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Match Reports

Lions stage fightback to earn deserved Forest draw

Our report from Nottingham...

3 October 2018

Millwall staged a late fightback at the City Ground on Wednesday night as Shaun Williams and Lee Gregory scored to earn The Lions a more than deserved 2-2 draw against Nottingham Forest in the Sky Bet Championship.

In a near enough carbon copy of last season's opener, Millwall dominated their hosts but fell behind to Joe Lolley's 27th-minute effort.

Millwall continued to press in the second half - even through floodlight failure - but fell further behind after Joao Carvalho's free-kick crept over the line on 70 minutes.

Shaun Williams reduced the arrears four minutes later and The Lions looked to have gained a well-deserved point shortly after, but a goal from Tom Bradshaw was disallowed for a foul.

Gregory, however, tapped home the equaliser as the clock struck 90 minutes.

Neil Harris made four changes from Saturday's 3-2 defeat at Sheffield United, as Murray Wallace, Jiri Skalak, Shane Ferguson and Tom Elliott came in for Byron Webster, Aiden O'Brien, the suspended Jed Wallace and Steve Morison respectively.

The first chance of the game came in the fifth minute and went the way of The Lions, but Gregory smacked a header off the crossbar.

Millwall were in the ascendancy early on and Elliott made Costel Pantilimon save down low from a header, whilst a flying head was just unable to connect from Jake Cooper's knock back across goal from the resulting corner-kick.

Adlene Guedioura, meanwhile, fired Forest's first effort of the evening wide.

Attack after attack came Millwall's way and they nearly took the lead with 18 minutes on the clock, but after Elliott successfully challenged Pantilimon, Ferguson's right-footed volley was tipped wide. The stopper had to get a hand to Cooper's header from the corner that followed, too, whilst Williams' attempt bounced into the goalkeeper's hands.

Forest came to life in the 20th minute when Joe Lolley's outstanding cross-field pass found Ben Osborn - he crossed for former Millwall striker Lewis Grabban, but the frontman flicked wide. Another Lions corner found its way to Cooper, but he found Pantilimon as the home crowd began to grow restless.

However, as so often happens, Forest took the lead in the 27th minute with their first real opportunity of the game, as Lolley struck home from distance.

Despite going behind it was Millwall that continued to attack with Ryan Leonard just unable to reach Skalak's cross, whilst Gregory powered a shot towards goal which struck Pantilimon and bounced clear. Gregory then pounced on a loose ball and attempted to beat the goalkeeper from distance, but Pantilimon claimed.

The City Ground were still bemoaning their team's inability to attack but on 38 minutes it was nearly two; Mahlon Romeo, however, raced back to expertly block Jack Robinson's shot. 

The positive play from The Lions continued as the second half got underway, but the first chance of the half fell to goalscorer Lolley, who blazed over. A Skalak cross was allowed to pass across the penalty area and into the path of Ferguson shortly after the hour-mark, but the Northern Irishman was unable to control the bouncing ball that would have allowed him a shot on goal from close range.

With 67 minutes on the clock, the game was stopped and the players were taken off the pitch as the floodlights failed and the City Ground was plunged into darkness. A delay of 14 minutes followed, with the lights reinstated and play resuming shortly after.

On 70 minutes Forest doubled their advantage. A free-kick from Carvalho was tipped on to the crossbar by Ben Amos, but the ball crept over the line for the hosts' second goal of the night.

Elliott got his head to a Ferguson free-kick four minutes later but Pantilimon claimed on the line. Forest were still giving the ball away, however, and Ferguson's endeavour created a goal for Williams with 16 minutes remaining as the midfielder rose highest to head home.

An apparent handball inside the penalty area was not given by referee Jonathan Moss as The Lions continued to push, whilst the ball was in the net again seconds later, but Moss this time saw a foul as it was headed past Pantilimon.

The introductions of Tom Bradshaw and Morison for James Meredith and Elliott gave Millwall fresh attacking impetus in their search for an equaliser, and it duly arrived in the 90th minute as Gregory tapped the ball home from close range.

Nottingham Forest: Pantilimon, Fox, Guedioura, Colback, Grabban, Carvalho (Dawson 80'), Osborn (Dias 73'), Robinson, Janko, Lolley (Cash 58'), Hefele. Subs not used: Steele, Watson, Murphy, Darikwa.

Scorer: Lolley 27', Carvalho 70'

Booking: Colback, Robinson

Millwall: Amos, Meredith (Bradshaw 75'), Cooper, Williams, Gregory, Ferguson, Romeo, Elliott (Morison 75'), M. Wallace, Skalak (O'Brien 68'), Leonard. Subs not used: Archer, McLaughlin, Webster, Tunnicliffe.

Scorer: Williams 74', Gregory 90'

Booking: Ferguson, Leonard, Morison

Referee: Jonathan Moss

Attendance: 25,753


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