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      Report: Palace held by Forest at the City Ground

      Nottingham Forest
      Wood 61'
      Crystal Palace
      Mateta 11'

      Jean-Philippe Mateta’s early goal was cancelled out by Chris Woods’ second-half header as Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest drew for a third consecutive time in the Premier League.


      • One change for Palace as Henderson replaces injured Johnstone
      • Mateta finishes off fine team move after 10 minutes
      • Eze forces Sels into stretching save moments later
      • Forest press hard for an equaliser but Eagles hold firm
      • Origi has effort blocked and Sangaré curls over from distance
      • Counter-attack sees Eze denied one-on-one by Sels
      • HT: Forest 0-1 Palace
      • Eze bends wide following clever set-piece with Wharton
      • Henderson denies Hudson-Odoi at the other end
      • Wood’s improvised header draws Forest level on the hour mark
      • Palace rally as Eze is denied by Sels once more
      • Henderson denies Danilo drive from range
      • Williams heads against own post in final minute
      • FT: Forest 1-1 Palace

      Following a three-week break in competitive fixtures, the Eagles were seeking a first away win over Nottingham Forest since 2011; the hosts were the team Palace had faced most often in the Premier League without ever winning.

      Having come within seconds of clinching victory against Luton Town at Selhurst Park before the break, Oliver Glasner named an unchanged outfield team, with only goalkeeper Sam Johnstone withdrawn through injury. In goal went Dean Henderson, fittingly, upon his return to Forest.

      A fiery atmosphere awaited Palace at the City Ground, where Forest – in their first game since a four-point deduction was imposed for breaching the Premier League's Profit & Sustainability Rules – had the backing of a vociferous home support.

      It was little surprise then that the game started in somewhat scrappy fashion, with Forest seeing lots of the ball, but Palace the more potent threat on the counter-attack.

      When the breakthrough arrived after 10 minutes, it was a team move of real quality from the Eagles; a long ball forwards was intercepted by Joel Ward on the halfway line, who played it to Jefferson Lerma. His eye-of-the-needle through ball released Ebere Eze in behind – and the playmaker had the presence of mind to not rush his shot, instead squaring for Jean-Philippe Mateta to lash home his third goal in his last four matches.

      It could have been two just moments later when Daniel Muñoz – influential throughout the first-half – popped up on the left and won a free-kick off his marker. Eze curled in a high, swinging delivery which momentarily looked to have found the far top corner – Matz Sels got back to divert it over with an outstretched hand.

      What followed was a spell of sustained Forest pressure, the hosts continuously working the ball into wide positions, forcing the likes of Muñoz, Tyrick Mitchell and Joachim Andersen to make a number of impressive blocks and defensive headers.

      The closest Forest came to a first-half equaliser was when one such move saw Divock Origi drift into half-a-yard of space inside the box, but his effort was charged down by Mitchell, before Ibrahim Sangaré curled over from distance.

      And Palace perhaps ought to have gone into the break with a two-goal lead; Adam Wharton curled an outstanding through ball between two defenders for Eze to race onto, but, one-on-one with Sels, he could not quite place his finish far enough away from the onrushing goalkeeper, and the danger passed.

      When play resumed for the second-half, another golden opportunity arose for Palace – and it was the same combination of players. An inventive set-piece, straight from the training ground, saw Eze play a one-two with Wharton and race into the box. Unmarked, albeit from a tight angle, his curling finish was round Sels – but also agonisingly wide of the far post.

      From a similar position moments later, Callum Hudson-Odoi – a threat for Forest all afternoon – managed to skip inside Muñoz and into the box, but Henderson did well to get two fists to his strike and punch the ball clear.

      Sadly, Forest’s very next attack was one of real quality, and drew them level. A chipped ball forwards from Gibbs-White for Chris Wood was cute, but still needed some work to turn into a goal; somehow, the New Zealand striker arched his back and flicked the ball with his header up and over Henderson to bring his team level.

      What followed, perhaps surprisingly, was a spell of sustained Palace pressure – and once again, it culminated in a fine Matz Sels save.

      With Eze collecting the ball back to goal in the corner of the Forest box, little seemed on, but a brilliant turn, skip between two tackles and drive into the area saw the ball break to substitute Jeffrey Schlupp six yards from goal.

      He was dispossessed and the ball came back out to Eze – but as he looked to beat a sea of bodies in the goalmouth, the England international was again denied by Sels’ outstretched hand.

      With 20 minutes left to go, it was difficult to predict in which direction momentum would swing next – although Forest did test Henderson from distance through Danilo’s drive.

      The goalkeeper put in an impressive display overall, being forced to punch clear under severe pressure on several occasions – but more than rising to the challenge.

      And true to the pattern of the game, Palace came closest to finding a winner in the dying seconds, an in-swinging corner from Eze receiving an inadvertent near-post flick from Neco Williams’ – agonisingly, the ball sailed across the line and hit the frame of the goal, before bouncing clear.

      Six minutes of added time followed, but neither team could fashion another clear opportunity – and for the second time this season, their points were shared.

      Palace: Henderson (GK), Muñoz, Ward, Richards, Andersen, Mitchell (Clyne, 90+4), Lerma, Wharton (Hughes, 79), Eze, Ayew (Schlupp, 65), Mateta.

      Subs: Matthews (GK), Tomkins, Ozoh, Ahamada, Umeh, Mathurin.

      Forest: Sels (GK), Williams, Felipe, Murillo, Aina (Toffolo, 85), Yates, Sangaré (Elanga, 45), Origi (Reyna, 60), Gibbs-White, Hudson-Odoi, Wood.

      Subs: Turner (GK), Dominguez, Danilo, Montiel, Omobamidele, Ribeiro.

      As It Happened