Ameobi brace un­able to get For­est over the line

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Subject - By John Percy at the City Ground

It has been more than 20 years since they last op­er­ated in the Pre­mier League, so Not­ting­ham For­est know all about do­ing it the hard way.

Sabri Lamouchi is the lat­est man­ager charged with end­ing that painful ex­ile and For­est are still wait­ing to be cer­tain of se­cur­ing their place in the play-offs, for the first time since 2011.

This was another topsy-turvy en­counter which per­fectly cap­tured the crazy world of the Cham­pi­onship, with a draw tak­ing For­est five points clear of sev­enth-placed Mill­wall

with two games left to play. Vic­tory would have con­firmed Lamouchi a play-off berth but there is still work to do, as Swansea’s own hopes of gate­crash­ing the party will also have to wait.

Lamouchi said: “It was one more point and we will keep be­liev­ing un­til the end. We wanted the win to se­cure the play-off, but it was im­pos­si­ble tonight.

“Our sea­son is good for the mo­ment and we want to get the max­i­mum points we can. This was a very strange game but we showed a pos­i­tive re­ac­tion.”

Swansea are only three points adrift of the play-off places yet this will feel like a missed op­por­tu­nity for Steve Cooper, the club’s man­ager.

Af­ter los­ing at the death to Leeds last week­end, this was a game they ar­guably needed to win and they are set to be with­out de­fender Kyle Naughton for the fi­nal two games af­ter he was dis­missed for a crude lunge on For­est sub­sti­tute Alex Mighten late on.

Swansea started bril­liantly and the open­ing goal af­ter eight min­utes was in­evitable, with Liver­pool loa­nee Rhian Brew­ster strik­ing a won­der­ful, left-footed shot into the top cor­ner from 12 yards.

It was Brew­ster’s ninth goal in 18 ap­pear­ances for Swansea and fur­ther proof of his grow­ing rep­u­ta­tion, a fin­ish dis­play­ing ex­pert tech­nique.

Yet For­est fought back and lev­elled in the 20th minute, against the run of play, with a sub­lime curl­ing ef­fort from Sammy Ameobi, the winger.

Ameobi was inches away from adding a sec­ond three min­utes be­fore half-time, with Lamouchi sink­ing to his knees in frus­tra­tion as the ball rolled wide of the far post.

Swansea re­stored their ad­van­tage on the stroke of the in­ter­val, af­ter An­dre Ayew was brought down by Ryan Yates. Ayew stepped up to score from the spot.

Tele­vi­sion re­plays ap­peared to show Yates’s chal­lenge was out­side the area, and it was not the fi­nal de­ci­sion of ref­eree Oliver Lang­ford to in­fu­ri­ate both man­agers. Lang­ford’s per­for­mance was poor and fur­ther proof of the de­clin­ing stan­dards in ref­er­ee­ing out­side the Pre­mier League.

In an open, en­ter­tain­ing but nig­gly con­test, Ameobi drew For­est level 10 min­utes into the sec­ond half with a fine low strike from 25 yards. The home team were now in con­trol and Naughton’s red mist de­scended in the 82nd minute with a dread­ful stamp on Mighten, but For­est could not find a win­ner.

Cooper said: “To come here for one of the tough­est away games and lead twice, and not win, is in­cred­i­bly frus­trat­ing. The play­ers won’t need lift­ing up or mo­ti­vat­ing. It seems to be go­ing to the wire and we’re only look­ing up, not down. We’ve got to try and get six points and con­cen­trate on our­selves, and then hope­fully sneak in if we can. We’re not giv­ing up.” Not­ting­ham For­est (4-1-4-1) Samba; Jenk­in­son, Figueiredo (Daw­son 76), Wor­rall, Ribeiro; Watson; Ameobi (Mighten 77) Sow (Silva 56), Yates (Di­akhaby 89), Da Costa (Lol­ley 76); Grab­ban. Subs Smith (g), Bo­s­tock, Darikwa, John­son. Booked Sow, Figueiredo, Jenk­in­son, Silva.

Swansea (4-4-2) Mul­der; Roberts, Naughton, Van der Hoorn (Ca­bango 63), Guehi; Ful­ton (Celina 70), Gal­lagher (By­ers 86), Grimes, Bid­well; Ayew, Brew­ster (Gar­rick 86). Subs Gould (g), Dyer, Routledge, Dhanda, Cullen. Booked Gal­lagher, By­ers. Sent off Naughton. Ref­eree Oliver Lang­ford (West Mid­lands).

Make it a dou­ble: Sammy Ameobi equalises for the sec­ond time with a low shot from out­side the box

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