Nottingham Forest managed to pick a good point on Saturday holding promotion-chasing Bournemouth to a goalless draw at the City Ground as the Reds continued their good recent run of form.
The Reds headed into the contest looking to build on the back-to-back wins they picked up against Coventry City and Wycombe Wanderers, but this was always going be a much more difficult test for them. Bournemouth would have been buoyed by their FA Cup win and performance at Premier League Burnley in midweek and Forest did very well to restrict them throughout.
Chris Hughton’s side are starting to get into a positive rhythm and pick up some much-needed momentum and they will hope they can continue on with that over the next few weeks, as they aim to pull themselves well clear of any relegation danger.
Here is what we learnt about the Reds following their goalless draw against Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon…
Joe Worrall integral to Forest’s solidity
Worrall was a very notable absentee for the Reds after suffering a foot injury back in September during the 2-0 defeat at home against Cardiff City. Forest struggled defensively at times without the reliable presence of the 24-year-old but since he returned to fitness in December Hughton’s side have steadily become more difficult to defeat.
The centre-back delivered another excellent performance during the goalless draw against Bournemouth on Saturday, with Worrall managing to make a crucial block to deny a decent scoring chance for the Cherries in the second half. He also made three interceptions and three clearances to help keep the visitors at bay (Sofascore).
Forest have now suffered just one defeat in their last 11 matches and have also managed to keep three clean sheets in their last four Championship games and conceded just once in that time. Keeping Worrall fit will be crucial for Forest in terms of maintaining their recent solidity and positive run of form.
James Garner continues to impress
Garner has made a bright start to life at the City Ground since he arrived on loan from Manchester United late on in the winter window. The 19-year-old delivered an excellent performance in the 3-0 win at Wycombe and he continued along that with his display in the goalless draw against Bournemouth on Saturday.
The midfielder put himself about and was able to provide firm protection to the back four, with Garner managing to win five duels and make three interceptions and two tackles (Sofascore). Whilst he was also able to show his quality and composure in possession at times making two key passes.
The 19-year-old looks like he has gained some real confidence from his start at the City Ground and he will be hoping that he can continue that for the rest of the campaign. The midfielder does have something of a point to prove after the way his spell with Watford ended and Hughton looks to be getting the best out of him.
Hughton needs to be braver with his use of the bench
Arguably the only negative to come from the game was the lack of ambition the Reds showed in the closing stages to try and have a go at nicking all three points. Hughton’s side were maintaining a very solid shape and Bournemouth were beginning to look more and more frustrated as the second half wore on, and there might have been gaps on the counter-attack to exploit.
Hughton, though, made the decision to stick with what he had out on the field and did not make a single sub all match. That suggested that he was content with the point his side were looking likely to secure, but you can’t help wonder whether there might have been a winning goal in his side were they to have gone for it a bit more.
The Reds had the likes of Lyle Taylor, Lewis Grabban and Joe Lolley waiting in the wings, but they were all forced to watch on from the bench for the full 90 minutes. At times this season all of those three have lacked consistency, but they still have quality to offer and the potential to add more of a goal threat. Hughton will need to use his squad more you feel in the coming matches.