Burnley may have registered their first point of the season with this draw at Nottingham Forest to avoid the ignominy of a fourth straight league defeat but they will feel aggrieved at not claiming victory after Lyle Foster’s second-half strike was controversially ruled out. To compound things, in second-half stoppage time, Foster was sent off for elbowing Ryan Yates.
The Burnley substitute Sander Berge was deemed to have used his forearm to control the ball before Foster converted from the edge of the six-yard box. In the end Callum Hudson-Odoi’s magnificent debut strike earned a point after Zeki Amdouni opened the scoring with a wonderful effort of his own.
These teams duelled at this stadium in the Carabao Cup 19 days before this game but only six players from the starting line-ups then also began this fixture: three Forest and Burnley players apiece. So no wonder Vincent Kompany said his side’s win that evening, courtesy of a last-minute Amdouni strike, would have little bearing on this league match. Kompany alluded to Forest’s frenzied deadline-day activity, when they signed seven players, including Hudson-Odoi and Ibrahim Sangaré, both of whom made their debuts for the club here.
Hudson-Odoi operated off the left flank and Sangaré, who has traded playing in the Champions League for PSV Eindhoven for these kind of nights under the lights at the City Ground, sat at the base of midfield. Gonzalo Montiel, a World Cup winner, made his first league start for Forest at right-back.
Morgan Gibbs-White was the source of almost all of Forest’s good work. He twirled clear of Amdouni on halfway to leave the Forest crowd gasping early on but not everything came off. At one point he tried but failed to locate Anthony Elanga with a nonchalant flick from a Matt Turner kick towards the right channel, with Steve Cooper looking on from the Forest technical area.
Hudson-Odoi forced James Trafford into a smart save down to the Burnley goalkeeper’s right after Jordan Beyer was caught in possession by Taiwo Awoniyi. Moments earlier Awoniyi had had a shot blocked by Ameen al-Dakhil. It was one-way traffic but then Burnley entered the game. Turner plunged low to his right to keep out an Amdouni shot from the edge of the D and then Josh Cullen, after nipping in to steal possession on the edge of the Forest 18-yard box, fizzed an inviting ball across the six-yard box that went unmet.
Burnley had stirred and when the 19-year-old Luca Koleosho skipped past Joe Worrall and to the byline on 41 minutes Forest were in trouble. Koleosho picked out Lyle Foster but the Burnley striker fluffed his lines. Instead Foster’s failed shot fell perfectly to the edge of the box, where Amdouni, one of Burnley’s summer arrivals, hammered a first-time shot into the bottom corner. In the city of Robin Hood, cue what appeared to be a bow-and-arrow celebration.
If Amdouni’s strike was clean, then Hudson-Odoi’s was a pure thing of beauty. Awoniyi did superbly to get a floated cross under his spell under pressure from Johann Gudmundsson – the video assistant referee Darren England cleared the Forest striker’s close control for handball – and picked out Hudson-Odoi on the edge of the box. Hudson-Odoi shifted the ball on to his right foot and promptly bent a sumptuous shot towards goal, an unerring finish that kissed the far post on its final descent into the Burnley goal. Suddenly this place was rocking.
How Forest required a lift, too. Five minutes into the second half Koleosho, part of the Italy squad that lifted the European Under-19 Championship in the summer, burst inside Montiel and nudged the ball on to Amdouni, who was begging for the pass. Amdouni had a second goal in his sights and Orel Mangala made a desperate block. From the subsequent corner Charlie Taylor sent a shot against a stanchion after Ola Aina’s clearance dropped kindly for the full-back.
Burnley thought they had regained the lead on 76 minutes. Scott McKenna made a hash of a clipped pass over the top of the Forest defence, ending up on all fours after slipping and presenting Berge with the chance to pile into the box and cut the ball back for Foster, who swept the ball in from close range. But as soon as the referee, Robert Jones, headed for the VAR monitor there was a groundswell of cheers from the home support.
Berge was adjudged to have handled the ball as he surged clear with the ball. The Forest fans knew what was coming but it is fair to say those of a Burnley persuasion were not quite so enamoured of the call.