Football: Keane's final throw

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Arsenal. . . . . . . .1

Nottingham Forest. . .1

ROY KEANE kept Nottingham Forest alive, but only just, with an equaliser four minutes into injury time last night as Ian Wright, the executioner who also ended their ambitions in both cup competitions, prepared to administer the last rites.

Realistically, though, it must still be bye bye Forest and Brian Clough. He needs a miracle in the form of two final wins and a flood of goals to avert his first relegation in his distinguished managerial career. Even then, should Sheffield United take four points from their last three games, he would still go down.

Intriguingly, Forest next play United at the City Ground on Saturday week, May Day, and, seriously in distress, need all the assistance they can lay their hands on. Ideally, a team of Keanes would help, because from first to last he was their heart and soul last night.

However, Highbury took a less than sympathetic view of his Herculean efforts, and not just because of his characteristic burst through the defence to round David Seaman at the last. A fearsome second-half challenge led to Nigel Winterburn being carried off with damaged ankle ligaments, his anticipated place as England's left-back for next week's World Cup tie with the Netherlands in serious doubt.

'Nigel will have two days of intensive treatment, and the fact that he is a quick healer is in his favour,' the Arsenal manager, George Graham, said. 'He will easily be fit for the FA Cup final.' Graham Taylor, who was at Highbury, immediately added Martin Keown to his squad.

Graham made six changes from Sunday's Wembley winning team - and admitted his team showed 'after the Lord Mayor's Show' symptoms. Lee Dixon struck a post before half-time with the goal at his mercy, before Wright showed him how in the 68th minute for his 27th of the season, and fifth in all against Forest.

Arsenal: Seaman; Dixon, Winterburn (Adams, 57), Selley, Linighan, Keown, Jensen, Wright, Smith, Parlour (Campbell, 76), Carter. Substitute not used: Miller (gk).

Nottingham Forest: Marriott; Laws, Williams, Glover, Tiler, Keane, Black, Gemmill, Clough, Rosario (Stone, 76), Woan. Substitutes not used: Chettle, Crossley (gk).

Referee: M Bodenham (Looe, Cornwall).