A stoppage-time own goal from Mathias Jørgensen allowed Nottingham Forest to steal a draw with Brentford in a game with yet more VAR controversy. Jørgensen saw a clearance deflected off him and cross the line in the sixth minute of injury time to earn Forest a deserved point. The hosts had looked like ending up empty-handed as goals from Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa put Brentford on course for a first away win of the season after Morgan Gibbs-White had put Forest ahead.
But Mbeumo’s goal on the stroke of half-time was contentious as it came from the penalty spot. The referee, Andre Marriner, eventually ruled Dean Henderson fouled Wissa after checking it on the pitchside monitor, even though the goalkeeper appeared to have played the ball.
Forest’s sense of injustice, with two credible penalty shouts ignored by VAR, was heightened when Wissa scored with 15 minutes remaining but there was one moment of drama left with Jørgensen’s own goal awarded by goalline technology.
Forest’s manager, Steve Cooper, said: “My feeling on it is if the one he has given against us is a penalty, then he has to give four in the game.
“The one on [Ryan] Yates, the one on [Emmanuel] Dennis and the one on Morgan. There is frustration there. If they have made him look at the screen on the one he has given, why hasn’t he looked at the screen on the others?”
This may yet prove to be an important point for Forest in their battle for safety as although they remain bottom, they are only two points adrift of safety with another home game before the World Cup break. Brentford, meanwhile, will be nervously looking over their shoulder as they are now without a win in four.
It had all started so well for the home side and it was only down to David Raya that they were not ahead as the Premier League’s most worked goalkeeper was kept busy. Raya was twice forced into smart stops from Brennan Johnson, who was played in by Gibbs-White on both occasions, while also saving a Neco Williams effort from distance.
Forest were relentless and were rewarded with a deserved lead in the 20th minute. Dennis nipped in from behind to steal possession, passed to Gibbs-White and the record signing weaved past three defenders before finding the bottom corner with the aid of a deflection.
The hosts were full value for their lead and were unlucky not to get a penalty after Yates appeared to be pushed over by Josh Dasilva but neither Marriner nor VAR thought it was a foul.
Gibbs-White was Forest’s biggest threat and could have doubled the tally but he shot straight at Raya when well placed in the area.
Brentford had been non-existent as an attacking threat but went in at half-time level after some VAR controversy in added time. A misplaced pass by Forest saw Wissa played through and, as he rounded Henderson, he tumbled over and could not get a shot on goal. Marriner did not think it was a foul but was asked to look at the pitchside monitor, by the VAR official Lee Mason, where he changed his decision. Mbeumo coolly slotted the penalty home but the City Ground crowd were furious especially as replays suggested Henderson had touched the ball.
That goal changed the complexion of the game and Brentford played the match on their terms at the start of the second half, keeping the ball well with Forest losing their momentum.
The visitors went ahead with a 75th-minute goal as Mathias Jensen played in Wissa, who raced clear and lobbed Henderson. But Forest did not give up and earned a point with the last meaningful kick of the game as Gibbs-White’s shot was cleared off the line but the ball hit Jørgensen and went in.