Nottingham Forest 1-1 Middlesbrough: Paddy McNair penalty earns point for Boro
Report and highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash at the City Ground
Last Updated: 10/12/19 10:55pm
Nottingham Forest were left to rue their lack of killer instinct as Middlesbrough somehow escaped the City Ground with a 1-1 draw.
It took until the 63rd minute for Sabri Lamouchi's side to break their visitors' resolve, with a thumping header by Ryan Yates.
Jonathan Woodgate's Boro had offered little attacking threat, as they went in search of their first away win of the season in the Championship.
But when Jack Robinson clipped Marvin Johnson in the box with 10 minutes left, Paddy McNair showed the brand of merciless finishing from the spot that the home side had been lacking.
Forest have only scored 10 times at home this season - and that lack of ruthlessness cost them again.
The Reds dominated the opening exchanges but, despite a flurry of threatening moments, it took until the 15th minute for Joe Lolley to muster the first effort on goal, with a curling shot that Aynsley Pears was well placed to save.
A darting, powerful break down the right from full-back Matty Cash carved out another opportunity, but his shot was wayward.
Lolley found Lewis Grabban with an incisive pass, sending him scampering into the box, but Pears was quick off his line to close the angle - and Tiago Silva had a shot blocked.
Grabban flashed a header inches wide - but was ruled offside either way.
Ashley Fletcher sent a header too close to keeper Brice Samba, as Boro threatened for the first time. Lolley was unselfish when he squared to Grabban instead of shooting - but the striker could not quite connect, at full stretch. Forest had dominated the first period, but could not make it count.
Forest had scored only seven of their 26 goals prior to this fixture in the first half of games - and the pattern was continued, against a Middlesbrough side who had a seven-man rearguard at times.
Ben Watson's header sent the ball back into the danger zone from an early second half corner, but again Forest could not profit. Ameobi did his best to conjure something on his own, but a brilliant turn and shot ended with another smart save from Pears.
Yates then hit the bar with a driven volley as Forest continued to push.
And Middlesbrough's resolve was finally broken in the 63rd minute, when Cash delivered an enticing cross to pick out the timely run of Yates, who this time sent the ball into the back of the net with a powerful header.
Grabban did brilliantly to hold off two Boro defenders with great strength, but then chose to pass to Watson, rather than shoot from a good position - the chance went.
Forest should have had the game wrapped up - but instead handed their visitors a lifeline, when Robinson clipped the heels of sub Johnson in the penalty area.
McNair emphatically converted from the penalty spot, to draw Middlesbrough level and earn a point that had seemed unlikely for long spells.
What the managers said...
Nottingham Forest's Sabri Lamouchi: "We need more character, particularly when we play at home, because the game was in our hands. I am disappointed, because we controlled the game until the goal. We played well in the first half - we created a lot.
"We conceded the goal in injury time at Millwall, we conceded this goal tonight - these are a lot of points. These are the details that matter. These are the important numbers. We need to find a solution. We must keep going; we must be positive. I am upset, like the players - because we lost two points tonight."
Middlesbrough's Jonathan Woodgate: "I am really pleased, because it is what we deserved. In the first half their full backs were bombing on and had real threat, but we changed things around and the second half was much better. Everyone is a genius after games. When you have to make decisions you can win or lose by these decisions. But we got our decisions right here. We pushed higher in the second half, to stop their full backs.
"We have come back from behind a few times this season, away from home in particular. This is a good point, against a good team with some top players. They have a good bench as well. Paddy (McNair) has that quality, doesn't he. I was always confident he (McNair) would score."