Nottingham Forest 1-1 Burnley: Reds end pre-season with promise against Premier League side

Nottingham Forest ended their pre-season in promising fashion with a 1-1 draw against Premier League side Burnley at The City Ground on Saturday afternoon. 

The Clarets prevented Forest from closing out their preparations with a perfect record after the Reds had previously beaten Notts County, Mansfield Town and Girona.

Andre Gray's equaliser early on in the second-half cancelled out Daryl Murphy's opener for the home side, with Forest now looking ahead to their opening Championship clash against Millwall on Friday. 

Reds dominate first-half 

Mark Warburton included three of his new summer recruits in his starting line-up in the form of Tendayi Darikwa, Barrie McKay and Daryl Murphy.

It was a particularly interesting encounter for Darikwa considering he only joined Forest from Burnley earlier this week for a fee of around £2 million. 

It was the home side who started the game on the front foot and put Burnley under pressure early on. Zach Clough saw his shot curl over the crossbar after some neat build-up play from the Reds. Murphy was also looking lively early on with some good attacking movement.

The first big chance of the game came midway through the first-half and it fell to the visitors. Gray beat Michael Mancienne with ease on the right hand side before crossing the ball into Jonathan Walters. However, the 33-year-old striker was denied by Jordan Smith who tipped his header onto the crossbar. 

Despite a number of opportunities for both sides, it was Forest who took the lead. McKay played Ben Osborn down the left hand side with a wonderful pass and his cross was turned into the back of the net by Murphy to make it 1-0. It was difficult to tell whether Murphy or Ben Mee got the final touch but the goal was awarded to the striker. 

It could easily have been 2-0 shortly before the break as Murphy beat Clarets keeper Tom Heaton to a high ball but the England keeper recovered well as he managed to save Murphy's shot after it looked like he had rounded him for a tap in. This saw the Clarets go into half-time lucky to only be trailing by a 1-0 scoreline. 

Clarets respond in second-half through Gray

Forest decided to make two changes ahead of the second-half with Andreas Bouchalakis and Jamie Ward replacing Ben Brereton and David Vaughan. These two changes did seem to upset Forest's rhythm and Burnley started to put considerable pressure onto the Forest defence. 

Matthew Lowton was finding himself in plenty of space down the right hand side on several different occasions. He crossed another dangerous ball into Forest's area shortly after the restart and Gray was there to tap home and level the scores at 1-1. 

Forest will be hoping Jamie Ward's injury is not too serious. (picture: Getty Images / Nathan Stirk)
Forest will be hoping Jamie Ward's injury is not too serious. (picture: Getty Images / Nathan Stirk)

Forest boss Warburton was dealt another blow shortly after the equaliser as Ward was stretchered off the pitch with a calf injury. This is yet another injury blow for the Reds after midfielder Matty Cash was ruled out for a number of months after picking up an ankle injury in the 2-1 win against Girona on Tuesday night. 

Both sides continued to make several changes throughout the second-half to get much needed minutes into the legs of players that needed it. Ward, Murphy and Mancienne were replaced by Jason Cummings, Apostolos Vellios and Jack Hobbs for the home side as they looked to get themselves back in front. 

There were limited chances for both sides in the latter stages of the match. However, Gray did have a big chance to put the Clarets infront as he found himself in space in the area but could only fire straight at Smith with a tame effort as the match ended 1-1. 

Warburton left 'pleased' with performance 

Forest boss Warburton was delighted with how his side competed against Sean Dyche's Premier League side and now believes his side is ready for their first league match of the season next Friday.

He told Forest's official site: “I am really pleased as I thought, in the first half especially, we were really good. It was a great test for us as we knew what Burnley would bring in terms of their quality, organisation and physicality."

Warburton was left pleased with what he saw of his side against Burnley. (picture: Getty Images / Nathan Stirk)
Warburton was left pleased with what he saw of his side against Burnley. (picture: Getty Images / Nathan Stirk)

He added: Sean Dyche sets his teams up so well so it was a great test for us and I thought in the first half we responded and I am delighted with that. We showed good energy, good quality and we matched them all over the park."