Nottingham Forest were unable to claim bragging rights over arch rivals Derby County at the weekend, with the Reds throwing away a lead to draw 1-1 with the Rams on Saturday.
Forest were looking to get their better over their bitter rivals for the third time this season, having already recorded home victories in the league as well as in the Carabao Cup.
This encounter was by far the biggest and most important of the season, though, with Derby making huge strides of improvement, climbing up the table and mounting a play-off push as Forest look to secure their place in the top-six.
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It was Forest who took the lead at Pride Park, when a long-range Joe Lolley effort found the bottom corner from distance on 12 minutes, as Sabri Lamouchi’s side dominated proceedings from the off.
After what looked to be a solid defensive performance, the points looked to be heading back down the red side of the A52, especially when Martyn Waghorn was sent off for a strong challenge on Ryan Yates in the 94th minute.
But following a long-range free-kick and confusion in the Reds’ area, Chris Martin was there to bundle the ball over the line for Derby on 97 minutes, with Forest dropping all three points late on.
Here, then, we take a look at three things we learnt about Forest after their 1-1 draw with Derby…
Late goals a problem
This isn’t the first time Forest have thrown away leads in the dying embers of games, a fact that assistant head coach Bruno Baltazar pointed out after the game.
The Reds have conceded goals late on against the likes of Millwall, Reading and Middlesbrough. In fact, every goal that Forest have conceded since the season’s restart has come in second-half stoppage time, which can’t be a coincidence.
Forest have an issue in seeing out games, and despite Karlan Grant’s 90th minute goal for Huddersfield proving to be a meaningless consolation, Martin’s goal for Derby and Connor Wickham’s strike for Sheffield Wednesday has seen them drop four points in total.
Four points is massive at this stage of the season, and the Reds could have already all but confirmed a top-six finish if they had held onto those wins.
Martin’s goal came after Joe Worrall rather needlessly brought down Morgan Whittaker with the youngster going nowhere, allowing Wayne Rooney to float a dangerous ball into the area which Forest failed to deal with.
They need to see out leads and remain fully concentrated until the final whistle is blown.
Nuno da Costa ready to make his mark
Saturday afternoon saw Nuno da Costa make his first start for Forest since arriving from Strasbourg in January, and the attacker made a positive impact on his full debut.
Starting in a slightly wider position, da Costa looked sharp and powerful on the ball, showed real pace and endeavour and wasn’t afraid to get control of the ball and put himself into challenges.
It was a positive contribution from the 29-year-old, and he will now be looking to get more starts under his belt and become a key player for Forest in the remaining five games of the season.
Lewis Grabban has been on fire this season, but any successful team needs competition and da Costa will be looking to provide that.
Plenty of positives still to take
To throw any lead away in stoppage time is a tough pill to swallow, especially when it’s against your bitter rivals in a game that could prove to be massive in the race for promotion.
But Forest cannot afford to dwell on that late goal now, and overall, Lamouchi should be fairly satisfied with his side’s performance.
His side didn’t look like conceding in almost 100 minutes of football and looked solid in every area of the pitch, and on the whole, they handled the occasion really well indeed.
In the end, a point away from home against a promotion rival is nothing to turn your nose up at, and they cannot afford to feel sorry for themselves with a massive game against Fulham on the horizon tomorrow night.
With games against Preston and Swansea to follow shortly after, Forest need to move on.