Attendance: 33, 010
An untidy East Midlands Derby at Pride Park ended all square with the majority of the games talking points being provided by referee Stuart Attwell after another eccentric performance by the man who gave the mysterious goal in the Watford v Reading game a few weeks ago. A poor first half passed with little incident but the second half produced an improvement with both sides creating more going forward and a failure to clear their lines from a corner saw Derby fall behind when the ball ended in the net with the last touch coming off Tito Villa. Derby fought their way back into the game and Villa then made amends by touching home a Commons freekick to level the match. The referee then went about making a name for himself by brandishing a total of eight yellow cards and harshly sending off Lewis McGugan for the visitors before denying two Addison goals, the first when he pointed to the spot for a penalty and the second for a reason only known to himself with even visiting keeper Lee Camp clueless.
Derby were forced into a change at the back before the game when Martin Albrechtsen failed a fitness test in the morning with Dean Leacock replacing him and Nacer Barazite making a return from injury and claiming a place on the bench. The game started at a fast pace with neither side able to put together any meaningful possession although Derby came close when a corner wasn't cleared and Addison knocked the ball back in but no one could get on the end of it. Anderson was caught offside on sixteen minutes when a deflected McGugan effort fell to him when clear in the box and Paul Green hit a powerful effort at the other end from a Commons corner but it didn't make it as far as Camp in the Forest goal before being blocked.
Rob Hulse had gone down in the build up to that opportunity and he was replaced three minutes later by Tito Villa. Addison and Fletcher then picked up yellow cards for a minor squabble in the middle of the park before Ellington volleyed over from a Villa knockdown. Gary Teale had the last effort of the first half after cutting in from the left but his effort sailed harmlessly over and a poor first half ended without either keeper being called into meaningful action.
Nacer Barazite came on at half time for the ineffective Gary Teale but the first opportunity of the second half fell to Rob Earnshaw who got on the end of a long ball but the former Derby man was denied by a superb last tackle from Jordan Stewart as he waited for the ball to drop whilst clean through. Leacock and Nyatanga quickly followed each other into the referee's notebook for innocuous incidents.
Forest were starting to enjoy more possession and Luke Chambers was denied by a superb reaction save down to his left by Bywater but the visitors were not to be denied moments later when the corner was not cleared correctly and the ball ended up being driven in low from the right-hand side, Chambers again got on the end with the ball ricocheting around off Bywater and Villa seemingly getting the final touch before the ball ended up in the net
Nacer Barazite made his first meaningful contribution on 55 minutes as he played a one-two with Connolly before cutting in and firing in a shot from just outside the area but the ball passed well wide of the goal. Anderson then put over a long cross at the other end but McGugan couldn't stretch far enough to get his foot on the ball in a dangerous position.
Derby were back on level terms in the 65th minute when Commons fired over a free kick from the left hand side, Barazite got a touch on the ball and Villa was on hand to stab home from close range to level the match. Both sides made changes in the following minutes with Tyson coming on for Forest and Kazmierczak replacing Ellington just after the striker had cut in from the left before firing wide of the goal after dancing past Morgan.
Commons pushed forward to take his place up front alongside Villa and Forest were reduced to ten men moments later, as Green took a touch in midfield Lewis McGugan dived in with a tackle and Attwell decided it was worth a straight red. It was a firm tackle and perhaps a touch overenthusiastic but a yellow card was the worse it appeared to deserve.
The Rams stepped up the pace against the ten men and Commons forced Camp into a save as Derby searched for the winner. With Forest hanging on the game was there for the winning but the home side had to wait until the 88th minute for the next opportunity with Barazite's cross forcing Camp to claw the ball away when it looked as though he had misjudged the ball. The Dutchman then came close again and Derby appeared to have won it when a ball into the box was headed home by Addison only for the celebrations to be cut short with a bizarre decision by the ref to award The Rams a penalty. Barazite stepped up only to be denied by a superb full length save by Camp down to his right. From the resulting corner Kazmierczak was again denied by the former Rams' keeper with a superb save to his left to turn the ball behind.
Derby again appeared to have won it from another superb Addison header from a corner only to be denied by another controversial decision from the ref, Forest quickly broke from the resulting free-kick and seemed to be about to score when Thornhill fell in the area. Attwell was still at the other end explaining his bizarre decision and had in fact brought the play back with not one person inside the ground knowing what was happening. The game ended moments later with both sides coming out of the clash with a point and Derby having been denied in bizarre fashion by the man in black.
His physical presence gave him the edge in midfield and scored what appeared to be a legitimate winner only to be denied by a penalty decision first of all and then a superb header from a corner was again disallowed for reasons best know only to the ref.
Stephen Bywater 7
Paul Connolly 7
Jordan Stewart 7
Dean Leacock 7
Lewin Nyatanga 7
Gary Teale 5
Miles Addison 8
Paul Green 7
Kris Commons 6
Rob Hulse 6
Nathan Ellington 6
Tito Villa 7
Nacer Barazite 7
Przemyslaw Kazmierczak 6