Notts Forest 2, Albion 2

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Patrick Gleeson reports on Albion’s Easter Saturday draw.

A late clanger from Albion’s stand-in goalkeeper Casper Ankergren cost the visitors all three points at the City Ground today, but the 2-2 draw is enough for both sides to end the night in a play-off spot.

Brighton went ahead through Leonardo Ulloa and then Will Buckley in the second half, but goals from Lewis McGugan and Henri Lansbury respectively earned Forest a deserved point.

The game started in a scrappy manner with neither side able to take control of possession. It was, however, the home side who threatened to break the deadlock. First through Henri Lansbury’s powerful volley from the edge of the area, and then Andy Reid’s effort, but Casper Ankergren made two fine saves.

Forest began piling on the pressure and Adlene Geudioura went close with a fizzing shot, before former Seagull Darius Henderson and midfielder Reid both scuffed their lines with good opportunities.

Ankergren came to Albion’s rescue on numerous occasions in the opening half, denying Henderson and Radoslaw Majewski in quick succession, before claiming tricky crosses from Simon Cox and a determined looking Henderson.

Tensions boiled over just before the break, with Kazenga LuaLua reacting badly to a nibble from Elliott Ward, and received a yellow card after a mass scuffle close to the touchline.

LuaLua was replaced by Dean Hammond for the second half, and the change looked to be a stroke of genius when Ulloa smashed in his ninth goal in 12 games from an Andrea Orlandi corner.

Ankergren did enough to panic Cox when he attempted a strike from inside the area, and the Dane pulled off a great stop when Henderson struck from an awkward angle.

It wouldn’t be long until Billy Davies’ men levelled the game, though, and it was Lewis McGugan’s deflected shot which looped over the Albion keeper to put the Reds back on level terms.

However, Will Buckley put the Sussex side back in front just two minutes later with a powerful strike inside the Forest penalty box, sending the 2771 travelling Albion fans into raptures.

The game would end on a sour note, especially for the unfortunate Casper Ankergren, as Henri Lansbury’s tame shot somehow managed to squeeze underneath the goalkeeper and trickle into the net in the dying seconds of the game.

A bitter blow for Albion, but overall a good point and a place in the top six for Gus Poyet’s troops.