Burnley may have registered their first point of the season with this draw at Nottingham Forest to avoid the ignominy of a fourth straight league defeat but they will feel aggrieved at not claiming victory after Lyle Foster’s second-half goal was controversially ruled out after a VAR review. To compound things Foster was sent off via the video screen in stoppage time for elbowing Ryan Yates.
The Burnley substitute Sander Berge was deemed to have used his forearm to control the ball before Foster converted his cutback from the edge of the six-yard box. The ball bounced off the top of Berge’s left arm as he kept Scott McKenna at bay but, tellingly, the Forest defender made no complaint to the referee, Robert Jones, as Foster wheeled away in celebration.
McKenna had made a hash of a pass over the top of the Forest defence, ending up on all fours after slipping and presenting Berge with the chance to pile into the box and pass to Foster, who swept the ball in from close range. But as soon as the referee headed for the VAR monitor there was a groundswell of cheers from the home support.
The Forest fans knew what was coming but those of a Burnley persuasion were not quite so enamoured with the call. At least from the officials’ perspective, the chances of them getting an ear-bashing from Vincent Kompany anytime soon seems unlikely. “I have a decent business brain and a decent coaching brain but when it comes to the laws and the legalities, I switch off,” he said. “I’ve made a decision to just trust that they know what they’re doing and they have the right intentions. It is not something I want to discuss because I cannot change it.”
These teams duelled at this stadium in the Carabao Cup 19 days before this game but only six players from the starting lineups then also began this fixture: three Forest and Burnley players apiece. Were it not for the late drama, the discourse would have been dominated by Callum Hudson-Odoi’s magnificent debut strike, a divine, curling effort. It ultimately earned Forest a point after Zeki Amdouni had struck with a wonderful effort of his own, smacking a first-time shot into the bottom corner after the 19-year-old Luca Koleosho scooted past Joe Worrall and to the byline.
Hudson-Odoi’s only other appearance in a Forest shirt came a fortnight ago for the under-21s in contrasting surrounds: an hour in a Papa John’s Trophy defeat at Harrogate Town. If Amdouni’s strike was clean, then Hudson-Odoi’s was a pure thing of beauty. Taiwo Awoniyi did superbly to get a floated cross under his spell under pressure from Johann Gudmundsson – the video assistant referee, Darren England, cleared the Forest striker’s close control for handball – and located Hudson-Odoi on the edge of the box. He shifted the ball on to his right foot and promptly bent a sumptuous effort towards goal, an unerring finish that kissed the far post on its final descent into the Burnley net.
Hudson-Odoi reunited with Steve Cooper, his manager when England won the Under-17 World Cup six years ago, after a deadline-day move from Chelsea for an initial ?3m, which seemed a snip long before his fine leveller here. “It was a beautiful strike, beautiful technique,” the Forest head coach said. “I know he has quality, I know he can have moments of brilliance and you need that at times in the Premier League. It will be great for him and it was great for us, obviously.”
Kompany’s diplomacy was admirable but perhaps it was easier to cut a relaxed figure because of how his team, pointless at the outset, had performed. Kompany picked out Charlie Taylor, who until this trip had not made a match-day squad in the league this season. Amdouni was relentless and Koleosho proved so problematic for the World Cup winner Gonzalo Montiel that Cooper introduced Nuno Tavares and moved Ola Aina to right-back in an attempt to tame the winger who was part of the Italy side that lifted the European Under-19 Championship in the summer.
Burnley were on the back foot for the first half an hour, before Amdouni forced Matt Turner into a plunging save, but even after the disappointment of the disallowed goal they finished strongly. “It is fair to say it was a dramatic game,” Kompany said. “This journey for us is not easy but we can grow.”