Sean O’Driscoll’s Nottingham Forest side left Selhurst Park with a point on Tuesday evening despite producing a below par performance in a match that saw the Reds reduced to ten men for the last half an hour.
The hosts started the game well and the Reds struggled to find any real foothold in the match with the Eagles being denied by the woodwork in the opening stages before Forest goalkeeper Lee Camp was called into action numerous times after Palace laid siege on the visitor’s goal.
After a goalless first half Dougie Freedman’s side continued to apply the pressure when the teams emerged from the tunnel for the second period with the Reds looking unusually disorderly all over the field.
And just five minutes after the restart Palace went ahead when South African midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi netted with a looping header over Camp.
However, despite losing Adlene Guedioura following a second yellow card for a kick out at Eagles’ skipper Mile Jedinak, Forest managed to hit a late equaliser through substitute Dexter Blackstock who prodded home nine minutes from time to keep his side unbeaten this season.
Highly-rated winger Wilfried Zaha caused the Reds problems from the first minute and the pacey midfielder was involved in the build-up of Palace’s first chance early-on. The England Under-21 international swept a ball into the box for Glenn Murray whose header crashed against the upright.
And when Forest lost possession due to a mistake from defender Sam Hutchinson Camp was called upon to make a diving save to deny young Welshman Jonathan Williams. And soon after the Northern Ireland number one was at full stretch again as he denied Jedinak’s shot from range.
As the whistle blew for the second period the Eagles began as they had ended the first – on the front foot. And they soon got the goal they had been threatening to score when Williams struck a dangerous corner into the box for Dikgacoi to rise and head over Camp.
Reds midfielder Lewis McGugan looked to get Forest back into the game immediately but his effort from the edge of the area was closed down well by the Palace defence who continued to be resolute.
And with 27 minutes left on the clock things went from bad to worse for O’Driscoll’s men as Guedioura was sent off following a kick aimed at Jedinak right in front of referee Iain Williamson after a soft free-kick had been awarded to the hosts.
The Reds boss then brought on Blackstock in place of Southampton loanee Billy Sharp and the former QPR man showed the decision was the right one as he struck home a leveller on 81 minutes.
Simon Cox, who was the hero for Forest at the weekend, turned on the edge of the box before finding Blackstock who poked the ball coolly past Eagles shot-stopper Julian Speroni to make it all square.
And in a dramatic finish to the game Camp was on hand for one last time to produce a stunning point-blank save to prevent defender Peter Ramage from winning it for the hosts.
The Reds remain unbeaten and in 6th position in the Championship table with 10 points; they face a tough test next with a trip to Elland Road to play Leeds United on Saturday 22nd September. Kick-off is at 3pm.
Nottingham Forest: Camp, Halford, Ayala, Collins(c), Hutchinson (Guedioura, 40), McGugan (Majewski, 79), Gillett, Reid, Harding, Cox, Sharp (Blackstock, 73).
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Dikgacoi (Parr, 67), Garvan, Jedinak(c), Zaha, Murray, Williams (Bolasie, 56), Moxey (Moritz, 84), Delaney, Ramage.
Man of the match (Forest): Lee Camp.
Referee: Iain Williamson.
Attendance: 13,153 – (1,812 away fans).