Bristol City 1-1 Nottingham Forest: Daryl Murphy strike denies Robins
Daryl Murphy's second-half strike cancelled out Andi Weimann's early opener for Bristol City.
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 04/08/18 9:14pm
Niki Maenpaa marked his Bristol City debut with a fine late save to preserve a point from a 1-1 Sky Bet Championship draw with Nottingham Forest at Ashton Gate.
The home side took a fifth-minute lead when Andreas Weimann marked his league debut for them with a powerful header from a Niclas Eliasson cross, which saw the ball go in via the underside of the crossbar.
But Forest were even quicker out of the blocks at the beginning of the second half, Daryl Murphy rising above his marker to send a 46th-minute downward header past Maenpaa from Adlene Guedioura's cross.
Substitute Joe Lolley almost won it for the visitors four minutes from time, but 33-year-old Finland international Maenpaa threw himself to his left to turn away the goal-bound effort from 25 yards.
City almost went in front moments before Weimann's early goal when Callum O'Dowda's close-range shot from an Eliasson corner was saved on his line by Costel Pantilimon.
Michael Dawson had already glanced a header wide for Forest, but Weimann's goal lifted the hosts and they almost went 2-0 up on 15 minutes.
Marlon Pack's far post header from a left-wing cross looked bound for the net, but with Pantilimon beaten, Ben Osborn was on hand to clear off the line.
Gil Dias sent an effort over from distance as Forest got more into the game, but soon it was Pantilimon in action again to save another Weimann header.
Forest's best first-half chance came in the 27th minute when Dias robbed Jamie Paterson and burst forward to feed Murphy, whose shot from 10 yards was deflected wide of the near post.
City had lost their early incisiveness, but it was a quiet half for Maenpaa, who made a comfortable save in the 44th minute to keep out Diogo Goncalves' long-range drive.
Murphy's goal delighted more than 2,500 Forest fans at that end and as they turned up the volume Ben Watson's shot was blocked in a crowded penalty area.
Watson had another effort from distance blocked by Nathan Baker and Murphy fired straight at Maenpaa as Forest threatened to take charge.
The City keeper had to dive to gather a Murphy header and Lee Johnson had seen enough, sending on Korey Smith and Matty Taylor for O'Dowda and Paterson.
Joe Bryan's run and shot had Pantilimon diving to parry before Forest made their first change, Murphy being replaced by Lewis Grabban.
City looked in trouble when Josh Brownhill surrendered possession in midfield, but a dangerous Forest break ended with Joao Carvalho shooting tamely at Maenpaa.
Smith's low shat at the other end was equally straightforward for Pantilimon and Maenpaa's late save ensured a fair result to an entertaining game.
Lee Johnson: "I thought we were excellent in the first 20 minutes and probably unlucky not to go two up. They got one off the line and we didn't make the most of a couple of good situations.
"To be fair to the players it was very hot out there and at the end there were some tired legs in both teams. I felt there were a lot of positives for us against a club who have spent a lot of money. Not many teams will come here with five or six really top individual players."
Aitor Karanka: "There was nothing to put right tactically at half time. Everything came down to attitude and Bristol City had more desire of the ball, while we were looking at it.
"I can understand what happened now, although I didn't at the time. We had almost a perfect pre-season with no injuries and suddenly the season in a very tough league started with my players not knowing how difficult it would be."