Nottingham Forest striker Simon Cox kept his cool to convert a contentious penalty as the Reds grabbed a point in a tense East Midlands derby against Leicester City on Saturday.
The fiery affair was brought to life when Foxes’ winger Lloyd Dyer’s shot was deflected in off Forest defender Elliott Ward to give the home side an early lead.
However, the visitors were back in the game 15 minutes later after a good move down the right made space for Cox to find Adlene Guedioura who fired home to make it all square.
Yet, soon after the hosts hit back as David Nugent scored with a neat lob over Reds’ shot-stopper Lee Camp before Forest were awarded a second-half penalty which levelled the scores.
It was a nervy start for both sides but it was Forest that had the first chance of note when veteran midfielder Andy Reid scuffed a shot wide of the goal early on.
But it was the home side that took the lead through Dyer when the winger showed his pace to work his way down the left before unleashing a strike that glanced off Ward to deceive Camp in the Forest goal.
After the goal the Reds remained threatening as they looked to find a route back into the game. Chris Cohen came close with his dangerous free-kick after Jeffrey Schlupp had brought down Brendan Moloney.
Forest then had an opportunity to equalise from another free-kick when Billy Sharp was felled 25-yards from goal – however Reid’s effort failed to go beyond the wall.
The Reds did manage to find an equaliser soon after when Cohen worked his way down the right before neatly playing in Cox on the byline – the frontman squared the ball for Guedioura who had made a run into the box to finish clinically in front of the travelling supporters.
After the goal Nigel Pearson’s men were not going to let their heads drop and continued to put pressure on the Forest defence from set-pieces. Martyn Waghorn drove in a threatening corner that the Reds eventually cleared.
The end-to-end action continued to ensue as Cohen fired an effort wide of the goal for the away side under pressure from the Foxes’ defence.
However, it was Leicester who took the upper hand with a superb goal. French winger Anthony Knockaert chipped a ball over to Nugent and the striker did the rest – guiding the ball over a backtracking Camp and into the net.
And the Foxes could have put the game to bed moments later when Dyer found himself one-on-one with Camp after Andy King had played in the winger – however he was unable to beat the rushing goalkeeper.
In the second period the Foxes began to build on their goal and looked stronger on the attack as the game began to tighten. They were inches away from scoring when Guedioura gave away possession before Waghorn’s shot was dramatically cleared off the line by Ward.
The Reds were struggling to find a foothold in the game but were given a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty after defender Zak Whitbread was adjudged to have fouled Sharp in the box.
Former West Brom striker Cox stepped up to calmly convert his spot-kick sending Foxes’ goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel the wrong way.
Leicester remained a goal threat after the equaliser and came close to scoring again when Waghorn’s ball into the box caused trouble in the Forest defence as Dyer’s shot hit Simon Gillett before being cleared off the line by Reid.
Despite some late pressure from the visitors the game ended level as Sharp was caught wrong-footed and volleyed over from a Greg Halford long throw late on.
Forest are now 11th in the Championship table and are just four points from the play-off positions. The Reds face strugglers Sheffield Wednesday in their next game at the City Ground on Saturday 17th November. Kick-off is at 3pm.
Leicester City: Schmeichel, De Laet, Drinkwater, Morgan (c), Whitbread, King, Dyer, Waghorn, Schlupp, Knockaert (Marshall, 77), Nugent (Lingard, 59).
Nottingham Forest: Camp, Moloney, Ward, Collins (c), Halford, Cohen, Guedioura (Jenas, 54), Gillett (Blackstock, 87), Reid (Lansbury, 80), Sharp, Cox.
Man of the match: Adlene Guedioura (Forest)
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Attendance: 24,793 (Away: 1,895)