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Bristol City and Nottingham Forest set for FA Cup replay after goalless draw

Nottingham Forest’s Gonzalo Montiel (left) and Bristol City’s Anis Mehmeti battle for the ball at Ashton Gate (Nigel French/PA)
Nottingham Forest’s Gonzalo Montiel (left) and Bristol City’s Anis Mehmeti battle for the ball at Ashton Gate (Nigel French/PA)

Bristol City and Nottingham Forest fought out a goalless FA Cup draw and will replay their fourth-round tie at the City Ground.

Forest will be glad to avoid the fate West Ham suffered in the third round at Ashton Gate when the Sky Bet Championship side produced a memorable upset against Premier League opposition.

But Nuno Espirito Santo’s side will not welcome the extra game amid their battle to stay in the top flight.

Forest shaded the clearest openings during what was a pretty even affair but, in the end, had to settle for a rematch and the first clean sheet of Nuno’s seven-game reign.

City – 13th in the Championship and 17 places below Forest in the football pyramid – fielded 10 of the team that started the West Ham win, with Jason Knight replacing Joe Williams in the Robins’ midfield.

Forest were unchanged from the side that lost a five-goal Premier League thriller at Brentford last weekend.

There was heartening news on the bench as the influential Morgan Gibbs-White returned following a two-game injury lay-off, and the England Under-21 international came on at half-time to good effect.

City, roared on by another capacity crowd, began on the front foot and Tommy Conway was snuffed out twice by Andrew Omobamidele.

Conway was the hero against the Hammers, scoring in both games, but the young striker missed the target from 10 yards when unmarked, side-footing Anis Mehmeti’s cross wide.

Forest had carried little attacking threat in the opening quarter, apart from Nuno Tavares curling a free-kick in to the side-netting.

But the visitors did force the only save of the first half after 28 minutes, with Ryan Yates firing straight at Max O’Leary in the home goal.

City continued to probe but were almost caught by a swift raid moments before the interval.

Chris Wood led the breakout and fed Callum Hudson-Odoi, who pulled the ball back for the onrushing Danilo to hit the hoarding behind the goal.

Knight headed over Taylor Gardner-Hickman’s corner in first-half stoppage time, but Gibbs-White’s arrival gave Forest more fluidity when building attacks.

Gibbs-White almost made an instant impact with a header that was blocked and it was the midfielder’s lofted pass which saw Wood nod tamely at O’Leary.

City responded with Cameron Pring crossing to the far post and Forest goalkeeper Matt Turner shovelling the ball behind under pressure from Knight.

Robins substitute Sam Bell saw Murillo’s midriff get in the way of a powerful attempt, while Hudson-Odoi should have done better than find the side-netting after Gibbs-White had driven at the heart of the home defence.

When Pring ended a swift City counter-attack by rippling the side-netting and Danilo fluffed his line from a free-kick, the tie was destined to be replayed.