Nott'm Forest 0-0 Swansea
Ten-man Swansea City bravely held dominant Nottingham Forest to a goalless draw in the first leg of their Championship play-off semi-final.
The visitors had defender Neil Taylor dismissed inside the second minute for a lunge on Forest's Lewis McGugan.
Forest had a penalty appeal rejected after Chris Cohen's shot was blocked by Alan Tate's arm and Rob Earnshaw had an effort ruled out for offside.
Swans striker Fabio Borini tested home keeper Lee Camp with two superb shots.
Camp's opposite number Dorus de Vries made some superb saves to keep his 22nd clean sheet of the season but some heroic defending by the Welsh side restricted their opponents to long-range strikes.
Swansea made the worst start possible when young left-back Taylor was sent off by referee Mike Dean for a high challenge on McGugan on the half-way line.
Wales international Taylor, who was only playing non-league football at Wrexham last season, saw red for the first time in his career, a decision that gave the City Ground faithful a clear lift.
So Swans boss Brendan Rodgers, whose pre-match plans had been thrown into disarray, sacrificed playmaker Stephen Dobbie for club captain Garry Monk in order to maintain a four-man backline.
Monk had struggled with a back problem but slotted in at centre-back as Alan Tate moved to fill in at left-back - and Monk could only watch as Forest striker Earnshaw fired just wide from 20 yards early on.
Despite their man disadvantage, the visitors contained Forest and maintained possession in their trademark style for the majority of the first half and created the better goal-scoring openings.
Borini brought the best out of Camp with a fierce 25-yard free-kick that the home keeper had to tip over the crossbar. Monk's header from the resulting Joe Allen corner was scrambled away to safety after causing confusion in the Forest box.
The home crowd's earlier excitement had quickly turned to anxiety as Forest, who had failed to progress in their previous three play-off semi-final appearances, struggled to make their numerical advantage count - and the tension grew further as Borini stung the hands of Camp.
Forest's only significant sight of goal in the first half was former Cardiff striker Earnshaw's 15-yard half-volley from Kris Boyd's right-wing cross but the Welsh international's effort was finger-tipped around his right-hand post by De Vries.
The home side cranked up the pressure after the break as McGugan's 25-yard drive was kept out by De Vries and the night threatened to go from bad to worse for Swansea as Borini hobbled off with a hamstring problem that makes him a doubt for Monday's return leg at the Liberty Stadium.
The visitors' night could have deteriorated further as their opponents had strong claims for a penalty when Tate seemingly handled Cohen's 15-yard hit from Chris Gunter's left-wing cross.
Premier League official Dean waved away Forest protests - and from the subsequent corner Earnshaw put the ball in Swansea's net.
But the striker's far-post header, after McGugan's left-wing corner had been flicked on by Boyd, was ruled out for offside by assistant referee Ron Ganfield as the Swans somehow continued their brave resistance.
Forest's second-half pressure was relentless and De Vries needed to be at his alert best when substitute Nathan Tyson fired low moments after coming on.
And the former Swansea striker was inches away from heading Garath McCleary's ball past De Vries but Tyson could not reach the teasing right-wing cross.
The Swans, though, almost caught Forest as Angel Rangel sprang a quick counter-attack but Dyer could not beat Camp with his low shot from close range.
Monk and partner Ashley Williams were inspirational at the centre of Swansea's defence as the visitors, renowned for their attractive football and creative guile, showed their battling side to contain opponents who had scored three goals in each of their previous four wins.
Swansea, who had only progressed once in their previous five play-off appearances, will now prepare for their home leg as favourites to progress to the Championship play-off final at Wembley on 30 May.
