In a repeat of 1964 North End earned a goalless draw at the City Ground and will do it all again at Deepdale on February 4th in order to earn a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup with Budweiser.
Manager Simon Grayson made two changes to the side that drew with Coventry the previous Saturday, one enforced, with Josh Brownhill in for Kevin Davies and Chris Humphrey also included, former Derby man Lee Holmes on the bench, with North End operating a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Joe Garner in attack on his own, matching up against the Championship promotion hopefuls.
The first half was am entertaining affair without too many clear cut chances for either side. The overly wet City Ground surface saw the ball zipping around with both sides happy and comfortable to keep it and pass it around and be patient in their efforts to break down their opponents.
Billy Davies’ side were the first to really test an opposition keeper, Declan Rudd needed eight minutes in to palm Simon Cox’s right footed drive over the bar, the frontman firing towards the top right hand corner from 12 yards out.
This early scare prompted the Lilywhites’ best spell of the first half. Some good passing on 13 minutes saw Paul Gallagher latching onto a pull back from Humphrey after a clever ball from skipper John Welsh inside the Forest left full back, but the No.12’s shot was well blocked by Danny Collins.
Two minutes later some more good passing and build-up by North End again gave Humphrey another chance to deliver a low ball in from the right hand side, however, the shooting opportunity was hooked just over by the bar by former Forest man Garner.
Seven minutes before the interval Scottish international forward Jamie Mackie shot wide from the right hand corner of the six yard box after good build up by Gonzalo Jara down right as Forest looked to use the flanks to open up a resolute yellow wall at the back for PNE.
Ten minutes into the second period with the rain still falling heavily Joe Garner hit a rasping drive from 25 yards just over the bar after a strong run into a right hand channel, Karl Darlow at full stretch due to the closeness to his goal.
Two minutes later and Darlow required two attempts to grab a low zipping effort from Paul Gallagher from a similar range, this time from the left hand side of the goal, the ball squirming away from the former Walsall loanee, only for him to quickly recover and grab the ball at the second attempt.
Gallagher again tested the Forest keeper on 63 minutes, a free kick on the right hand side whipped in, but the Reds No.1 was up to the test.
This came shortly after Billy Davies has shaken his pack, Abdoun and Henderson replacing Mackie and Cox to give the home side new attacking options for the final third of the fourth round tie.
With just less than 20 minutes left Lee Holmes replaced Chris Humphrey, whose hard work up and down the right hand side had been impressive for the yellows and he almost had an immediate impact, Darlow palming away his 25 yard strike that skipped up off the turf, forcing an excellent stop by the young stopper.
Iain Hume was also thrown into the mix as the game entered its final stages and he was the latest yellow shirted player to force Darlow into a save with seven minutes left, a low stop with the ball heading to the bottom right corner.
North End’s first corner was won by Lee Holmes with three minutes left and his own ball to the near post was met by the run of another sub Jack King, his header flashing over the bar from, 12 yards out.
King’s snap shot from the edge of the box after Gallagher’s knockdown again forced Darlow into a smart stop, palming the ball away – the home side’s custodian definitely the busier of the goalkeepers in the second period.
Three minutes was added on by Premier League official Mike Dean and in the final 30 seconds Forest had a corner and thrust men forward into the PNE box, but the Lilywhites broke upfield to earn a free kick 27 yards from goal – Josh Brownhill stepped up and fired one in, but again Darlow was up to it and earned his side a replay at Deepdale on February 4th.
Nottingham Forest line-up: Darlow, Lichaj, Collins, Reid, Mackie (Abdoun, 60), Halford, Jara, Paterson, Vaughan, Majewski (Derbyshire, 78), Cox (Henderson, 60). Subs not used: Harding, Moussi, Lascelles, De Vries.
PNE line-up: Rudd, Wiseman, Buchanan, Kilkenny (Hume, 83), Clarke, Wright, Humphrey (Holmes, 71), Welsh, Garner (King, 86), Brownhill, Gallagher. Subs not used: Stuckmann, Keane, Laird, Beavon.
Attendance: 26,465 (2,055 away fans)
Referee: Mr M Dean