Notts F 0 Middlesbro 0: Stalemate brings end to Boro’s strong run of form

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Middlesbrough’s six-game winning run ground to a halt at the City Ground as they were held to a goalless draw.

Nottingham Forest could count themselves unlucky not to take all three points as only the woodwork denied Billy Sharp from grabbing a morale-boosting winner.

It took 12 minutes for the first effort on goal, with Lukas Jutkiewicz’s low 20-yard effort bringing a comfortable save from Reds goalkeeper Lee Camp.

Two minutes later, Andy Reid received the ball in the area and took his time before curling a left-footed strike narrowly over, while Sharp then got away a shot under pressure and his effort whistled inches past Jason Steele’s left-hand upright.

Forest should have opened the scoring after 34 minutes when Reid delivered a dangerous cross, but both Sharp and Cohen got in a muddle with the ball at their feet and Boro cleared to Adlene Guedioura, whose fierce drive was deflected over.

As the first half came to an end, Forest began to get on top and after Sharp snatched at Cox’s driven cross to poke an effort wide, Cohen fired narrowly past Steele’s left-hand post.

Steele then made the first real save of the night when he dived to his right to tip Guedioura’s 18-yard shot wide.

Boro introduced Justin Hoyte for Stuart Parnaby at the start of the second half, but it was Forest who started the better when they won a corner inside the first minute, with Sharp nodding Reid’s flag-kick narrowly wide.

Cohen’s speculative 30-yard effort flew off a Boro defender and went just over and then Reds centre-back Elliott Ward sent in a cross-cum-shot that scraped the top of the net.

Forest skipper Danny Collins came to the hosts’ rescue with a terrific challenge on Jutkiewicz as he was about to pull the trigger following a glorious ball over the top by Grant Leadbitter, with Lee Camp in no-man’s land.

The game finally began to open up and Leadbitter then rasped a 30-yard shot inches wide of Camp’s right-hand post.

Sharp was denied by the woodwork after collecting Cox’s knock-on and smashing a shot past the despairing dive of Steele.

After Reid had inexplicably let a cross go through his legs when it seemed easier to score, Boro raced down the other end where McDonald’s looping shot landed on top of Camp’s net. Although Sharp again went close from Henri Lansbury’s cross, Forest could not find the decisive strike.

Nottm Forest: Camp, Halford, Ward, Collins, Harding (Moloney 88), Cohen, Guedioura, Gillett, Reid (Lansbury 88),Sharp, Cox (Blackstock 88). Unused substitutes: Darlow, McGugan, Tudgay, Coppinger.

Middlesbrough: Steele, Parnaby (Hoyte 46), Hines, Bikey ,Friend, Bailey, Haroun, Leadbitter, McEachran, McDonald (Zemmama 85), Jutkiewicz (Ledesma 80). Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, L Williams, Reach, Smallwood. Booked:

Referee: S Hooper (Wiltshire).