FRY DAY RUINED BY LINO’S FLAG
FOREST boss Stuart Pearce was convinced Matty Fryatt should have walked away with the matchball instead of a hard luck story from his side’s lively draw with Leeds.
Fryatt was twice denied by the offside flag as well as getting the goal which did give the hosts a useful lead in first-half injury time.
Yet the visitors, who had chances of their own, claimed a hard-earned point courtesy of a spot kick from former Forest striker Billy Sharp.
Pearce said: “I’ve got to be frustrated because we’ve scored three perfectly good goals and only one has counted.
“For a second week in a row we’ve drawn when we think we should have won.
“There is still a nervousness in our play and a lack of composure stops us from taking a game by the scruff of the neck.
“I want to see more character when we have the ball and that will come because we have good footballers and good athletes in this team.
“We have made opportunities and we have to continue to try to improve.
“It was purely a judgement call on my part to leave out Britt Assombalonga. Dexter Blackstock had done well and Britt is still a young striker learning his trade.
“The lads have worked hard in midweek on a new formation and generally it worked well.”
Pearce opted for a three-man defence with Michael Mancienne taking the defensive midfield role with Assombalonga’s demotion to the bench a clear surprise.
But it was fellow striker Fryatt who should have won it for Forest.
Replays showed the decision to rule out his deflection of Michail Antonio’s 22nd-minute shot was very debatable but there was no question over his fisrt-half injury-time effort from equally close range when Mancienne was allowed a free header from Henri Lansbury’s right wing corner.
The former Hull striker was then denied a winner midway through the second half when he was again ruled offside. Replays again indicated that Pearce and Fryatt had cause to complain.
Leeds could have been ahead themselves inside the opening 15 minutes as Alex Mowatt saw a shot deflected just wide before Karl Darlow did superbly to deny Mirco Antenucci and watched gratefully as Jason Pearce missed a highly acceptable rebound.
United’s equaliser followed a driving run from full-back Sam Byram who was sent crashing in the penalty area by Danny Fox.
Sharp, who had an industrious and effective game on his return to Nottingham, emphatically drove past Darlow to level up the scores.
Silvestri then made thrilling saves from Robert Tesche, Henri Lansbury and Antonio during a brief spell when the flying winger threatened to run riot.
But Forest also had to rely on Darlow for two more fine saves, firstly from a Sharp volley and later from substitute Soulleymane Doukara.
Four minutes of injury time could not produce a winner with Assombalonga nodding an Antonio cross just wide.
And Leeds manager Neil Redfearn was left to praise his players after a hard-earned point against Pearce’s men.
“My players were excellent,” he said. “We have applied ourselves, competed and fully deserved to keep a cleansheet up to half-time.
“I told them at the interval they had been very good and to come out upbeat and on the front foot and that is what they did.
“Byram has done very well to win the penalty and I’m pleased for Billy who has worked very hard to frustrate Forest.
“We are moving in the right direction. We’ve been producing good results at home and now can turn the draws into wins on our travels.”
UNLUCKY: Nottingham Forest's Matty Fryatt nets before the goal is disallowed for offside
BACK ON TERMS: Leeds celebrate their equalising goal