Lewis Grabban goal earns Nottingham Forest share of spoils at Leeds United

Forest's Matty Cash battles with Leeds United's Mateusz Klich.
Forest's Matty Cash battles with Leeds United's Mateusz Klich.

A scruffy Lewis Grabban goal earned Forest an undeserved point at Leeds United in their first away game of the season.

Grabban poked home with 13 minutes to go to equalise for Forest in a game which the home side dominated in front of 35,453 fans at Elland Road.

An unmarked Liam Cooper heads the ball wide of Aro Muric's net.

An unmarked Liam Cooper heads the ball wide of Aro Muric's net.

Nottingham Forest head coach Sabri Lamouchi sprung a surprise before kick off as he named an unchanged starting line-up, despite four new signings in the week since the disappointing home defeat to West Brom, with goalkeeper Aro Muric retaining his place despite being at fault for both Albion goals.

Two of those new signings were on the bench as Carl Jenkinson and Brice Samba replaced academy graduates Jayden Richardson and Jordan Smith. The only other change on the bench saw Samba Sow, who signed just before the West Brom game, replace another academy graduate in Brennan Johnson, who had made his debut as a late substitute against the Baggies.

Deadline day signings Chema Rodriguez and John Bostock missed out on a place in the matchday 18.

Leeds were also unchanged from their impressive 3-1 opening day victory at Bristol City, meaning Forest academy graduate Patrick Bamford, a scorer at Ashton Gate, again led the line.

Forest head coach Sabri Lamouchi.

Forest head coach Sabri Lamouchi.

Barring goals, the first half was very much a continuation of Forest's opening day performance, as they sat back and invited the opposition onto them. That the score remained 0-0 at half-time was down to some excellent defending from Ben Watson, Joe Worrall and, particularly, skipper Michael Dawson.

Aro Muric did not have a save to make as they stood in the way of everything the home side threw at them as Leeds enjoyed 68 per cent possession in the first 45 minutes. The only time the back line was breached, Bamford stabbed his shot against the shaky Muric's near post.

At the other end, two promising breaks were brought back for fouls, on Joe Lolley and Tiago Silva respectively, while Lewis Grabban did have the ball in the net, but only after play had stopped for a foul by the striker as he tried to turn onto Jack Robinson's long throw - Forest's only real attacking tactic in the opening 45 minutes.

Forest started the second half with a higher press, creating a couple of half-chances as they caught Leeds in possession in their own half, while midfielder Samba Sow was brought on for his debut in place of Silva as the Reds looked for the away goal.

Elland Road, home of Leeds United FC.

Elland Road, home of Leeds United FC.

At the other end, Bamford's mishit volley bounced down and up against the bar in a crowded penalty area, before Forest's so-far resolute defence was finally breached on the hour mark.

As Worrall and Dawson awaited an offside flag against Bamford, the livewire Pablo Hernandez ran through and finished well one-on-one, lifting it over Muric and into the corner of the net.

It was no more than Leeds deserved, but the offside controversy left a bitter taste in the mouths of Forest fans after the Reds were denied all three points at Elland Road last season when Kemar Roofe punched a late equaliser into the net.

Sammy Ameobi replaced Albert Adomah before striker Rafa Mir was brought on for defensive midfielder Ben Watson as Forest went 4-4-2 in an attempt to get something from the game, but Leeds always looked the most likely to score the next goal.

But it was Forest who scored an unlikely and undeserved equaliser in the 77th minute. A strong run from Ameobi earned a left-wing corner, which Leeds failed to deal with and Grabban poked Mir's mishit shot in off the post from a yard out.

Leeds fans were incensed at the final whistle, feeling they had been denied several penalties during the game, but only one case looked a decent shout as Jack Robinson caught Stuart Dallas late on - although Forest fans could feel equally hard done-by by Kalvin Philips escaping with a yellow card for a horrible looking lunge on Silva in the first half.

However, for all their possession, Leeds, apart from their goal, failed to create any other clear-cut chances and Forest's defence - led by man-of-of-match Dawson - can be reasonably pleased with their first point of the season. Forest now just need to sort out the going forward side of their game...

Forest: Muric; Cash, Robinson, Worrall, Dawson (capt); Watson (Mir), Semedo, Silva (Sow); Lolley, Adomah (Ameobi), Grabban Subs not used: Samba, Ribeiro, Figueiredo, Jenkinson.