Nottingham Forest, Everton battle to entertaining draw
Nottingham Forest and Everton played to a gusty, entertaining draw at the City Ground as both teams remain embroiled in the relegation scrap.
FULL MATCH REPLAY
Everton twice took the lead in the first half through a Demarai Gray penalty kick and Abdoulaye Doucoure’s header but Brennan Johnson equalized in each half as Forest dug deep to grab a point in a scrappy encounter.
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Steve Cooper’s side are without a win in four but they remain four points above the relegation zone on 26.
Sean Dyche’s Everton occupy the final relegation spot as they have 22 points.
A missed opportunity for the Toffees
2-1 up away from home and looking pretty comfortable, Everton switched off and were made to pay. Would they have taken a draw at Forest before this game? Probably. But not after it. Dyche set his team up really well to be dangerous with midfield runners and Doucoure, Iwobi and Onana all had a big impact on the game as Demarai Gray gave them an outlet up top. Forest didn’t really have to push hard for either equalizer as Johnson’s extra quality in attack saw them score twice. Both teams showed why they can stay out of the relegation zone at the end of the season but we also saw plenty of reasons why they might be in it. Dyche is getting Everton back to where they should be but there’s still a lack of confidence as they had this win within their grasp but let it slip.
Stars of the show; Nottingham Forest vs Everton player ratings
Brennan Johnson: Two goals and the second was a beauty. So calm in the box when chances fall his way.
Abdoulaye Doucoure: Driving runs from midfield gave Forest so many problems and popped up to score. His resurgence continues.
Alex Iwobi: His runs from midfield were superb too and he worked so hard defensively. He was everywhere.
Nottingham Forest head to Tottenham on Saturday March 11 at 10am ET, while Everton host Brentford at the same time.
How to watch Nottingham Forest vs Everton live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 9 am ET, Sunday TV channel: USA Network Online: Stream via NBCSports.com
FULL TIME - Nottingham Forest 2-2 Everton: What a proper relegation battle that was. And you know what, a draw is about right. Everton didn’t make the most of being ahead and Forest worked hard to get back in the game and took their chances.
So close to a third for Forest! Johnson curls one just wide of the far post after some sustained pressure for the hosts. They are flying now.
GOALLLL! Brennan Johnson with a lovely finish for his second of the game and Forest are level with just over 10 minutes to go. Just when Everton looked like they were going to power to a big win. Game on at the City Ground! Nottingham Forest 2-2 Everton.
Everton looking pretty comfortable here and they are in control. Forest have made plenty of changes but they have yet to get going in the second half. Final 15 minutes coming up. Huge for both teams.
A very combative start to the second half. Plenty of challenges flying in and both teams have been involved in multiple scuffles. The stakes are high.
HALF TIME - Nottingham Forest 1-2 Everton: What a wild first half as an open game had plenty of chances at either end but Everton deserve to be ahead. Can Forest fight back in the second half? They have to improve defensively because Everton’s midfield runners are causing chaos.
CHANCE! Big opportunity on the break for Everton as Doucoure does brilliantly down the left and his cross picks out Gray at the back post, but Gibbs-White blocks it.
What a game this has been so far. So open and both teams clearly going all out to grab a win which would be huge in their battles against relegation.
GOALLLLL! Just when it looked like Forest were on top, Everton go back in front. Doucoure heads home from close range after Tarkowski and Keane head a free kick towards goal. Nottingham Forest 1-2 Everton.
GOALLLL! Nottingham Forest are level. Morgan Gibbs-White with a lovely give and go with Chris Wood and his shot was pushed out by Jordan Pickford but the rebound falls straight to Brennan Johnson and he tucks it home. Nottingham Forest 1-1 Everton. What a start at the City Ground!
Forest have finally woken up a little. The home fans are roaring them on but Everton are holding firm defensively. What a start to this game for Sean Dyche’s side. Exactly what they needed.
GOALLLL! Demarai Gray slots home the penalty kick as Keylor Navas goes the wrong way. Gray enjoyed that goal. The former Leicester player gives it some to the Forest fans behind the goal. Nottingham Forest 0-1 Everton.
PENALTY KICK! Jonjo Shelvey clips Dwight McNeil in the box and it is a penalty kick to Everton. Shelvey just mistimed his tackle as the ball dropped to McNeil. Huge moment.
Really bright start from Everton here! They are whipping in crosses and Forest can’t clear their lines.
Key storylines & star players
Even when Nottingham Forest win, as they have on six occasions this season, one simple fact remains: they don’t score enough goals (18 on the season, in 24 games). Five of their six wins this season have come by a 1-0 scoreline, while being held scoreless 10 times (0W-1D-9L). Brennan Johnson has scored five Premier League goals this season and Taiwo Awoniyi has bagged four, but no one else has more than two league goals.
One club has scored fewer goals than Forest, though, and that is Everton (17). Speaking of 1-0 wins, three of Everton’s five victories on the season have come by the narrowest of margins, including both triumphs since Sean Dyche replaced Frank Lampard. The Toffees have scored multiple goals in a goal just twice this season and haven’t done so since Oct. 22 (13 games with six goals scored).
Nottingham Forest team news, injuries, lineup
OUT: Taiwo Awoniyi (groin), Scott McKenna (thigh), Willy Boly (thigh), Cheikhou Kouyate (thigh), Giulian Biancone (knee), Moussa Niakhate (thigh), Omar Richards (calf), Dean Henderson (thigh)
Everton team news, injuries, lineup
OUT: Nathan Patterson (fitness), Andros Townsend (knee), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (thigh), Vitalii Mykolenko (illness)