Nottingham Forest Under-23s were denied a dramatic victory after Sheffield Wednesday snatched a 94th minute equaliser to earn a 2-2 draw at the City Ground.
After a dull first half of few attacking plays, the second half exploded into life when James Murphy latched onto a defensive error from Ethan Stewart to put the Owls in front on 68 minutes.
Forest turned the game on its head in the closing stages as first Virgil Gomis fired an unstoppable drive into the bottom corner, before substitute Jayden Richardson lashed the ball into the net at the second attempt after seeing his first shot blocked.
With what seemed to be the last kick of the game, Wednesday rescued a point with another substitute, Connor O’Grady, who headed Matt Penney’s corner into the net.
It was Forest who started the brighter against last season’s league winners, dominating the opening exchanges, just like they did at Crewe on Monday afternoon.
Their patient possession ensured the first 15 minutes were more like a chess contest, with the Owls content to sit deep and soak up the Reds pressure.
Despite their dominant opening, chances were hard to come by with Aaron Smith the main threat for the home side, striking twice, seeing one shot blocked at the near post and a second fly well over the top of Dan Wallis’ bar.
With much of the game being played in the centre of the pitch, Gary Brazil’s side were finding space in key areas tough to find, though Smith did well to hustle the ball off Owls captain Baker before surging forward and looking to slip Gomis in inside left, only to see it cut out.
Wednesday’s first real chance of a dull first half came eight minutes before the break following a neat short corner routine which saw Preslav Borukov fire sharply towards goal.
That was blocked and as it ricocheted up into the air, former Reds defender Frederick Nielsen tried to get up and head towards goal only to see goalkeeper Liam Bossin come flying out to punch clear and get it away from danger.
At the other end, Smith sent a smart ball wide to Anel Ahmedhodzic, who slid a teasing cross right along the corridor of uncertainty, narrowly missing the outstretched boot of Gomis.
Wednesday were starting to carry a greater threat and after Gomis caught Connor Kirby with a high boot just outside the box, Marco Matias lined up an effort which cannoned off the Forest wall and out for a corner.
In a half of few chances, Forest boss Brazil would have been happy with the possession his side had enjoyed, though the lack of final ball and cutting edge was proving to be their downfall.
Chances were still few and far between though the best effort of a game lacking in quality came with 20 minutes to play.
Substitute Brennan Johnson combined well with Toby Edser with the ball finding Gomis inside the box, his turn was sharp leaving Nielsen flatfooted only to see Wallis bat it away for a corner.
The game was starting to open up a little and just as it did, Wednesday were in front courtesy of some sloppy play from Stewart.
He was caught dwelling on the ball just inside his box and James Murphy took it off him before calmly slotting past the despairing dive of Bossin and into the bottom corner.
Wednesday were now starting to put Forest under pressure and the Reds had Bossin to thank for keeping it at 1-0 when he dived well to divert Penney’s rasping drive over the bar.
Despite being under the cosh, Gomis fired Forest level in the 84th minute, picking up a pin-point pass inside left and then striking low into the bottom corner at Wallis’ near post.
Forest were full of confidence by this point and were in front just three minutes later when the lively Smith shifted the ball out wide to Richardson on the right and after seeing his first shot blocked, he reacted quickest to lash the ball into the roof of the net.
Brazil’s men thought they’d won it until Penney’s deep corner to the back stick was headed in by O’Grady, who rose highest at the back post to salvage a point.
Forest: Bossin, Lawrence-Gabriel (Richardson 66), Ahmedhodzic, Crookes, Stewart, Edser, Otim (Harbottle 78), Taylor, Gomis En-Neyah (Johnson 62), Smith. Subs not used: Wright, McCormick.
Wednesday: Wallis, Baker, Fox, Murphy, Nielsen, Loovens (O’Grady 67), Penney, Kirby (Waldock 88), Borukov, Clarke, Matias. Subs not used: Walker, Preston, Williams,
Referee: Martyn Rawcliffe