Wolves extended their lead to three points at the top of the First Division – but their attempt to equal the Molineux club's record for consecutive league wins was foiled after they had gone in front twice last night at the City Ground, where Forest made the most of depleted resources to claim a worthy point.
Dean Sturridge and Joleon Lescott struck for Dave Jones's side but Andy Gray and Marlon Harewood responded for Forest, who finished so strongly that manager Paul Hart was disappointed not to have won. Harewood and Jack Lester had opportunities in the closing minutes, leaving Jones unsure whether his team had dropped two points or gained one.
Injuries and suspensions had cut savagely into Hart's squad and the line-up he put out had an average age of 22. Kevin Dawson was recalled for a first appearance in 18 months alongside David Prutton, the England Under-21 midfielder, who had to stand in at centre-back after last weekend's pairing both cried off injured.
Wolves went ahead after 10 minutes, the nippy striker Sturridge darting into the Forest penalty area to finish off a slick move involving Nathan Blake and Mohamed Camara in the confident manner to which Wolves fans have grown accustomed since the Leicester City discard moved to Molineux. The goal was his 18th in only 20 matches.
It provided justice of sorts after Sturridge had been denied what seemed a legitimate score for offside, despite complaints that Prutton had played the Wolves man onside. However, the rapid rush of goals threatened by this opening failed to come, the league leaders struggling to retain possession against a home side at least not short on enthusiasm.
Darren Ward pulled off the best save of the opening 45 minutes to deny Blake, but had Forest equalised before half-time it would not have been against the run of play. In fact, in a frenetic second half, Forest looked the better side.
Gray was the first to reward their endeavour, side-footing home his first goal in three and a half years at the club after Harewood's back-heel had set up Lester to cross low from the left. Lescott regained the lead for Wolves after a Blake cross was poorly defended but then Harewood restored parity, thumping the ball in off the underside of the bar after Matthieu Louis-Jean's driven cross had bounced to him off a Wolves defender.
Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Ward; Louis-Jean, Dawson, Prutton, Brennan; Gray, Bopp, Williams, Reid; Harewood, Lester. Substitutes not used: Jones, Roche (gk), Cash, Edds, Edwards.
Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-4-2): Oakes; Muscat, Butler, Lescott, Camara; Newton, Andrews, Cameron, Kennedy; Blake (Ndah, 76), Sturridge. Substitutes not used: Pollet, Rae, Miller, Murray (gk).
Referee: C Wilkes (Gloucester).
* A goal from David Thompson just before half-time gave play-off chasing Coventry City a 1-0 victory over Sheffield United at Highfield Road last night. Sheffield Wednesday were left cursing their bad luck after a deflected goal gifted Wimbledon three points as the visitors won 2-1 at Hillsborough. The Owls took an early lead through David Johnson but David Connolly equalised on the stroke of half-time and then Neil Ardley's shot diverted off Marlon Broomes to clinch victory.Reuse content