Nottingham Forest have enjoyed a sensational start to life under new manager Stuart Pearce having won four of their first five Championship games this season, drawing the other. With 13 points, Forest led the Championship table as they welcomed East Midlands rivals Derby County to The City Ground this afternoon.
The Rams are also looking for promotion back to the Premier League this season after some time away, and with eight points from their first five games, they made a decent start to the season having lost the Championship playoff final to QPR in May. Today was their biggest test so far though, with Forest buoyant after such a good start.
The first half was a fairly lifeless affair as both teams contested the midfield battle, but the game burst into life in the second period. With just 18 minutes left to play, striker Britt Assombalonga gave Forest the lead when he turned sharply in the box before smashing a left footed drive past goalkeeper Lee Grant into the bottom corner. The £5.5m signing from Peterborough has impressed so far this season, and the 21-year-old Congolese forward's reputation continues to grow after his latest goal.
However, Forest couldn't hold on for the win, as Derby snatched an equaliser with just eight minutes to play. County initially hit the cross bar from a deep free kick, and after a huge goalmouth scramble, Ryan Shotton and Leon Best combined to force the ball over the goalline and draw Steve McClaren's men level.
McClaren was given a late scare when defender Jake Buxton was sent off for a second bookable offence with just four minutes to play, but Forest couldn't capitalise and the game finished all square at 1-1 - moving Derby up to tenth and Forest one point clear of Norwich at the top of the table.