Max Lowe’s freak equaliser gave Steve Cooper a point against draw specialists Millwall in his first match as Nottingham Forest boss.
Forest made a bright start under their new head coach, but Matt Smith met Sheyi Ojo’s pinpoint cross to head the Lions in front.
The hosts were level soon after the break when Lowe’s attempted cross caught out Millwall keeper Bart Bialkowski and went in off the back post.
Cooper’s side pressed hard for a winner, but Millwall went closest when Smith’s powerful effort struck the bar.
Having replaced Chris Hughton in the Forest hotseat on Tuesday, Cooper named the same side which earned Forest’s first win of the season at Huddersfield last Saturday under caretaker boss Steven Reid.
They made a fast start under their 14th manager in 10 years, as Lewis Grabban forced Bialkowski into a close-range stop following a fine Djed Spence cross, only for the Forest striker to go off with concussion midway through the half.
However, Gary Rowett’s side enjoyed the best of the first period, with Daniel Ballard smashing a shot into the side netting before Smith’s first league goal of the season – and Liverpool loanee Ojo caused plenty of problems out wide.
Forest’s equaliser owed a lot to luck and they looked to take advantage of their fortune, with Lyle Taylor and Joe Worrall both seeing efforts from inside the goalmouth blocked.
But despite their pressure the Reds were unable to carve out a clear-cut chance against a stubborn Millwall defence who earned a fourth successive league draw and a sixth from nine this season.
Forest’s first home point of the season lifted them above Hull into 22nd, while Millwall, despite extending their unbeaten run to five matches, dropped to 19th.
Nottingham Forest head coach Steve Cooper told BBC Radio Nottingham:
“You have two choices when things are going against you when you’re not winning – you either accept it and get beat or you roll your sleeves up and you try and get back into it.
“We didn’t quite finish off the task, but we did our best and got back in the game,
“We could have done better with the final pass and could have created more chances and we will do that going forward because we have enough ability in the team.
“I know we have things to work on, but in the five days that I’ve been here all I’ve seen is a set of players who care and want to do well.”
Millwall manager Gary Rowett:
“It was a difficult game but I thought we might have won it. We controlled large parts of the first half and scored an excellent goal.
“It was the first time we had put a quality ball into the box, through Sheyi Ojo, and Matt is always there when you do that.
“We should have scored again before half-time and we never really looked to be in too much trouble until the end.
“They got a massive stroke of fortune because Max Lowe clearly tried to cross the ball. You could see by his reaction afterwards that he did not mean it.”
- 4WorrallBooked at 82mins
- 3FigueiredoBooked at 55mins
- 20JohnsonSubstituted forMightenat 88′minutes
- 23LolleySubstituted forZinc nailat 68′minutes
- 7GrabbanSubstituted forTaylorat 27′minutes
- 11Zinc nail
- 26BallardBooked at 85mins
- 3M Wallace
- 6KieftenbeldBooked at 78minsSubstituted forMitchellat 78′minutes
- 21MahoneySubstituted forHellat 69′minutesBooked at 82mins
- 10SmithSubstituted forBradshawat 87′minutes
- 14EyeSubstituted forEvansat 79′minutes
- Jeremy Simpson
Match ends, Nottingham Forest 1, Millwall 1.
Second Half ends, Nottingham Forest 1, Millwall 1.
Lyle Taylor (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Shaun Hutchinson (Millwall).
Lyle Taylor (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Shaun Hutchinson (Millwall).
Attempt missed. Philip Zinckernagel (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Lyle Taylor.
Substitution, Nottingham Forest. Alex Mighten replaces Brennan Johnson.
Substitution, Millwall. Tom Bradshaw replaces Matt Smith.
Danny Ballard (Millwall) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Attempt missed. Ryan Leonard (Millwall) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Benik Afobe.
Joe Worrall (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by George Saville (Millwall).
Benik Afobe (Millwall) is shown the yellow card.
Joe Worrall (Nottingham Forest) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Joe Worrall (Nottingham Forest).
Benik Afobe (Millwall) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Joe Worrall (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Attempt blocked. Lyle Taylor (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by James Garner.
Corner, Nottingham Forest. Conceded by Murray Wallace.