November 6, 2012
Boro cannot deliver magnificent seven
Middlesbrough's six-game winning run ground to a halt at the City Ground as they were held to a goalless draw by Nottingham Forest.
Forest, looking to bounce back following a 4-1 hammering by Millwall, could count themselves unlucky not to take all three points as only the woodwork denied Billy Sharp from grabbing a morale-boosting winner.
It took 12 minutes for the first effort on goal, with Lukas Jutkiewicz's low 20-yard effort bringing a comfortable save from Reds goalkeeper Lee Camp.
Two minutes later, Andy Reid received the ball in the area and took his time before curling a left-footed strike narrowly over, while Sharp then got away a shot under pressure and his effort whistled inches past Jason Steele's left-hand upright.
Forest should have opened the scoring after 34 minutes when Reid delivered a dangerous cross, but both Sharp and Cohen got in a muddle with the ball at their feet and Boro cleared to Adlene Guedioura, whose fierce drive was deflected over.
As the first half came to an end, Forest began to get on top and after Sharp snatched at Cox's driven cross to poke an effort wide, Cohen fired narrowly past Steele's left-hand post.
Steele then made the first real save of the night when he dived to his right to tip Guedioura's 18-yard shot wide.
Boro introduced Justin Hoyte for Stuart Parnaby at the start of the second half, but it was Forest who started the better when they won a corner inside the first minute, with Sharp nodding Reid's flag-kick narrowly wide.
Cohen's speculative 30-yard effort flew off a Boro defender and went just over and then Reds centre-back Elliott Ward sent in a cross-cum-shot that scraped the top of the net.
Forest skipper Danny Collins came to the hosts' rescue with a terrific challenge on Jutkiewicz as he was about to pull the trigger following a glorious ball over the top by Grant Leadbitter, with Lee Camp in no-man's land.
The game finally began to open up and Leadbitter then rasped a 30-yard shot inches wide of Camp's right-hand post.
In the 74th minute, Sharp was denied by the woodwork after collecting Cox's knock-on and smashing a shot past the despairing dive of Steele.
Camp then had to be alert as the play switched to the other end, diving at Jutkiewicz's feet as he raced into the area.
After Reid had inexplicably let a cross go through his legs when it seemed easier to score, Boro raced down the other end where McDonald's looping shot landed on top of Camp's net.
Forest manager Sean O'Driscoll sent on all three substitutes with just minutes to go, and although Sharp again went close from Henri Lansbury's cross, they could not find the decisive strike.
|1 Lee Camp||1 Jason Steele|
|3 Dan Harding||21 Stuart Parnaby|
|5 Danny Collins||3 Andre Amougou|
|15 Greg Halford||4 George Friend|
|32 Elliott Ward||15 Seb Hines|
|11 Andy Reid||10 Nick Bailey|
|8 Chris Cohen||7 Grant Leadbitter|
|4 Simon Gillett||38 Faris Haroun|
|7 Adlene Guedioura||16 Joshua McEachran|
|24 Billy Sharp||27 Scott McDonald|
|19 Simon Cox||17 Lukas Jutkiewicz|
|12 Karl Darlow||Jayson Leutwiler 32|
|18 Brendan Moloney||Justin Hoyte 2|
|21 James Coppinger||Adam Reach 25|
|10 Lewis McGugan||Merouane Zemmama 5|
|22 Henri Lansbury||Richard Smallwood 33|
|20 Marcus Tudgay||Emanuele Ledesema 11|
|23 Dexter Blackstock||Luke Williams 22|
|Brendan Moloney for Dan Harding (88)||Justin Hoyte for Stuart Parnaby (46)|
|Dexter Blackstock for Simon Cox (88)||Emanuele Ledesema for Lukas Jutkiewicz (80)|
|Henri Lansbury for Andy Reid (88)||Merouane Zemmama for Scott McDonald (85)|
|Adlene Guedioura (71)||Grant Leadbitter (68)|
|· Squads: Nottingham Forest | Middlesbrough|