Nottingham Forest were unable to return to winning ways in the Sky Bet Championship on Tuesday night, as they were held to a 1-1 home draw against Middlesbrough on a frustrating night at the City Ground.
The Reds would have been looking to put Friday night’s 2-2 draw with Millwall behind them, after the Lions salvaged a point in injury time.
Having won just one of their last four games since returning from the international break, Lamouchi’s side simply had to respond against a Middlesbrough side struggling towards the bottom half of the table.
After scoring the game’s only goal after a minute against Charlton last weekend, Jonathan Woodgate surely wouldn’t have been expecting his side to replicate that on Tuesday night.
Instead, his side were forced to sit back and withstand heaps of pressure from the hosts, as Lamouchi’s men dominated the ball in the early stages.
A move involving nearly every outfield Forest player resulted in the game’s first shot – the ball being nicely worked to Joe Lolley on the edge of the area, but his shot was blocked with ease.
It was Lolley, again, who registered the game’s first shot on target, however his ferocious left-footed shot was matched by Aynsley Pears in the 14th minute.
Forest dominated the possession in the first-half, but were left frustrated at their lack of output in the final third. Matty Cash getting in some fantastic positions down the right flank, but not being found with a killer pass.
It was Cash who also threatened to break the deadlock for the Reds – the tenacious full-back picked up a loose ball on the halfway line, drove forward before lashing a shot wide on 16 minutes.
Boro – clearly frustrated at being tugged around by Forest’s passing – picked up the game’s first card. Young defender Djed Spence receiving a yellow card for a robust challenge on Jack Robinson.
Tiago Silva then took ‘one for the team’ just a minute later, hacking down Paddy McNair as Boro showed Forest what they can create on the counter attack.
Ashley Fletcher had a big chance to open the scoring on 27 minutes – Hayden Coulson’s cross flew over Joe Worrall’s head, but the powerful striker’s header lacked conviction and found Brice Samba’s gloves.
Frustrations began to grow amongst the City Ground faithful, as they saw their side fail to break down a resilient Boro side that camped practically every player in their own half.
The stadium was filled with groans in the 38th minute, when Joe Lolley – who pounced onto a Ryan Yates lay-off inside the area – chose not to pull the trigger on his trusted left foot, and instead squared an over-hit pass to Lewis Grabban.
That was the conclusion of a frustrating half for Forest as Andy Woolmer blew the whistle to end an opening 45 minutes that reflected the cold, dreary weather on Trentside.
Forest continued to apply pressure in the early stages of the second-half. After two corners were headed away in quick succession, a long diagonal was too high for Jonny Howson to deal with, however Sammy Ameobi’s powerful effort was parried away by Pears and put behind for another corner.
The game livened up after the first 10 minutes went by – Paddy McNair leaving Jack Robinson on the floor after good work down the right, but his shot was matched by Samba.
Forest then came incredibly close to making a breakthrough on 58 minutes. Forest’s 10th corner of the night was headed away only as far as Ryan Yates, however the midfielder’s shot could only skid off the turf onto the crossbar from the edge of the area.
But Forest and Yates weren’t left frustrated for too much longer.
After patient build-up play down the right-hand side, Matty Cash delivered a beautiful cross into the box, and it was met by the head of Yates who headed home emphatically in the 64th minute.
Forest finally made their pressure tell, and now Boro would have to finally start showing some urgency and any sort of firepower in the final third. They brought on Marvin Johnson for Djed Spence in an attempt to do so, whilst Ameobi was replaced by Joao Carvalho in the 71st minute.
Shortly after, young forward Stephen Walker replaced Adam Clayton for Boro, as Woodgate’s men began to throw men forward.
They threatened to hurt Forest late on – a long ball into the box from a free-kick found Daniel Ayala, but his deflected effort could only find the palms of Samba, with McNair flashing a shot high and wide a minute later.
But Boro delivered a major suckerpunch just moments later – Marvin Johnson ran through on goal and darted past Jack Robinson, who had no choice but to bring his man down inside the penalty area.
Paddy McNair stepped up in the 81st minute to grab a late and perhaps undeserved equaliser against the run of play for Boro – and the midfielder made no mistake, drilling past Samba who dived the correct way.
A huge blow for Forest, then, who were made to pay for their lack of clinical edge in the final third, as Lamouchi brought Albert Adomah on for goalscorer Yates in the 84th minute.
Frustrations began to grow amongst Forest players, with Joe Worrall receiving a yellow card after a strong challenge on Marcus Tavernier in the 87th minute.
Jack Robinson found himself in the referee’s book moments later – the left-back being adjudged to have fouled Marvin Johnson, as the Reds tried desperately to get back into their usual rhythm.
Four minutes were added on at the end of an eventful second-half, but despite being given a big chance to find a late winner through Joao Carvalho, the playmaker failed to deliver the goods.
Instead, his free-kick was fired straight into Pears’ hands, and the whistle was blown to put an end to the match.
Lamouchi will certainly rue his side’s lack of cutting edge in the final third, on a night where they dropped two points against a Middlesbrough outfit that looked toothless in front of goal throughout.