Nottingham Forest 2-2 Everton
Brennan Johnson’s double left Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper feeling he had ‘a lot to be pleased about’ after his side twice came from behind to earn a vital point in a 2-2 draw against at the City Ground.
First-half goals from Demarai Gray and Abdoulaye Doucoure put the Toffees on course for a third win in six games under in the Premier League relegation dogfight.
But Johnson, who cancelled out Gray’s early penalty secured a share of the spoils with his second, 13 minutes from time to keep Forest four points above the Toffees and the bottom three.
The draw also ensured Forest’s unbeaten run at home extends to nine matches and Cooper said: ‘The lads are a bit disappointed they didn’t win but they gave everything and showed courage. There’s a lot to be pleased about. I like the fact we came back twice in the game especially after what happened last week [losing 4-0 at ]. We definitely deserved at least a draw.’
Everton, who had beaten Arsenal and Leeds at Goodison Park under Dyche, were eyeing a first away win in the league since October but had to settle for a point which keeps them behind 17th-placed Leeds on goal difference.
They took a tenth-minute lead when Gray scored from the spot after Dwight McNeil was tripped by Jonjo Shelvey, but Forest levelled nine minutes later as Morgan Gibbs-White’s shot from the edge of the area was palmed away by Jordan Pickford only for Johnson to sweep in the rebound.
Forest were pushing for a second when Everton regained their lead against the run of play just before the half-hour as Doucoure headed in Michael Keane’s knockdown.
The match became ill-tempered with several confrontations and rash tackles before Forest equalised out of nowhere in the 77th minute.
Substitute Ryan Yates picked out the unmarked Johnson 12 yards out and he expertly found the top corner.
He could have then snatched a match-winning hat-trick but drifted an effort just wide.
Everton boss Sean Dyche said: ‘There was a lot of plusses about the performance. This showed a step forward.’
, ., and .