Brighton held on to fourth place with a hard earned draw against Nottingham Forest. Having taken the lead just after the hour through Sam Vokes, the Seagulls went down to 10 men after Matt Sparrow saw his second yellow card of the game and in the 94th minute, former Albion defender Joel Lynch haunted his old club with a well deserved equalizer for Forest.
After Forest’s 7-3 thrashing of Leeds, most were expecting a very open game at the City Ground, but neither keeper were tested in the first half. Forest hit the post from a free kick and Brighton only seemed to threaten when former Spanish international Vicente Rodriguez had the ball at his feet. Forest however, were equal to his excellent crosses and set piece deliveries.
Forest started the game the brightest, four goal hero McCleary had the first chance of the game, but a solid Albion defence forced a corner which was claimed by Brezovan at the second attempt. Brighton then were able to play their own game and maintained possession well in the first 10 minutes.
Good link up play from Vokes and Inigo Calderon lead to Vicente finding the ball at his feet, but his cutting pass to Ashley Barnes was poorly controlled by the striker and Forest were able to clear their lines.
Sam Vokes was then caught in possession on the halfway line by Moussi, who must still have been thinking he was at Elland Road as he dispatched a 45 yard strike which fortunately didn’t draw any blushes from Brezovan and went way wide of the post.
Brighton then won a free kick midway into the Forest half. Vicente’s once again floated in an excellent delivery to pick out Ashley Barnes who headed the ball down towards the feet of strike partner Vokes, but the Welsh international was unable to turn to face goal and Forest were able to clear their lines.
In the second half, Albion finally made the breakthrough. Vicente notched his 9th assist in 12 Albion appreances. His free kick timed perfectly with Sam Vokes’ run to lose his marker, allowed him the space to nod the ball past the on rushing Forest keeper. Brighton first attempt on target.
Forest looked to reply quickly but were consigned to several long range efforts. Adlene Guedioura’s speculative effort was punched away by Brezovan. The big Slovakian also reacted well from a Gareth McCleary effort, diving low to parry the ball behind for a corner. Guedioura was then given the space to fire another long range effort towards goal. A swerving thunderbolt strike smashed against the base of the lest hand post with Brezovan beaten.
Forest then hit the bar for the third time in the match. Joel Lynch had a shot blocked before a goal mouth scramble lead to Forest effort being deflected off the post then cleared behind by the Albion defense for a corner.
Shortly after coming on to replace Kazenga Lualua, Sparrow received his first of two yellow cards for a harsh challenge on Greg Cunningham. Then, in the first minute of added time, received his marching orders. Guedioura once again was causing the Albion problems and was brought down by Sparrow as he look to break through the midfield. The referee rightly showed a second yellow and then the red as Sparrow was sent off for the second time this season.
In the fourth of five minutes added on, Forest deservedly got their equalizer. The team flooded forwards and were firing balls into the box at every opportunity desperate for a point. Eventually, a cross into the box found Joel Lynch who got the better of Brezovan from close range to snatch a well deserved draw.
Nottingham Forest - 01 Camp, 03 Cunningham (McGugan – 88′), 04 Chambers Booked, 16 Gunter, 33 Lynch, 11 Reid, 19 Moussi, 22 Guedioura, 28 Majewski (Tudgay – 71′), 12 McCleary (Miller – 82′), 23 Blackstock.
Subs - 21 Smith, 02 Wootton, 10 McGugan, 09 Miller, 20 Tudgay.
Brighton - 01 Brezovan, 02 Mattock, 03 Greer, 05 Dunk, 14 Calderon ,08 Navarro, 15 Vicente (Razak – 78′), 25 LuaLua (Sparrow – 50′), 26 Bridcutt, 09 Barnes, 24 Vokes (Agdestein – 89′).
Subs - 16 Ankergren, 06 El-Abd, 10 Sparrow, 28 Razak, 23 Agdestein.