PNE 1 Nottingham Forest 1
Britt Assombalonga opened the scoring midway through the first half poking home after a Forest break with pace from their own defensive third.
But PNE’s on loan Irishman scored another superb goal from outside the box to level matters and to share the spoils.
The Lilywhites, with just one change from the side that drew at Blackburn Rovers two weeks previously, started brightly and Paul Gallagher – the man into the side in place of Daniel Johnson, saw a shot deflected from 25 yards, after lay off from Aiden McGeady, the ball looping just over the bar off Eric Lichaj.
Looking for his sixth goal in five games, Tom Barkhuizen’s pace took him clean through in the sixth minute. He took the ball to the right of the goal but and fired low, only for Jordan Smith to save with his legs, as ball looked to be going through them. Moments later Jordan Hugill went down the left and had a curling shot from 20 yards that landed on the roof of the net.
But the opener came at the half’s mid-point as a quick break from the back that saw David Vaughan feed Zach Clough, who put the ball wide for Assombalonga, who raced into the box and fired home with their first shot on target with his right toe, into the bottom left hand corner.
On the stroke of half-time the Lilywhites were pleased to be going in just one behind as Chris Maxwell made a brilliant save to deny 17-year-old Ben Brereton who went clean through one-on-one with the North End keeper, but the No.22 stayed tall and spread himself to make a superb and vital stop.
Half-time saw a change in formation and personnel with Horgan and Boyle replaced by Robinson and a returning Alex Baptiste, with a switch to 3-5-2; Cunningham and Barkhuizen operating down the flanks.
And the teams were level seven minutes after the changes. Referee Darren Bond allowed a good play on and Robinson did brilliantly to break inside past two defenders before sliding it to the Irishman, who took one step inside before drilling the ball into the bottom left hand corner from the edge of the box.
Robinson with a run and a shot and Paul Huntington with a header both tested Smith in the Forest goal as the game entered the final 20 minutes, but both sides had to settle for the draw.
PNE line-up: Maxwell, Clarke (c), Cunningham, Pearson, Boyle (Baptiste, 46), Huntington, Horgan (Robinson, 46), Gallagher (Browne, 84), Barkhuizen, Hugill, McGeady. Subs not used: Lindegaard, Browne, Beckford, Spurr, May.
Nottingham Forest line-up: Smith, Lichaj, Pinillos, Cohen (c), Assombalonga (Vellios, 73), Osborn, Fox, Clough (Cash, 73), Vaughan, Worrall, Brereton (Ward, 62). Subs not used: Evtimov, Mancienne, Tshibola, Carayol.
Attendance: 12,459 (1,539 Nottingham Forest fans)
Referee: Mr D Bond
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