Five things Nottingham Forest can take away from Aston Villa draw

Nottingham Forest's Hildeberto Pereira

Nottingham Forest rallied late to earn an unlikely 2-2 draw with Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon in the Championship.


Aston Villa's Rudy Gestede scores their second goalAston Villa's Rudy Gestede scores their second goal

Nottingham Forest used a rearguard action to shock their opponents and secure a surprise draw at Villa Park, having spent much of the game on the back foot.

Apostolos Vellios gave the Reds a shock lead against the run of play in the 57th minute, before goals from Ross McCormack and Rudy Gestede put Villa 2-1 ahead. A late surge from Nottingham Forest saw Hildeberto Pereira go on a driving run, resulting in an equaliser through Henri Lansbury.

Here are five things that Forest can take away from the game:

Others will have to step up

Nottingham Forest's Apostolos Vellios celebrates scoring their first goalNottingham Forest's Apostolos Vellios celebrates scoring their first goal

The departure of Oliver Burke and Britt Assombalonga's continuous battle with fitness will mean that others will need to perform if Nottingham Forest are to push on.

Vellios did his job well when it mattered, scoring from distance to put Forest ahead and laying the ball off to Lansbury for the equaliser. 

But for long periods the Greek striker was a spectator in the game. He will need to improve and be a more active influence up the field.

Mustapha Carayol and Ben Osborn were also passengers for large spells.

Defensively Solid

Aston Villa's Jack Grealish shootsAston Villa's Jack Grealish shoots

A positive for Philippe Montanier's Nottingham Forest team was that they looked much more solid over the 90 minutes. Admittedly Villa scored twice, but considering the pressure the backline withstood the display was rather impressive.

Michael Mancienne and Damien Perquis are forming a promising partnership in central defence, and they snuffed out many dangerous situations before they could materialise into chances for Villa's forwards.

Work rate

Nottingham Forest's Hildeberto Pereira reacts after being sent offNottingham Forest's Hildeberto Pereira reacts after being sent off

While the Reds did defend resolutely for the vast duration, they did switch off and the brief lapses led to Villa's goals. Andre Ayew is a talented footballer and stopping him with the ball is no easy task, but several players simply watched him ghost past them in the build-up to both goals. Patjim Kasami and Pereira in particular did not work hard enough in midfield - not to say that the latter did not atone for his lazy opening minutes.


Nottingham Forest's Hildeberto Pereira clashes with Aston Villa's Rudy GestedeNottingham Forest's Hildeberto Pereira clashes with Aston Villa's Rudy Gestede

Pereira's explosive run was a breathtaking moment in an underwhelming Forest display going forward at least, but it was followed by a sending off for the Benfica loanee.

While referee Simon Hooper's decision seemed harsh for what was an emotional moment, it wouldn't have happened had Pereira not got unnecessarily involved in a bust-up between Aly Cissokho and Eric Lichaj. Kasami was also guilty of ill discipline with a couple of rash challenges.

Safe hands between the sticks

Vladimir Stojkovic for SerbiaVladimir Stojkovic for Serbia

It looks like Nottingham Forest have found a safe pair of hands in Vladimir Stojkovic. The Serbian isn't exactly an unknown though, having played all over Europe and represented his country 68 times.

His debut performance kept Forest in the game and his saves paved the way for a late rally to snatch a draw. 

The 33-year-old's two great saves from Jonathan Kodija headers created a feeling around Villa Park that it might not be the hosts' day and allowed the spirit in the visitors' ranks to build. He was a commanding presence and made important stops and interceptions throughout the match to help his defence out when the pressure became too great. 

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