FOR­EST FIRE

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Colin Hen­rys

NEW boss Mark War­bur­ton was put through the wringer in his first Not­ting­ham For­est game, but ad­mit­ted the Reds’ last-minute draw with East Mid­lands ri­vals Derby taught him plenty about his play­ers.

Both War­bur­ton and new Derby boss Gary Rowett took charge of their re­spec­tive teams only in mid­week, and it was For­est who drew first blood when Zach Clough gave them a half­time lead.

Rowett tweaked his tac­tics in re­sponse, and looked like he would be cel­e­brat­ing a de­but win when Matej Vy­dra and David Nu­gent scored to turn the game on its head.

But Daniel Panil­los’ header, in the last-minute of stop­page time, en­sured a share of the spoils – and former Brent­ford and Rangers boss War­bur­ton says For­est’s char­ac­ter mer­ited the point.

He said: “You do learn more of your play­ers.

“You ask if the play­ers have the be­lief and de­sire to take the game by the scruff of the neck and push on, and they did.

“We showed some real tempo, and de­sire and qual­ity on the ball in the first-half, which was re­ally pleas­ing. The truth is we were sloppy at the start of the sec­ond­half.

“But most pleas­ing was the char­ac­ter the play­ers’ showed to get con­trol of the game again, and to get the re­wards so late was great for the play­ers.

“We would have been very up­set not to get some­thing out of the game. But they showed great char­ac­ter, came back, got the late reward and I thought we fully de­served it.”

It took just four min­utes for For­est to take the lead, when Clough took ad­van­tage of some sloppy Derby de­fend­ing to meet Pinil­los’ cross un­marked and slot in first time.

Tom Ince could have lev­elled on 26 min­utes, when Danny Fox was caught in pos­ses­sion playing out of de­fence, but failed to hit the tar­get when well-placed.

But a slight tac­ti­cal tweak at half-time paid im­me­di­ate div­i­dends for Rowett, as Johnny Rus­sell crossed for Vy­dra to turn in the equaliser on 47 min­utes.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

HEADS UP: Not­ting­ham For­est’s Daniel Pinil­los scores a late equaliser and, in­set, Derby's Matej Vy­dra scores their first goal

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