Fielding’s heroics not enough
FRANK Fielding saved a penalty taken by his old team-mate Lee Tomlin but could do nothing to prevent Bristol City’s slim playoff hopes from disappearing.
Their collapse in form since the turn of the year has been alarming. This was their 12th away game without a victory, a run stretching back to December.
They were lucky to emerge with a point from a match Forest dominated, with wide players Tomlin and Joe Lolley causing the visitors’ defence plenty of problems. Both tested Fielding but were unable to find a way through.
The first half was beset by a couple of long delays, with first Nathan Baker and then Lolley going down injured. The Bristol City centre-back was knocked out by a stinging shot and had to be substituted early on.
“That killed us a bit,” said City manager Lee Johnson. “We started the game quite well but after that incident we seemed to lose a little bit of that momentum and flow that we had. Forest were the stronger side between then and the end of the first half.
“We had to change it, just to solidify the midfield and make sure that we had an extra body in there because we weren’t retaining the ball well enough. We built our way back into the game a little bit then.”
Lolley was a constant threat for the home side. His inchperfect cross was headed over by Andreas Bouchalakis, and soon after he charged through the middle to trouble Fielding with a 20-yard drive as the City defence retreated.
Famara Diedhiou curled a shot wide at the other end but Forest were in the ascendancy and could have taken the lead through Adlene Guedioura.
Ben Osborn’s cross was met by the midfielder but he only succeeded in stabbing the ball wide. Lolley also had a shot deflected past the post as the home side failed to make their superiority count.
It was a similar tale in the second half, with sustained pressure from Forest, who couldn’t pick out the right pass after making it into some promising positions.
They were granted the clearest opportunity of the game as Osborn reached the ball ahead of Fielding and was taken down by the City goalkeeper. But he made amends in keeping out Tomlin’s tame penalty, which was struck low and marginally left of centre.
Chances were few and far between thereafter although the Robins had a goal ruled out for offside after Michael Mancienne was dispossessed by Bobby Reid. The ball squirmed through to Diedhiou, who rounded Stefanos Kapino to score before play was pulled back.
The game ended with an emotional send-off for Chris Cohen, as he was given a final run-out at the City Ground. His 11 years of service come to an end this summer after a long battle with injury.
“It could have been a perfect game to finish the season at home with,” said Forest manager Aitor Karanka. “We had a lot of chances, and we had a penalty, but we couldn’t score.
“But the main thing is that we played with different players and they performed really well. The attitude has been really good and it was really important to say goodbye to Chris Cohen on the pitch.”