The Warmdown: Forest held to draw after stoppage time drama
Brennan Johnson of Nottingham Forest scores from the penalty spot to make it 0-1 during the Sky Bet Championship match between Hull City and Nottingham Forest at the KC Stadium, Kingston upon Hull on Saturday 7th May 2022. (Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Nottingham Forest were forced to settle for fourth place in the Championship, conceding a 94th minute equaliser away at the MKM Stadium

Hull City couldn’t win their third successive Championship home game for the first time since 2019 as Brennan Johnson tucked away a penalty in stoppage time. 

However, the Tigers were able to halt Forest’s celebrations by equalising deep into stoppage time, meaning that Steve Cooper's side will play Sheffield United in the Championship play-off semi-finals. 

Here are some talking points from Nottingham Forest’s 1-1 draw with Hull City

Cooper’s plan almost worked perfectly 

Steve Cooper expressed his desire to finish the Championship campaign in third place, but also confirmed that he would not take “any risks” when it came to naming his team to face Hull. 

Embed from Getty Images

When the team sheet was announced, it was unsurprising to see that the Forest boss made seven changes for this game. Players that are harbouring injury concerns such as Steve Cook, Jack Colback and Ryan Yates weren’t even in the squad for this fixture. 

Nevertheless, the Reds boss did leave strong players such as Djed Spence, Brennan Johnson and Sam Surridge on the bench in case they were needed. 

As the game passed by at 0-0, the Forest boss didn’t make any changes to his side as scores around the league were not very drastic. Once it was clear that Forest wouldn’t play Middlesbrough in the play-offs as they were losing 3-1 to Preston North End, Cooper brought Surridge and Johnson off the bench. 

The reason Cooper won’t have been too desperate to take third will have been the prospect of facing Middlesbrough in the play-offs, meaning that Djed Spence would be ineligible for Forest over both legs due to his loan terms. 

Cooper's substitutes combined, as a Brennan Johnson ball to Sam Surridge led to Tom Huddlestone tripping the latter to earn Forest a penalty in stoppage time. As Johnson put the ball in the back of the net, it appeared Steve Cooper’s plan to rest players and take third had paid off, until an evasive Lewie Coyle cross looped over Brice Samba and earned Hull a late draw. 

Panzo looked a prospect

Centre-back Jonathan Panzo made his first appearance for Nottingham Forest after signing from Dijon in January. 

Embed from Getty Images

The 21-year-old looked comfortable on the ball, taking 72 touches, and ending the game with 100 percent dribble success as well as completing 86% of his passes. 

The former Chelsea defender also looked solid defensively, winning six duels whilst completing two tackles, three clearances and one interception. 

The youngster has shown his bursts of pace and dribbling ability at academy level and continued to shine during this game, coming across as a real prospect for the Reds

Forest face Sheffield United in the play-offs

Forest will face Sheffield United in the play-off semi-finals after finishing fourth.

Both times the Reds and the Blades met this season, the fixtures finished 1-1. Forest came from behind both times, including a 95th minute equaliser at Bramall Lane. The Reds will travel there again next Saturday before welcoming Paul Heckingbottom’s side to the City Ground on the 17th of May. 

The two sides will meet in a repeat of the 2003 Division One play-off semi final fixture, a game that left Forest heartbroken as they spurned a two-goal lead and lost the tie 5-4 on aggregate.

Despite the fixture taking place nearly 19 years ago, it will be a game that Reds fans will be seeking revenge whilst dreaming of Wembley.