Craig Davies denies Billy Davies a winning return as Nottingham Forest manager
BILLY Davies was denied a winning return to Nottingham Forest by a goal from Craig Davies, as Bolton clawed their way back from behind to claim a 1-1 draw at the City Ground.
The Reds had produced a promising performance to mark the start of the Scotsman's second spell in charge at the club. But they could not make the most of numerous chances on an afternoon when Bolton keeper Adam Bogdan at times almost single-handedly held them at bay.
Andy Reid looked as though he had done enough to secure three points for Forest when he swept home a trademark finish from the edge of the box in the 59th minute, to put his side ahead.
But substitute Craig Davies popped up to spoil what had otherwise been an encouraging afternoon for the home side, with a simple finish in the 77th minute.
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Forest might have taken the lead in the fourth minute, if not for some good work from Bolton keeper Bogdan, who produced an imperious performance between the posts.
Gonzalo Jara fed Henri Lansbury in space in the right-hand channel and the midfielder struck an almost instant shot, across the keeper, which the Bolton man did well to push away and, after the visitors had failed to properly clear the danger, Bogdan had to make another sprawling save, this time to push away a low, driven shot from Radi Majewski.
Forest wanted a penalty when Polish midfielder Majewski let fly with a driven 25-yard shot, which he angrily claimed had been handled amid a melee of players.
Andy Reid twice tried his luck after cutting onto his weaker right foot, but saw one effort charged down and another fly well wide, from the edge of the box.
Forest produced a tremendous interchange that must have involved a dozen passes to feed the ball into Lansbury in the box, but he failed to extend the run of quality as he completely miss-hit an attempted cross.
Sharp tested the reactions of Bogdan with a rising shot, that the keeper held well in his midriff. Reid almost finally beat the Bolton stopper with a powerful 25-yard strike that Bogdan only managed to punch away, in uncomfortable fashion, with the ball swerving wildly in the air.
Bogdan was tested yet again, with Majewski letting fly with a vicious long-range strike that the keeper parried well. Forest were piling on the pressure, with the keeper then forced to make another fine stop, this time to thwart Cox, after he cut into the box from the left and pulled the trigger with his right boot.
The second half began with Bolton carving out the first chance, as Mark Davies lifted a shot over the bar.
But a foul on Majewski gave Forest a free kick in a dangerous position and Reid almost took full advantage, bending a precise shot around the wall – only to be denied by another good save from Bogdan.
While good work from Jara saw him carve out another shooting chance for Lansbury and, after some good footwork from the midfielder, he saw a dipping shot deflected narrowly over the bar.
Karl Darlow had to be alert to make a smart save to deny De Ridder, after the Bolton man flashed a shot across goal.
But it was to be Forest who finally took the lead, through the ever reliable Reid. Lansbury's header carved out a chance to shoot on the edge of the box and the Irishman took full advantage, driving a low shot into the bottom corner of the net, to finally break Bogdan's resolve.
A disastrous back pass from Cohen sent Kevin Davies racing clear on goal, but Darlow saved his blushes superbly, making an outstanding save at the striker's feet as he attempted to carry the ball around him.
Forest were agonisingly close to winning a penalty when Alonso slid in recklessly on Lansbury as he carried the ball into the box, with the foul judged to have taken place on the edge of the box. Reid's resulting free kick was charged down, but the Bolton defender was booked for his trouble.
Guedioura still almost added a spectacular second as he let fly with an improvised volley, which Bogdan saved capably.
But it was to be Bolton who were to strike next, claiming an equaliser on an afternoon when they had rarely threatened the Forest goal.
It was a combination between the visitors' two substitutes that proved vital, as David N'Gog fed Craig Davies, leaving him with a simple side-foot finish to make it 1-1 with 13 minutes to play.
Lansbury kept Bogdan busy with a poked shot that the keeper held well.
Bolton then found themselves down to ten men for the final ten minutes, as Alonso picked up his second booking of the game, this time for a clumsy pull back on Lansbury, as he attempted to progress down the right.
Forest should have gone ahead again when a delicious cross from Cohen picked out substitute Darius Henderson, but the striker flicked his header wide.
Forest: Darlow, Jara, Ward, Halford, Cohen, Lansbury (McGugan 81), Majewski, Guedioura, Reid, Sharp (Blackstock 68), Cox (Henderson 84). Subs: Al Rashidi, Collins, Moussi, Greening.
Bolton: Bogdan, Mears, Knight, Dawson, Alonso, Spearing, Pratley, Mark Davies, Lee (Craig Davies 65), De Ridder (Eagles 58), Kevin Davies (N'Gog 73). Subs: Lonergan, Wheater, Ricketts, Sordell.
Referee: Keith Stroud, Gillingham
Attendance: 24,409 (1,514 away)