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EFL Championship

City Ground

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Ref: Andy Woolmer

Matchday

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On the back of successive home victories, Jonathan Woodgate’s youngsters have been showing good form and character, and they again dug deep into their resolve to pick up a point against the Championship’s fifth placed side.

Frustratingly, the head coach was forced into making yet another enforced change due to injury with Britt Assombalonga the victim of a crude challenge from Darren Pratley during the weekend win against Charlton, but he was able to welcome McNair back from suspension to bolster the midfield.

Up against an expectant, if unusually quiet, City Ground crowd and a Forest side who are looking to cement their status among the Play-Off pack, it was no surprise that the hosts started on the front foot.

Good blocks by Adam Clayton and Daniel Ayala kept the home side at bay and Ryan Yates failed to capitalise on a couple of good deliveries into the box.

But Boro weathered a lot of pressure and grew into the contest. Ashley Fletcher denied by Brice Samba after a good cross from Hayden Coulson and Jonny Howson tried his luck from 30 yards with a shot which went over the top.

There was more good play with Marcus Tavernier delivering a decent cross before Fletcher’s knock-back into the six-yard box was cleared, but Forest were always a threat and Lewis Grabban had a chance before the break, but couldn’t apply the finishing touch.

Aynsley Pears saved well from Sammy Ameobi at the start of the second period after a ball from deep caught Boro out, but Samba was also called upon in the Forest goal to make a terrific reaction save to deny McNair, who cut in from the right to work himself the opening.

Yates responded by rattling the crossbar, and moments later he made no mistake when he headed home a cross to give Forest the lead midway through the second period.

Boro responded strongly again, McNair driving another shot in, and with 10 minutes to go, the Northern Irishman was involved again when he fed Marvin Johnson with a delightful ball only for the striker to be felled inside the box.

And McNair it was who a stepped to convert the penalty himself to level matters with 10 minutes remaining.