Nottingham Forest 1-1 Sheffield United: Late strike by substitute Grabban salvages point for Forest
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02: Lewis Grabban of Nottingham Forest celebrates their side's first goal with teammate Joe Worrall during the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United at City Ground on November 02, 2021 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

A late close-range strike from substitute Lewis Grabban rescued a point for Nottingham Forest as they drew 1-1 at home to Sheffield United.

Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee Morgan Gibbs-White opened the scoring in the 78th minute when he converted close range from a Billy Sharp cross.

However, the lead did not last long as the home side deservedly levelled five minutes later when Grabban was quickest to latch on to a loose ball inside the six-yard box and he had no problem in smashing the ball past Robin Olsen to ensure that both sides went home with a point apiece.

Story of the game

Despite beginning the game on the back foot after being forced to be pegged back deep inside their own half, it was Forest that had the first meaningful chance when Joe Lolley bursted forward from deep and had a go from range, but his strike flashed narrowly wide of the target.

The Blades were really starting to get a grip on the game as they dominated the majority of the ball, but they just struggled to find space in dangerous areas as the Reds back three stood firm.

In fact, it was the hosts that had the next best opportunity on the 26th-minute mark when a corner from the right by James Garner was met by Lyle Taylor, but he could only divert his powerful header a couple of yards wide of the right-hand post.

Nine minutes later United did finally create their first opening of the game when Rhian Brewster was slipped in space down the right but his low drive was well kept out by Brice Samba.

Embed from Getty Images

Brewster was at the centre of the visitors’ next chance as well when three minutes before the interval a cross from the left was headed out to the former Liverpool youngster on the right-hand side, but he lashed a wild volley well over

Then with the last action of the half, the best chance was created when an inviting corner from Garner was latched on to by the moving Joe Worrall, but his glancing header just landed marginally wide of the far corner.

After the break, Forest came out with much more energy as the away side seemed to hide into their shell and were maybe slightly fortunate to not have conceded a penalty with 22 minutes to go.

This was when Brennan Johnson tumbled over on the left-hand side of the box under a clumsy challenge, but the referee adjudged the Forest academy graduate to have dived resulting in much outrage from Steve Cooper's side.

This was a decision that proved to be costly as the Blades broke the deadlock out of nowhere with 12 minutes remaining when Sharp, who had only entered the pitch moments before, got down the left-hand side and put in a low cross across goal which was slotted home by Gibbs-White.

A couple of minutes later Forest had a great chance to immediately level when a cross from the right narrowly evaded Grabban in the middle, but he just could not quite get a touch on to the ball.

However, you did not need to ask Grabban twice as with seven minutes to go when a ball in this time from the left failed to be nodded away and the forward was first there to pounce and smash the ball home.

Then with only two minutes to go, Cooper's side had a great chance to turn the game around and win it, but another substitute Phillip Zinckernagel's snapshot from the right was deflected just wide of the near post as both sides shared out the points.

Organisation of Forest’s back three a pleasing aspect

The home side’s defensive line started the game quite deep as they allowed the Blades to have a lot of the ball and they just concentrated on ensuring that the likes of Mousset and Brewster did not get in behind.

Despite obtaining the majority of possession and Forest just being happy to soak up the pressure in the first period, United did very little in terms of the creation of clear cut opportunities.

This was down to the clear communication, strength and organisation of the back three and credit has to be given to the defence for this.

Embed from Getty Images

Then even in the second half when the hosts came out firing a little bit more, the Reds still remained solid at the back and ensured that they were not vulnerable to a counter-attack.

Goalkeeper Samba throughout the 90 minutes did have very little to do and this was down to the impressive performances from all of Worrall, Tobias Figueiredo and Scott McKenna as together they build a solid defensive unit.

This in particular is something that will have impressed Cooper and now he will just look to work on their decision-making in the final third as at times this evening their final ball was sloppy and the service to the forwards just was not good enough.

Star man - Djed Spence

The Middlesbrough loanee was lively all night and was especially impressive when going forward as he wasn’t afraid to take on Jaden Bogle down the left and on a number of occassions did successfully get in behind the defensive line and to the byline.

Unfortunately though his final ball just tended to be cut out, but his general composure on the ball along with his pace down the sides is something that will have pleased Forest fans and will be seen as a huge sign of encouragement for upcoming games.

The 21-year-old moved to the City Ground during the summer transfer window and has made 13 league appearances, scoring one goal during that time.

VAVEL Logo