- 01 Camp
- 04 Chambers
- 05 Morgan Booked
- 16 Gunter Booked
- 27 Moloney
- 07 Anderson
- 08 McGugan Booked
- 15 Cohen
- 18 McKenna (McCleary - 72' )
- 10 Earnshaw (Tyson - 71' )
- 22 Boyd (Tudgay - 77' )
- 21 Smith
- 33 Lynch
- 28 Majewski
- 11 Tyson
- 12 McCleary
- 17 McGoldrick
- 20 Tudgay
- 01 De Vries
- 02 Williams
- 03 Taylor Dismissed
- 05 Tate
- 22 Rangel Booked
- 12 Dyer
- 21 Sinclair
- 24 Allen (Gower - 72' )
- 37 Britton
- 14 Dobbie (Monk - 4' )
- 15 Borini (Moore - 56' )
- 25 Ma-Kalambay
- 16 Monk
- 17 Serran
- 08 Pratley
- 10 Orlandi
- 27 Gower
- 19 Moore
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.90:00 +3:15
The referee gives a free kick against Scott Sinclair for handball. A cross is delivered by Chris Cohen, Luke Chambers has a headed effort from close range and clears the bar.90:00 +2:18
Luke Moore is caught offside. Luke Chambers takes the free kick.90:00 +1:43
Nathan Dyer fouled by Paul Anderson, the ref awards a free kick. Leon Britton takes the direct free kick.90:00 +1:01
Lewis McGugan delivers the ball, clearance made by Alan Tate.89:57
Mark Gower takes the free kick.89:57 Booking
Booking Lewis McGugan receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.89:51
Free kick awarded for a foul by Lewis McGugan on Scott Sinclair.89:37
Paul Anderson sends in a cross, clearance made by Leon Britton.87:28
Lewis McGugan produces a cross.85:31
Unfair challenge on Chris Cohen by Ashley Williams results in a free kick. Lewis McGugan has a direct shot on goal from the free kick.84:02
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Nathan Dyer by Luke Chambers. Mark Gower produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick.82:29
Nathan Dyer fouled by Nathan Tyson, the ref awards a free kick. Garry Monk takes the direct free kick.80:37
Inswinging corner taken by Lewis McGugan from the left by-line.80:23
Paul Anderson takes a shot. Save made by Dorus De Vries.80:01
Free kick taken by Chris Gunter.80:01 Booking
Booking Booking for Angel Rangel.79:56
Angel Rangel gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Chris Gunter.76:31 Substitution
Substitution Marcus Tudgay replaces Kris Boyd.75:40
The ball is crossed by Chris Gunter.
Nathan Tyson takes a shot. Ashley Williams manages to make a clearance.74:14
Garath McCleary delivers the ball, Dorus De Vries makes a save.73:31
A cross is delivered by Garath McCleary, save by Dorus De Vries.72:46
Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Lewis McGugan, Garry Monk manages to make a clearance.72:39
Chris Cohen delivers the ball, clearance by Angel Rangel.71:41 Substitution
Substitution Mark Gower comes on in place of Joe Allen.70:56 Substitution
Substitution Garath McCleary on for Paul McKenna.70:56 Substitution
Substitution Nathan Tyson joins the action as a substitute, replacing Robert Earnshaw.70:25
Inswinging corner taken by Lewis McGugan, Dorus De Vries makes a save.70:13
Drilled left-footed shot by Robert Earnshaw. Blocked by Ashley Williams.68:38
Nathan Dyer takes a shot. Save by Lee Camp.68:08
The assistant referee flags for offside against Robert Earnshaw. Dorus De Vries restarts play with the free kick.67:53
Lewis McGugan takes a inswinging corner.67:22
Shot by Chris Cohen. Blocked by Alan Tate.66:31
Luke Moore takes a shot. Save by Lee Camp.65:30
The assistant referee flags for offside against Kris Boyd. Dorus De Vries restarts play with the free kick.60:14
Scott Sinclair produces a left-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the bar.59:18
The official flags Luke Moore offside. Luke Chambers takes the free kick.58:58
Lewis McGugan takes a shot. Save by Dorus De Vries.58:03
Free kick awarded for a foul by Garry Monk on Kris Boyd. Direct free kick taken by Luke Chambers.56:45
Paul McKenna concedes a free kick for a foul on Nathan Dyer. Free kick taken by Leon Britton.55:21 Substitution
Substitution (Swansea) makes a substitution, with Luke Moore coming on for Fabio Borini.54:58
Robert Earnshaw produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty area that goes harmlessly over the target.53:52
Fabio Borini is caught offside. Luke Chambers takes the free kick.52:41
