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Forest leave it late as Rotherham held at City Ground

Nottingham Forest v Rotherham United – Sky Bet Championship – The City Ground
(Image credit: Scott Wilson)

Rotherham’s record of not having won at the City Ground since 1955 continues but for long spells of the 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest it looked as though they might end their hoodoo.

It was entirely against the run of play when Daniel Barlaser put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot six minutes into the second half.

But Rotherham, who were without boss Paul Warne in the dugout as he isolated because of coronavirus, held out until the 79th minute when Sammy Ameobi finally broke their stoic resolve with a close-range finish.

Lewis Grabban should have won it for Chris Hughton in his second game in charge but fired wide after rounding the keeper.

Cyrus Christie prodded a shot wide with his right foot when he might have been better using his left, crosses from Ameobi and Joe Lolley both came within a whisker of carving out a golden chance for Grabban and when the ball rebounded to Ryan Yates he fired the wrong side of the upright.

It was a close game but Forest were looking the more likely to break the deadlock. Rotherham’s first meaningful effort did not come until the 27th minute when Mickel Miller curled wide from the edge of the box.

The first half was one of few chances for either side, amid a game that was peppered with a huge amount of niggling, scrappy free-kicks.

It took five minutes of the second half for the visitors to take the lead from the penalty spot. It did look to be a clear foul when Christie brought down Miller, even if referee Stephen Martin took his time about making the decision.

But Barlaser was unwavering in his finish, as he lifted the ball high into the corner of the net to put Rotherham in front with their first on-target effort of the game.

Scott McKenna had a header blocked in the goalmouth as Forest looked for an immediate response. Yates planted a diving header against the bar, having been picked out by Nicholas Ioannou.

Grabban saw Jamal Blackman make a smart save at his feet and, when the ball span loose, Luke Freeman could not find a gap through to goal.

Forest were denied by the woodwork for a second time after Lolley had twisted and turned on the right side, before hitting a low shot that bounced away cruelly.

Forest finally made their pressure count in the 79th minute, following good work from Grabban, who rampaged into space down the right side before cutting the ball into the centre for Ameobi to stroke home from a few yards out.

Grabban could and should have won it for Forest but, after rounding keeper Blackman, he fired into the side netting, which perfectly summed up Forest’s night.