Nottingham Forest extended their unbeaten start under new boss Chris Hughton, with Lyle Taylor’s second-half equaliser earning a point against East Midlands rivals Derby County.
After Martyn Waghorn had given the Rams a first-half lead with a stunning free-kick, former Charlton striker Taylor netted his first Forest goal from close range to ensure a draw at the City Ground.
Taylor reacted quickest at a corner to fire in a loose ball past Derby goalkeeper David Marshall.
Derby thought they had retaken the lead through Kamil Jozwiak, but the winger’s effort was ruled out as Waghorn was in an offside position and judged to be in goalkeeper Brice Samba’s line of sight.
The Rams had lost five of their opening six league games and although they missed out on a second victory of the campaign, the draw was enough to lift Phillip Cocu’s side out of the Championship relegation zone.
Both teams have struggled for goals this term, netting a total of five between them before Friday’s game, but Derby’s opener was one of real quality.
With captain Wayne Rooney still self-isolating in accordance with coronavirus guidelines, Waghorn took responsibility from the free-kick and marked his return from injury by powerfully firing in from 25 yards via the crossbar.
Samba made two smart saves from Rams midfielder Graeme Shinnie either side of Waghorn’s first goal since February.
The introduction of Anthony Knockaert from the bench at half-time gave Forest extra trickery and creativity in wide areas and it was his devilish cross from the right, palmed behind by Marshall, which forced the corner from which the home side grabbed their equaliser.
Forest have taken five points from three matches since Hughton succeeded Sabri Lamouchi, who was dismissed after starting the season with four successive league losses.
Nottingham Forest manager Chris Hughton told BBC Radio Nottingham: “I wasn’t too happy with the first-half performance.
“I thought we needed to be better on the ball and our movement needed to be better against a team who were happy to defend in a really good shape.
“When you’re up against a team like that, the obligation is on you to perform better.
“We showed more desire in the second half to get on the ball, we were quicker to it. They are some of the characteristics we’ve got to show more of in that first half.
“Anthony (Knockaert) had a really good impact on that second half and certainly we had more of the ball in their half and put ourselves in a position to create more chances.”
Derby head coach Phillip Cocu told BBC Radio Derby: “I don’t see any offside. The goalkeeper reaches for the corner where the shot goes, so the view is not blocked. The frustration is quite big here.
“The only thing we can blame ourselves for is the opportunity Graeme Shinnie had. Of course he wants to score it, but that’s a key moment in the game. If he scores the second goal, I’m sure we’re going to win it.
“In the second half, for 20 minutes they pushed us a little bit back. After we conceded, we picked up again and went to find the winner. It’s just a pity that the winner didn’t come but I’m proud of the team.”