Ashley Young’s spectacular strike earned Aston Villa a 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest ending a five-game losing streak.
Young struck from long-range to nullify Emmanuel Dennis’ opener as a lively Midlands derby ended down the line at the City Ground.
In Forest’s first game since manager Steve Cooper was re-signed, just days after he was reportedly close to the sack, he saw an improved performance from his side as they halted a horrific run of results that saw them on the Reason were slipped The table.
Dennis’ first goal for the club gave them hope of a second win of the season but it was short-lived as Young produced the only real moment of quality in the game.
Cooper will be delighted, but knows there’s still work to be done to transform his roster-packed of signings into a team capable of hitting the Drop.
This was Villa’s fourth unbeaten game but boss Steven Gerrard too will know there’s still work to be done after a largely incoherent performance.
Cooper received a rapturous welcome from supporters, who were delighted to see the club showing confidence in the man who took them to the Premier League.
And the positive atmosphere at the City Ground helped Forest take the lead in the 15th minute as Dennis marked his first start in style.
Morgan White-Gibbs whipped in an inviting free-kick from the right which Dennis hit first to plant a solid header into the bottom corner from 10 yards.
But Villa’s response was quick and they equalized seven minutes later when Young scored a spectacular equaliser.
The 37-year-old grabbed a clearance 25 yards away and then unleashed an unstoppable drive that Dean Henderson couldn’t hold from the bottom corner.
The visitors thought they turned it around three minutes later when Ollie Watkins shoved home Jacob Ramsey’s low cross, but the assistant’s flag went up immediately.
After a slow start to the second half, the game opened up after an hour as both sides aimed for the jugular.
Watkins couldn’t get enough power on his header from Douglas Luiz’s cross as Villa pressed before Forest came to life and had two tries.
Gibbs-White sent a shot from distance with the outside of his boot just wide before Cheikhou Kouyate forced a save from Emiliano Martinez with another shot from outside the box.
However, any hopes of Flurry making the grandstand finish were misplaced as although the intensity of the game remained, chances were scarce as it ended 1-1.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/nottingham-forest-emmanuel-dennis-aston-villa-ashley-young-steve-cooper-b2199842.html Ashley Young’s stunning equalizer earns Aston Villa a point at Nottingham Forest