Gibbs-White on target but Wolves' Cunha denies Forest


Nottingham Forest were held to an entertaining 2-2 draw with Midlands rivals Wolves at the City Ground, leaving them one point better off than 18th-placed Luton, who currently occupy the final relegation place.

Matheus Cunha’s brilliant solo opener, assisted by goalkeeper Jose Sa, was cancelled out by a Morgan Gibbs-White header in first-half stoppage time, who taunted his former club by celebrating vociferously in front of the travelling Wolves fans.

The passionate display rather irked Wolves’ players, and they made the brighter start to the second period, but were punished by Danilo in the 57th minute.

Gibbs-White was predictably involved again, getting sandwiched between Santiago Bueno and Matt Doherty, as the ball fell kindly for Danilo to plant beyond Sa.

Matheus Cunha celebrates after scoring his second goal of the game against Nottingham Forest
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Matheus Cunha scored twice on his return from an injury lay-off

But it was Cunha who had the final say. Matz Sels flapped at a corner, causing a brief melee, which allowed the returning Brazil international, on his first start since early February, to slam home from close range.

A brief VAR check followed, but thankfully for Gary O’Neil, who has been extremely critical of officiating decisions that have gone against his side in recent weeks, the goal stood, although European qualification now looks out of reach with no wins in the last four.

The small gap between Forest and Luton, heavily beaten by Manchester City on Saturday, remains just one point as Premier League survival hopes continue to hang in the balance with games against relegation rivals Everton, Sheffield United and Burnley all to come.

Team news headlines

  • Nottingham Forest made one change as Giovanni Reyna replaced Anthony Elanga.
  • Matheus Cunha returned to Wolves’ starting selection as Rayan Ait-Nouri missed out entirely having suffered an injury setback.

How Forest were forced to settle for draw

Morgan Gibbs-White celebrates with relish after scoring for Nottingham Forest against his former side Wolves
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Morgan Gibbs-White scored his sixth goal of the season against Wolves

Forest have squandered a staggering 51 points from winning positions since the start of last season. It’s no wonder, then, that their 2-1 second-half lead was cancelled by Cunha five minutes later.

“I think we all agree that we came off the pitch just now disappointed to have not taken three points,” scorer Gibbs-White said. “Again we have gone up in a game and we’ve conceded. We have to reflect on what happened.”

All of the early pressure was from the hosts as they started on the front foot, with Ryan Yates testing Sa from distance and Callum Hudson-Odoi and Gio Reyna firing off target.

Player ratings:

Nottm Forest: Sels (5), Williams (6), Omobamidele (6), Murillo (7), Aina (7), Yates (6), Danilo (7), Reyna (7), Gibbs-White (8), Hudson-Odoi (6), Wood (5).

Subs: Dominguez (6), Origi (5), Ribeiro (n/a) Tavares (n/a).

Wolves: Sa (6), Gomes (6), Kilman (7), Bueno (7), Doherty (6), Joao Gomes (6), Lemina (6), Semedo (6), Doyle (6), Sarabia (6), Cunha (8).

Subs: Hawng (6), H. Bueno (6), Traore (6), Chirewa (n/a), Fraser (n/a).

Player of the Match: Morgan Gibbs-White

A woeful Yates pass inside his own box in the 27th minute nearly gifted Joao Gomes an easy opener, but for some heroic defending on his own goal line by Murillo, before Pablo Sarabia slammed the rebound wide.

Wolves did take advantage in the 40th minute with a stunning solo effort from Cunha.

Matheus Cunha wheels away to celebrate after giving Wolves the lead at the City Ground
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Cunha wheels away to celebrate after giving Wolves the lead at the City Ground

Released by Sa, the striker charged from inside his own half towards the Forest box, chopped cutely inside Andrew Omobamidele and Yates, before firing an unstoppable effort into the top corner.

The lead was short-lived, though, as Gibbs-White found space at the near post from Reyna’s corner to glance a header into the far corner six minutes after. He enjoyed the celebrations too, before getting involved in the hosts’ second – Doherty’s challenge falling to Danilo to slot home. But the daylight was brief.

Cunha’s second of the afternoon brought the buoyancy inside the City Ground to a grinding halt, as Wolves defiantly levelled to earn a draw. It was the 22nd time Forest have conceded from a set-piece this season.

O’Neil pleased with positive point

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Wolves boss Gary O’Neil was pleased after his side fought back to pick up a point at Nottingham Forest.

Wolves boss Gary O’Neil: “Delighted with the set-play goal because we’ve worked really hard on that. Could have gone either way, they had more shots and we had more control and possession.

“As soon as the ball goes in the goal, no emotion from me, I just turn to the bench and ask them to check. It’s the toughest spot I’ve ever been in, trying to piece everything together [with so many injuries]. We’re desperate to get players back.

“There is a lot to piece together. Today is a good point.”

Nuno: Greater urgency required to win points

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Nottingham Forest head coach Nuno Espirito Santo was left frustrated with his side’s defending as they drew 2-2 with Wolves.

Nottingham Forest manager Nuno Espirito Santo: “Tough game. The first half was no tempo, very slow. Not good for us. We wanted energy. We’ve conceded two easy goals, that’s our biggest problem. It’s a tough moment for us because we needed this.

“We tried to press Wolves. We tried to win it. Not always was possible. We needed this game, this urgency on points, and we could not achieve it.

“The first goal is too easy – we allowed him to turn. We shouldn’t do that. And the second goal we should have done better. It’s going to be a fight to the end.”

Opta: Goading Gibbs-White unable to inspire win

Morgan Gibbs-White gestures at Pablo Sarabia after equalising for Nottingham Forest against Wolves
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Gibbs-White gestures at Pablo Sarabia after equalising

  • Morgan Gibbs-White became just the fourth Nottingham Forest player to register double figures for both goals (10) and assists (15) in the Premier League.

  • Wolves’ Matheus Cunha has been directly involved in nine goals across his last seven Premier League starts (six goals, three assists).

  • Danilo has been involved in a goal in both of his last two home Premier League appearances for Nottingham Forest.

What’s next?

Nottingham Forest head to relegation rivals Everton on Sunday April 21, live on Sky Sports. Kick-off 1.30pm. Forest feature on Sky Sports again on Sunday April 28 at home to Manchester City. Kick-off 4.30pm.

Wolves face title-chasing Arsenal on Saturday April 20, live on Sky Sports. Kick-off 7.30pm.

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