Nottingham Forest 0-0 Stoke: Jack Butland earns point for Potters
Stoke gain point at City Ground after holding off Nottingham Forest.
Last Updated: 10/11/18 6:44pm
Jack Butland produced two superb saves to help Stoke secure a point from a 0-0 draw at Nottingham Forest.
The England international pulled off a stunning stop to deny Joe Lolley late in the game, before then making himself big in injury time, just when Lewis Grabban seemed certain to snatch the spoils for the home side at the City Ground.
All five Championship clashes between Gary Rowett and Aitor Karanka have now ended in draws and that was probably a fair outcome here.
Both sides had chances to break the deadlock, but it was the Reds who perhaps carved out the better of them, with Grabban also firing over with only Butland to beat, earlier in the game.
Stoke were almost the first to draw blood, as James McClean tried his luck from outside the box, with a rasping, powerful strike that forced an important save from Costel Pantilimon, diving alertly to his right.
McClean tested Pantilimon again, with a cross-shot, but this time the keeper's save was a far easier one.
Butland had to be alert to claim a cross from Matty Cash, with Lewis Grabban poised to pounce.
But the first real flashpoint came in the 30th minute, when Benik Afobe raced clear of the Forest defence. Pantilimon surged out of his area to slide in with a challenge and the striker went down in a heap.
Stoke's players were furious when referee Oliver Langford failed to award a free-kick - and a potential red card to the Forest keeper - with the protests still continuing minutes later. But there was little contact, if any, seemingly made between the two players.
Forest found their teeth in the 41st minute when Grabban fed a pass into the feet of Lolley in the box. He turned sharply to hit a low shot but Butland read it well and made the save look simple.
Adlene Guedioura then flashed an instant shot across the face of goal and narrowly wide, as the Stoke keeper looked on. It was Forest who finished the half the stronger, with Joao Carvalho then seeing a driven shot cleared off the line by Ryan Shawcross.
Forest should have taken the lead in the 55th minute when Jack Colback pounced on a defensive mix-up and left Grabban with a clear sight of goal, just inside the box - but the Reds striker blazed wildly over.
Carvalho also forced another important save from Butland when he conjured up a clever effort from just inside the box, which the keeper pushed away acrobatically.
Pantilimon denied Stoke when he got down to stop a free kick from Tom Edwards, which was bound for the bottom corner after taking a deflection.
Butland demonstrated his international credentials with six minutes to go, when he made an outstanding save to deny Lolley, who had bent the shot towards the far corner with serious venom, but saw the keeper push it away brilliantly.
And, when Cash's header sent Grabban racing clear, Butland responded again, making himself big to deny the striker in impressive fashion again.
Aitor Karanka: "He (Butland) made a couple of really good saves. People can be proud of this team because if you look at the Stoke team and squad, they were mostly all Premier League players last season.
"Against a very good team - starting with the keeper - we showed that we were better than them."
Gary Rowett: "The reality is [the penalty decision] is a moment that changes the game. If the officials see the right decision it has to be a straight red. There can be no other decision because there was no other player around.
"He knocked it around the keeper and jumped to avoid the contact. He hasn't dived. Maybe he should have dived because that is the problem now. You are damned if you do and damned if you don't. He jumped but the keeper caught him. He tried to avoid it but there was contact."