Robert Earnshaw produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the bar.52:22
Lewis McGugan has an effort at goal from 30 yards. Save by Dorus De Vries.51:02
Alan Tate restarts play with the free kick.51:02 Booking
Booking Wes Morgan is cautioned.50:53
Fabio Borini fouled by Wes Morgan, the ref awards a free kick.47:39
Inswinging corner taken by Lewis McGugan from the left by-line.47:06
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Chris Cohen from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by Fabio Borini.45:57
Dorus De Vries takes the free kick.45:57 Booking
Booking Chris Gunter is booked.45:48
Unfair challenge on Leon Britton by Chris Gunter results in a free kick.45:36
Robert Earnshaw takes a shot. Garry Monk gets a block in.45:01
The match restarts for the second half.45:00 +2:00 Half time
Half Time The ref blows to end the first period.45:00 +0:59
Chris Gunter produces a cross, Garry Monk makes a clearance.44:38
Inswinging corner taken by Chris Cohen, Luke Chambers produces a header from inside the six-yard box that clears the bar.44:33
The ball is crossed by Chris Gunter, Alan Tate makes a clearance.44:12
A cross is delivered by Paul Anderson, Alan Tate manages to make a clearance.43:35
Corner taken right-footed by Joe Allen from the left by-line, Brendan Moloney manages to make a clearance.43:29
A cross is delivered by Scott Sinclair, Brendan Moloney manages to make a clearance.40:03
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Lewis McGugan from the left by-line to the near post, save by Dorus De Vries.39:27
Alan Tate gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Paul Anderson. Chris Cohen delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, save by Dorus De Vries.37:53
Corner from right by-line taken by Chris Cohen.37:47
The ball is sent over by Brendan Moloney, Ashley Williams makes a clearance.35:18
Robert Earnshaw takes a shot. Dorus De Vries makes a save.33:44
Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Joe Allen, Headed effort from inside the penalty area by Garry Monk misses to the right of the target.31:53
The ball is swung over by Lewis McGugan, Ashley Williams makes a clearance.31:32
Scott Sinclair is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Luke Chambers restarts play with the free kick.29:36
Fabio Borini takes a shot. Save by Lee Camp.28:30
Free kick awarded for a foul by Brendan Moloney on Scott Sinclair. Direct free kick taken by Ashley Williams.27:12
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Joe Allen by Paul McKenna. Alan Tate restarts play with the free kick.21:40
Corner taken by Joe Allen from the left by-line, Garry Monk takes a shot. Save by Lee Camp.20:32
Nathan Dyer fouled by Chris Gunter, the ref awards a free kick. Fabio Borini has an effort direct from the free kick, save by Lee Camp.15:09
Chris Gunter gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Nathan Dyer. Free kick taken by Dorus De Vries.14:13
The ball is crossed by Joe Allen.13:15
Chris Gunter sends in a cross, Dorus De Vries makes a save.12:43
Chris Gunter sends in a cross, clearance made by Garry Monk.11:28
Free kick awarded for a foul by Robert Earnshaw on Garry Monk. Garry Monk takes the direct free kick.10:29
Wes Morgan concedes a free kick for a foul on Nathan Dyer. Alan Tate restarts play with the free kick.9:01
The referee blows for offside. Dorus De Vries restarts play with the free kick.8:28
The ball is crossed by Alan Tate.7:41
Inswinging corner taken by Joe Allen from the left by-line played to the near post.6:11
Robert Earnshaw has an effort at goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.3:26 Substitution
Substitution (Swansea) makes a substitution, with Garry Monk coming on for Stephen Dobbie.2:39
Corner taken left-footed by Chris Cohen to the near post, Leon Britton makes a clearance.1:24
Chris Cohen takes the free kick.1:24 Dismissal
Dismissal The referee sends off Neil Taylor for professional foul.0:52
Free kick awarded for a foul by Neil Taylor on Lewis McGugan.0:33
A cross is delivered by Chris Cohen, Ashley Williams makes a clearance.0:00
The referee gets the game underway.
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