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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Peter Lansley at the City Ground

Podence grabs point for Wolves to deny Nottingham Forest as tempers boil over

Daniel Podence celebrates his equaliser.
Daniel Podence celebrates his equaliser to give Wolves a 1-1 draw at the City Ground. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

Daniel Podence rescued a point for Wolves with a late equaliser but could be set for a six-game ban. Steve Cooper, the Nottingham Forest manager, said he “trusts processes will kick in” after the Portuguese forward was caught on camera spitting at Brennan Johnson.

After this latest fiery clash between the Midlands rivals, the FA are likely to be call into action again. The two assistant managers, Alan Tate and Pablo Sanz, were shown red cards in the wake of a touchline spat involving most of the coaching staffs after Adama Traoré’s claim for a penalty was refused.

The two sets of players also clashed on the pitch at this juncture, when Forest led through Johnson’s first-half goal, as ill feeling spilled over from the two previous games between the clubs this season. In January, Wolves and Forest were fined and charged with failing to keep their players under control after Cooper’s side won the Carabao Cup quarter-final here on penalties.

Cooper also said he had planned for Wolves to be combustible on the touchline and was not surprised when the fracas erupted after Felipe’s challenge on Traoré seven minutes into the second half.

“I can’t deny it happened but don’t know how it started,” Cooper said. “We know there’s been a lot of ill-discipline on the Wolves touchline since the change of manager which I haven’t got a problem with till we come up against them.

“So we were prepared for it. The last thing we wanted was for it to boil over and to be any problem but we’re at our stadium; we can’t let opposing staff dominate officials and try and influence the game so we have to stand up for it.”

Julen Lopetegui said he had not reviewed the flash points but Cooper had. “I’ve seen it back and spoken to Brennan,” the Forest manager said. “I’m not going to add fuel to fire because there’s pictures and videos. So you have to trust the authorities to deal with it and we’ll trust that processes will kick in.”

Jonny Evans, then of Manchester United, was banned for six games - mandatory for the offence under Uefa’s rule book - after spitting at Newcastle United’s Papiss Cissé in March 2015.

Forest’s impassioned support and two claims for penalties took the atmosphere close to hysteria before the home side deservedly took the lead.

Danilo and the excellent Morgan Gibbs-White played a one-two with the most outlandish finesse and the Brazilian broke away from Rúben Neves to dink the ball over Toti, Wolves’ emergency left-back in place of the suspended Jonny. José Sá started to come out but hesitated, inviting Johnson to dispatch the perfect half-volley through the goalkeeper’s legs for his 10th goal of the season.

Brennan Johnson gives Forest the lead.
Brennan Johnson gives Forest the lead. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

Forest had two penalty shouts in the first half – Emmanuel Dennis’s cross hitting Nelson Sémedo’s hand at close range, and Johnson getting booked for diving after bamboozling Toti – but nothing compared with the furore that followed Wolves’ claim early in the second half.

Forest could have made the game safe when Gibbs-White’s neat touch sent Dennis away but, after he cut back inside, his first shot was saved and the rebound sent wide.

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When Max Kilman’s lofted cross was played back by Diego Costa for Pedro Neto to shoot, Podence collected the ricochet to step back inside and rifle home his sixth goal of the season for a precious equaliser.

It was an important point for Wolves who must do without Neves for two games after their captain collected his 10th yellow card of the season. “We came here looking for three points and we came away with one point more than we had,” Lopetegui said. “We have nine finals left. We have to continue the fight.”

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