Nottingham Forest 2 Crystal Palace 2: Injury-time equaliser spares McLeish's blushes in first game in charge
17:08 GMT, 29 December 2012
17:37 GMT, 29 December 2012
Alex McLeish's first game in charge of Nottingham Forest ended in a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.
McLeish, appointed on Thursday after the Al Hasawi family dispensed of Sean O'Driscoll's services on Boxing Day just hours after the 4-2 home win over Leeds, received a good reception prior to kick-off at the City Ground.
Andy Reid scored Forest's first goal of the McLeish era, equalising in first-half injury time after Glenn Murray had put Palace in front in the ninth minute.
All square: McLeish's reign at Nottingham Forest started with a draw
Saviour: Sharp rescued a point for Forest with a late strike
Last-ditch: Sharp's goal earned a 2-2 draw for Forest in McLeish's first game in charge
Nottingham Forest goals: Andy Reid 45, Billy Sharp 90.
Crystal Palace goals: Glenn Murray 9, 81.
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It looked like there was to be no
fairytale beginning for the Scot when Murray struck again with nine
minutes remaining, but Billy Sharp grabbed an injury-time leveller.
McLeish would probably have named the same team that beat Leeds, but Alan Hutton's sickness bug brought an enforced change.
Dan Harding was restored to the starting line up, meaning Greg Halford moved to right-back with Harding playing at left-back.
Palace manager Ian Holloway also made one change as Andre Moritz was recalled in place of Owen Garvan, who dropped to the bench.
Dexter Blackstock headed an early chance wide for Forest before Murray opened the scoring.
Dean Moxey got to the byline, his low cross evaded everyone and Murray bundled the ball home at the far post.
Julian Speroni preserved Palace's lead in the 15th minute, sprawling to his right to tip Radoslaw Majewski's shot wide.
When Speroni was beaten by Sharp's diving header just before the half-hour mark, the post came to Palace's aid.
Forest were enjoying some good
pressure and finally got themselves level at the end of the first half
with a superb 25-yard shot from Reid that flew across Speroni and into
the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
Wilfried Zaha came close to putting
Palace back in front at the start of the second half but his shot fizzed
across goal and narrowly missed the far post.
At the other end, Speroni continued his good afternoon with another fine save to keep out Chris Cohen at the near post.
Solid start: Forest are still in the mix for a playoff place
Thumbs up: McLeish's appointment was met with angry responses from some fans
Tight: Sharp's late goal denied Palace all three points at the City Ground
The Argentinian was at it again midway through the second half, this time pushing away Danny Collins' header.
Murray got his second goal of the game with a superb 81st-minute header.
Yannick Bolasie's far-post cross
looked to have evaded Murray, but the striker somehow generated enough
power to loop the ball back across goal, over goalkeeper Lee Camp and
into the back of the net.
It looked like giving Holloway's team
their first win in five npower Championship matches but there was time
for more late drama.
Speroni produced a superb save from
Blackstock's header to tip the ball onto the post, but Sharp was on hand
at close range and had the simplest of finishes to earn Forest a point.