JON Taylor’s late equaliser earned ten-man Rotherham United an unlikely share of the spoils after Aspostolos Vellios’ wonder strike looked to have given Nottingham Forest victory.
Taylor gave the Millers a one-goal advantage at the break with a well-taken finish before an action packed second period saw the lead change hands as Matt Mills headed home before Vellios’ acrobatic effort put Forest infront just minutes after Darnell Fisher saw red following two yellow cards.
However, Rotherham were not to be outdone and Taylor capitalised on good work by sub Lee Frecklington to earn the Millers a point- and maintain their unbeaten home league record in the process.
Following the high-scoring draw with Bristol City at the weekend, Millers chief Alan Stubbs made three changes to his starting line-up for the visit of Nottingham Forest.
Joe Mattock returned to the left-back slot while Cardiff loanee Tom Adeyemi was given an opportunity to impress in the home engine room after shrugging off a thigh injury sustained on his debut against Brentford.
Scottish playmaker Scott Allan was also given a chance to stake a claim for a regular starting berth as Joe Newell missed out because of injury while the Millers were given a pre-match boost as club skipper Frecklington was named amongst the home substitutes following a calf injury.
In the early stages of the game, Danny Ward was almost put in the clear by Jon Taylor’s punt forward but the Millers frontman was unable to get the ball under his spell before Pajtim Kasami headed harmlessly over following Henri Lansbury’s corner at the other end, although any goal would have been chalked off for an infringement.
Minutes later, Kelvin Wilson bravely blocked Ben Osborn’s stinging effort en-route to goal before Izzy Brown almost latched onto Taylor’s delightful centre but Matt Mills showed good awareness to snuff out the danger.
The Forest centre-half was again called into action, soon after, to head clear following another tantalising centre from Taylor before Halford’s acrobatic effort, from the resultant corner, stung the palms of Vladimir Stojkovic.
At the other end, Jorge Grant tried his luck from distance but Lee Camp was well-stationed to gather smartly on his own line before Osborn got the better of Wilson in a footrace to square the ball into the path of Vellios, who fired narrowly wide from an acute angle.
Moments later, Allan’s slide-rule pass gave Ward a glimpse of goal but the ex-Huddersfield striker dragged his effort harmlessly wide of the target before the Millers broke the deadlock on the half-hour mark with a superb counter attack.
There looked little danger as Mattock cleared the danger but Ward got the better of his marker to flick on into the path of Brown, who teased and tormented the Forest backline as they retreated into their own box and the Chelsea loanee played a perfectly weighted pass to Taylor, who kept his nerve to calmly slide the ball past the advancing Stojkovic into the heart of the visitors goal.
The Millers were buoyed by the breakthrough and fine interplay involving Brown and Adeyemi presented Taylor with another opportunity to strike goalwards but, this time, his effort was straight down the throat of Stojkovic.
Minutes later, both Brown and Taylor had shots blocked on the edge of the box before the home side had a scare when Wilson’s errant pass saw Vellios try his luck with a long-range effort which had Camp at full-stretch as he palmed the ball to safety.
Half-time:- Rotherham United 1 Nottingham Forest 0
Following the interval, Forest had the first sight of goal when Lansbury’s speculative effort flew harmlessly wide of the target before Mills found the ball under his feet, in the home six-yard box, but he was crowded out before he could get his shot away.
At the other end, Nicolao Dumitru’s wayward pass presented Brown with the chance to put Ward in the clear but under pressure from a retreating Forest defender, the Millers striker failed to trouble the visitors’ goal.
Osborn became the first to see yellow for not retreating ten yards following a free-kick award but the Forest wingman almost went from villain to hero with a cross-cum-shot which had Camp clutching at thin air as it whistled narrowly wide of the upright.
Just past the hour mark, Kasami blasted over with the goal at his mercy after Osborn’s pull back before Lansbury became the next to incur the wrath of the referee as he was cautioned following a rash tackle on Brown.
Minutes later, Halford’s pass released Brown, whose mazy run had the Forest defence backtracking, before the home midfielder fired an effort which was deflected behind by sub Michael Mancienne.
From the resultant corner, Dael Fry’s flick-on at the near post saw Wilson volley goalwards but the ball agonisingly flew narrowly wide of the target with a Forest defender guarding the far post.
The Millers had a stroke of luck when the referee brought back play with Grant on the verge of shooting after Fisher’s high-kick on Osborn on the edge of the box. Fisher earned a yellow card in the process before Kasami’s free-kick from the edge of the box was deflected behind.
However, Forest got themselves back on level terms, in the next phase of play, when Lansbury’s floated corner saw Mills outjump his marker to direct a header goalwards and the ball somehow sneaked between the attentions of Camp and Fisher, who both failed to cut out the danger as the ball squirmed over the line.
With the game in the balance, both sub Jerry Yates and Taylor had faint appeals for a spot kick before Millers’ fans had their hearts in their mouths when Wilson’s error saw Osborn drill a low effort from the edge of the box, which shaved the home upright.
Vellios then blasted over when he should have done better before a last-ditch tackle prevented Brown breaking clear in the Forest box.
With seven minutes remaining, Fisher was harshly given his marching orders following a clash with Osborn and Forest made their numerical advantage tell almost immediately when Mills knocked down an arrowed free-kick and Vellios showed fantastic technique to execute an overhead kick which smashed into the roof of the Millers net.
However, Forest’s joy proved short lived when the visitors failed to clear the danger down the right flank and sub Frecklington won possession against all odds to put the ball back into the box and Taylor showed fleet of foot to leave Mills flatfooted before calmly stroking the ball past Stojkovic.
In a see-saw battle, Forest almost regained the lead for a second time when Camp pulled off a superb point-blank save to deny Lansbury before sub Nicklas Bendtner almost made himself an instant hero with the visitors faithful, when his reactive header arrowed goalwards but cannoned against the upright before being cleared to safety, to the relief of the Millers fans.
Full-time:- Rotherham United 2 Nottingham Forest 2
Rotherham United 2
Nottingham Forest 2
Teams:- Rotherham- Camp, Mattock, Ward (Yates 69, Kelly 85), Taylor, Halford, Wilson, Fisher, Fry, Allan, Adeyemi (Frecklington 82), Brown. Unused- Price, Vaulks, Forde, Ball.
Forest- Stojkovic, Lichaj, Mills, Traore, Lansbury, Osborn, Dumitru (Bendtner 59), Kasami, Perquis (Mancienne 46), Grant (Lica 83), Vellios. Unused- Smith, Fox, Carayol, Ahmedhodzic.
Referee- P Bankes
Attendance- 10243 (2138).