It was a frustrating Tuesday night for Nottingham Forest at the City Ground, with the Reds being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Rotherham United.
The Reds made a perfect start to life under Chris Hughton last weekend, winning 1-0 at Blackburn Rovers thanks to Joe Lolley’s last-minute effort, but they were made to rue missed chances on Tuesday evening.
After seeing his side end Saturday’s game strongly, Forest went about picking up from where they left off after Saturday’s late win.
With two minutes on the clock, Cyrus Christie picked up a loose ball and powered into Rotherham’s final third, but the full-back was unable to connect with his shot and poked the ball wide.
A minute later, Lewis Grabban was played through on goal by Ryan Yates – the striker beat the offside trap, but slipped as he went to shoot and subsequently directed his shot just wide.
A bright start from Forest nonetheless, and they did have the ball in the net on eight minutes, but it was ruled out for offside by referee Stephen Martin.
Joe Lolley, who received a short corner from Luke Freeman, nestled a wicked cross-cum-shot into the bottom corner, but Ryan Yates was stood in Jamal Blackman’s line of sight and was adjudged to have been interfering with play.
Forest continued to dominate the early stages of the contest, though, supplying Lewis Grabban with two good chances in quick succession.
A smart turn from Sammy Ameobi saw him get away from Wes Harding and advance into the box, but his cross across goal was inches away from Grabban’s boot. Joe Lolley’s low cross was then mishit by the striker, before Ryan Yates lashed a shot wide.
Rotherham were trying hard to keep Forest quiet in the opening half-hour, and they were succeeding. They managed to muster their first attack of the game on 20 minutes, with Ben Wiles dispossessing Nicholas Ioannou and floating a cross in towards the back post.
Freddie Ladapo was there to meet it, but hecouldn’t connect with his header properly. Mickel Millar also had a half-chance four minutes later, but could only fire over Brice Samba’s crossbar from the edge of the area.
The Millers did end the half the better side, though, having a fair share of possession and asserting their dominance in midfield through the powerful Matt Crooks and Daniel Barlaser.
It was Forest who had the final chance of the opening 45 minutes, however. Tobias Figueiredo met a dangerous Luke Freeman corner, but could only power his header into the Bridgford Stand.
One minute was to be added on at the end of the half – a duration of time hard to argue with given the lack of clear-cut chances, with both sides looking to add quality to their attack in the second-half.
It was Rotherham who started the second-half in the best possible way, though.
On 50 minutes, a slip from Christie allowed Millar the chance to dispossess the full-back, and as he did so, the speedy winger was tripped by the defender. Penalty given.
Stephen Martin did hesitate before giving the penalty, before Barlaser fired a penalty into the roof of Brice Samba’s net. A 1-0 lead for the visitors.
Forest had to respond, and nearly got back into the game almost immediately. Two chances fell to Forest in quick succession, with Grabban being denied at close-range, before Scott McKenna saw his goal-bound header cleared amid a packed area.
Forest’s best chance of the game then fell their way on 58 minutes. A delicious cross from the left from Ioannou found the head of Yates, however the midfielder’s diving header rattled the crossbar from less than six yards.
Rotherham were under the cosh. They brought on combative midfielder Shaun MacDonald on 65 minutes, shortly after Blackman pulled off a superb save to deny Grabban with a poked effort from close-range.
Forest then added an extra body to their attacking armory, with Lyle Taylor replacing Luke Freeman, with the Reds coming inches away from finding an equaliser on 72 minutes.
Lolley, as he did when scoring the winner on Saturday, cut inside onto his left-foot before firing an effort onto the post.
The Reds made another change moments later, bringing on Harry Arter for Colback with Matt Olosunde also replacing Jamie Lindsay for the visitors.
Forest continued to apply pressure. Cyrus Christie had a powerful effort stopped by Jamal Blackman, who was keeping his side in the lead with some fine goalkeeping.
But the Reds weren’t kept out for much longer.
A cute flick by Lolley sent Grabban in behind the Millers’ defence. His cutback found Ameobi, who calmly fired the ball into the bottom corner. A breakthrough for Forest, and a long-awaited equaliser.
Lolley nearly created another goal moments later, with a glorious chance being presented to Grabban. Lolley threaded the ball through to the forward, who rounded the goalkeeper and had the goal at his mercy.
The experienced striker could only find the side-netting from a tight angle, though, squandering a massive opportunity to put Forest into the lead.
After a tense end to the game for Rotherham and loads of pressure from the hosts, Harry Arter fired high and wide from 20 yards in the dying embers of the contest, and that was to be that.
Forest had created plenty of chances over the course of the 94 minutes, but the Reds were wasteful and squandered numerous opportunites.
They were made to rue those missed chances, as Rotherham secured a good point on the road.