Wolves 1-1 Nottingham Forest: Cunha keeps Cooper guessing as shares are spoiled at Molineux

News Desk
Wolves players celebrate Matheus Cunha's goal
Wolves came from behind to draw with Forest

The future of Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper remains uncertain after his side wasted an early lead to draw with Wolves at Molineux.

Cooper became the clear favourite in the Premier League sack race after Forest were hammered 5-0 at Fulham a matter of days after Sheffield United’s Paul Heckingbottom was the first manager shown the door this season.

It was thought that Cooper needed a ‘positive result’ to save his job, with chairman Evangelos Marinakis ready to pull the trigger after a dreadful run of form.

Harry Toffolo provided the response the manager will have demanded when his header from a Neco Williams cross put Forest ahead after a quarter of an hour.

But a delightful team move from Wolves, finished by Matheus Cunha, ensured an unsatisfying draw which does little to clarify Cooper’s future.

Toffolo missed a fine second-half chance to win it but Forest at least claimed a first away point in two months.

It kept them 16th, five points above the Premier League’s relegation zone, while Wolves sit 12th after stretching their unbeaten home run to six.

Wednesday’s 5-0 thumping at Fulham had pushed Cooper closer to the brink at Forest, with former Wolves manager Julen Lopetegui a contender to replace him.

Defeat at Molineux would reportedly cost him his job and Forest fans unveiled a flag of the boss in support before the game – and they had more to celebrate after 14 minutes.

Cheikhou Kouyate initially won the ball in midfield and, after swapping passes with Morgan Gibbs-White, found Neco Williams on the right.

His excellent delivery reached Toffolo at the far post and the defender’s downward header beat Jose Sa and Craig Dawson’s desperate attempt to clear on the line.

Forest had something to cling to. Cooper had made seven changes from the hammering at Craven Cottage and the much-changed visitors were prepared to dig in and frustrate Wolves.

The hosts pressed with little initial impact, bossing possession, with only Cunha’s tame effort to show for their efforts – until the forward levelled after 32 minutes.

An incisive move cut through Forest with Nelson Semedo and Mario Lemina involved before Pablo Sarabia was slipped in to cut back for Cunha, who steered in his fifth goal of the season from six yards.

Forest’s ambition had seemingly been to protect their lead but, with parity restored, they needed to some more attacking impetus – which only arrived when Wolves gifted them an opening just before the break.

Kouyate seized on Max Kilman’s dawdling and was suddenly clean through but his low shot was saved by Sa’s outstretched leg.

Before that, Wolves had continued to probe without further success and Forest emerged for the second half with the momentum which previously eluded them.

Anthony Elanga rattled the bar from close range, although the flag went up almost immediately, and Cooper’s frustrations boiled over with the boss booked after a decision went against his side.

His mood would have darkened further when Toffolo missed a golden chance to restore Forest’s lead after 69 minutes.

Williams dispossessed Matt Doherty and sent in another excellent delivery only for Toffolo to head over from three yards, to leave Cooper with his head in his hands.

It would have got worse had Matt Turner not saved Cunha’s shot after the striker bundled his way through with 15 minutes left. But, with a point in the bag, Cooper left the pitch being serenaded by the travelling supporters at the end.