Nottingham Forest finished fourth in the Championship table after spending 46 of the first 52 days of the season in the relegation places

Nottingham Forest will face Sheffield United in the Championship play-off semi-finals after a much-changed Reds were held to a dramatic draw by Hull City to finish fourth in the table.

Brennan Johnson appeared to have sealed a third-place finish for Forest with an injury-time penalty, after Sam Surridge was fouled by Tom Huddlestone.

But Lewie Coyle remarkably snatched a draw for the Tigers with a cross that somehow beat Reds goalkeeper Brice Samba.

Forest ‘s failure to beat 19th-placed Hull, and Huddersfield’s 2-0 win against Bristol City, saw the Reds drop from third on the final day of the regular season.

However, they head into their first play-off campaign for 11 years looking to end their 23-year absence from the Premier League.

To get to the final at Wembley on 29 May – a game often dubbed the richest game in football – Steve Cooper’s Reds need to get past a Blades side looking to make an immediate top-flight return.

Cooper made seven changes to his Forest side that was beaten by Bournemouth on Tuesday – a defeat that ended the Reds’ hopes of automatic promotion.

Influential midfielder Jack Colback and experienced defender Steve Cook – who suffered a nasty gash to his head against the Cherries and whose father suffered a heart attack at that match – was left out.

Jonathan Panzo, an England Under-21 defender who joined Forest in January, started on his Forest debut, while Canada full-back Richie Laryea made his first start for the club.

Striker Surridge, defender Djed Spence and Championship young player of the season Johnson were among those to drop to the bench.

Despite having nothing to play for on the final day of the campaign, Hull drew one of the biggest home league crowds seen at the MKM Stadium for five years.

Tigers supporters now have a rebuild of the club to look forward to, with Acun Illcali moving into his first summer as club owner. Illcali has also planned to treat hundreds of Hull fans to a holiday in his native Turkey in the off season.

Forest errors presented Hull’s Allahyar Sayyadmanesh with two chances before the break – the best best of which he sent wide after getting between Tobias Figueiredo and goalkeeper Brice Samba following a defensive mix-up.

Forest’s Joe Lolley, Alex Mighten and Xande Silva threatened, but home keeper Nathan Baxter was untroubled until late on.

The introduction of Surridge and Johnson with 25 minutes left added a sense of urgency to Forest, with the pair demanding a double save from Baxter.

In a chaotic ending to the match, Keane Lewis-Potter fired wastefully over for Hull, only for Coyle to rescue a draw with a searching cross from deep that skipped into the net moments after Johnson’s penalty.



Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 13Baxter
  • 5Jones
  • 17McLoughlin
  • 4Greaves
  • 16LongmanSubstituted forCoyleat 45′minutes
  • 6SmallwoodSubstituted forHuddlestoneat 77′minutes
  • 27Slater
  • 3Elder
  • 10Honeyman
  • 11Lewis-Potter
  • 20SayyadmaneshSubstituted forEavesat 77′minutes


  • 2Coyle
  • 8Docherty
  • 9Eaves
  • 21Fleming
  • 23Huddlestone
  • 32Cartwright
  • 44Forss

Nottm Forest

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 30Samba
  • 4Worrall
  • 3FigueiredoBooked at 63mins
  • 24PanzoSubstituted forJohnsonat 65′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 14LaryeaSubstituted forSpenceat 77′minutes
  • 18Ribeiro Dias
  • 37Garner
  • 23Lolley
  • 11Zinckernagel
  • 17Mighten
  • 19Costa SilvaSubstituted forSurridgeat 65′minutes


  • 1Horvath
  • 2Spence
  • 6Mbe Soh
  • 16Surridge
  • 20Johnson
  • 21Ojeda
  • 26McKenna

Simon Hooper


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