Michail Antonio’s late, late leveller is no fun for McCarthy

Nottingham Forest 2 Ipswich Town 2

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The Independent Football

Stuart Pearce confesses a fondness for Mick McCarthy’s sardonic sense of humour but it was the Nottingham Forest manager who had the last laugh as Michail Antonio’s volley snatched a point for his side deep into stoppage time, maintaining their unbeaten record, though they missed the chance to return to the top of the Championship.

Antonio struck in the fourth of five added minutes, blasting home at the far post as Ipswich conceded a second goal from a Henri Lansbury corner.

Ipswich had twice been in front, each time through a fine goal by Daryl Murphy, and three points would not have flattered them. Forest, lacklustre in the first half, mounted a substantial rally in the second which brought them an equaliser from German midfielder Robert Tesche, a summer signing from Dusseldorf, whose far-post header was his first Forest goal.

Murphy had put Ipswich ahead when he beat two defenders before shooting into the corner; and he restored their lead when he rose to meet a cross from Tyrone Mings with a powerful header, his fifth goal in six matches. It should have been enough to give McCarthy’s side their fifth win in six games.

But Pearce has infused in Forest a never-say-die attitude that turned the last 20 minutes into a siege of the Ipswich goal, culminating in Antonio’s sixth goal of the season. “I’m disappointed to concede from two set pieces and when you give away a goal so late a draw feels like a defeat,” McCarthy said. “But to be where we are after 11 games, two points off the top, is a great return.”

Pearce was less content with a point. “With the chances we made in the second half we could have won the game,” he said. “On the other hand we’re in the top two and we know we can get better.”

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