Norwich 3-3 Nottingham Forest: Last-gasp Onel Hernandez double seals point for Canaries
Norwich earn incredible comeback point at Carrow Road but lose ground on Sky Bet Championship leaders Leeds.
Last Updated: 26/12/18 6:33pm
Onel Hernandez fired two stoppage-time goals as Norwich produced an amazing fightback to draw 3-3 with Nottingham Forest at Carrow Road - after being 3-1 down going into seven minutes of injury-time.
Forest looked to be cruising to victory after building up a 3-0 lead with more than 20 minutes remaining, and still appeared comfortable despite Mario Vrancic reducing the arrears in the 77th minute.
But in keeping with a side flying high in the table, the Canaries refused to accept defeat, with a dramatic late double from substitute Hernandez clinching them an unlikely point.
With an unbeaten league run of 11 games behind them Norwich started firmly on the front foot and could easily have been in front after just seven minutes.
A fortunate deflection put top scorer Teemu Pukki in the clear and it took a superb save at full stretch from giant keeper Costel Pantilimon to keep out a low shot that was heading for the far corner of the net.
Pukki then fired over from a tight angle after being picked out by Vrancic before a timely intervention from Joe Lolley prevented Jamal Lewis from converting at the back post after Marco Stiepermann had swung over a cross.
Forest rarely threatened in the opening half an hour, with the Canaries' only moment of concern coming when Stiepermann caught Danny Fox late as the defender cleared his lines, with the German perhaps fortunate to escape with just a yellow card.
The visitors began to come into the game in the latter stages of the half however, and Fox had tested Tim Krul with a powerful free-kick from just outside the box before they got their noses in front in first-half stoppage time.
The goal arrived after talented young fullback Max Aarons had unwisely decided to dribble his way out of his own box rather than boot the ball clear. Cash got in a good tackle to win possession back and then fired in a fierce low drive which beat Krul at his near post to give the visitors a lead they scarcely deserved.
Norwich were quickly into their stride after the break but after piling on the pressure they were early caught on the break in the 57th minute, with ex-Canary Lewis Grabban firing in a powerful shot which Krul to well to beat away.
Strong appeals for handball in the area against Forest's Jack Robinson, who had already been booked, were then waved away by referee John Brooks before the visitors doubled their advantage.
Krul made a excellent reflex stop to keep out Claudio Yacob's close range deflection but the ball fell kindly for Robinson, who lashed the ball home from close range to put his side 2-0 up.
Robinson was immediately substituted, no doubt with his yellow card in mind.
Norwich continued to battle away, with Pukki slipping the ball just wide after being picked out by Stiepermann. Forest, however, gave themselves some breathing space in the 74th minute when Lolley worked his way into the City box and did well to find Cash, who sidefooted home his second goal of the game in emphatic fashion.
Again Norwich had a response with Pantilimon producing an incredible close range save to deny Pukki before Vrancic reduced the arrears with a shot from distance that took a big deflection to beat the keeper.
Ben Godfrey then turned a close range shot just wide as Norwich continued to press, with Pantilimon saving a well-struck Stiepermann effort and Godfrey then skying the ball high and wide from close range before Tendayi Darikwa cleared off the line.
It was a stirring finish from Norwich and in the fourth of seven minutes of injury time they pulled another goal back when a cross from Hernandez, who somehow found the back of the net through a forest of legs.
Pantilimon then made a brilliant double save to deny first Godfrey and then Timm Klose but Norwich would not be denied and with time running out, Hernandez forced his way through a panicking defence to make it 3-3.
Daniel Farke: "When that final goal went in it was like an explosion - it was something really special. I am so proud of my players for the way they kept going right until the end but I must also praise the supporters for the way they stuck with the team when we went 3-0 down.
"Their backing helped us get back in the game and I am so pleased that we were able to reward them by taking a point from this game. There is great unity here at the moment between players, staff and the supporters - it's something really special."
Aitor Karanka: "I have my thoughts on the game but I really can't tell you. It was a crazy game, I can say that, and in the end I thought we were punished for two mistakes, when we should have got the ball away. This has not been happening all the time - in many games recently we have been well organised and defended well.
"You also have to remember that we were playing a very good side, who have been doing well recently. It's also true that us leading 3-0 wasn't maybe fair because they had a lot of chances. Before the game if someone had told me we would take a point against Norwich I would have accepted that - so we have to take this point and move on to the next game."