This time however, they were significantly improved and while Bournemouth possess players of the class of Jack Wilshere, David Brooks and Arnaut Danjuma, it was a very even game.

Forest could’ve been better from an attacking perspective, especially from open play, but the level of improvement made in three months is testament to Hughton’s managerial ability.

Has this point proved Nottingham Forest can stand up to the better sides in the league?

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