Alex McLeish impressed by Nottingham Forest's character


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The Independent Football

The new Nottingham Forest manager, Alex McLeish, was encouraged as he watched his side recover to rescue a point in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace at the City Ground on Saturday. After Billy Sharp netted a late equaliser, Sean O'Driscoll's successor said: "They could easily have put their heads down after Palace had taken the lead again in the last 10 minutes but they fought right to the death and that shows great character.

"I was delighted with the crowd, too. They appreciated what the players were doing and I think the excitement they created gave the fans the impetus to roar us on."

A 3-1 home defeat to managerless Blackburn saw Barnsley fall to the bottom of the Championship table, with manager Keith Hill sacked soon afterwards. General manager Don Rowing said: "Keith and his assistant Dave Flitcroft have given their all and played some attractive football. Keith was very disappointed but this was a decision made by the board and not by one man."

Goals from Joshua King and Ruben Rochina put the visitors in control at Oakwell and Jordan Rhodes sealed the win for Rovers, who parted company with Henning Berg in midweek, after Stephen Dawson had pulled a goal back.

The Yorkshire derby between Huddersfield and Sheffield Wednesday finished goalless, but was not short of controversy. Simon Grayson, the Huddersfield manager, lamented referee Mick Russell's "staggering" decision to not send off Jeremy Helan, despite booking the Wednesday winger twice. "As we came off the pitch he came to me to apologise for the error he made," Grayson said. "I think he's probably written the wrong number down in his book, which is staggering." The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) confirmed that it will conduct an investigation.

The Cardiff assistant manager, David Kerslake, denied his team were fortunate after Rudy Gestede's early goal clinched a 1-0 home win over Millwall to keep them five points clear at the summit.

"Not at all," Kerslake said. "We started exceptionally well. We had a really high tempo in the first 25 minutes, got at them and scored the early goal."