The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By John Brind­ley

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.”

PIC­TURES:Ac­tion Images

UN­LUCKY: Not­ting­ham For­est's Matty Fry­att nets be­fore the goal is dis­al­lowed for off­side

BACK ON TERMS: Leeds cel­e­brate their equal­is­ing goal

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