Wayne Rooney was quick to admit that he was disappointed that Derby County couldn’t make their impressive first half showing count as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon.
Derby broke the deadlock in the Sky Bet Championship encounter after just 11 minutes at Pride Park Stadium as skipper Tom Lawrence crowned his return from injury with a superb finish from the edge of the box after latching on to Craig Forsyth’s long pass.
Rooney side enjoyed long spells of dominance and possession, but they weren’t able to add to Lawrence’s early strike.
Forest emerged for the second half reenergised and they asked questions of Derby from a defensive aspect which required defensive concentration and organisation.
Substitute Jack Stretton had a close-range effort deflected wide moments after coming off the bench for the Rams, while goalkeeper Kelle Roos made an excellent save from Lewis Grabban with just over ten minutes remaining as the visitors pushed forward.
Forest’s pressure eventually saw them back on level terms with eight minutes remaining as Brennan Johnson’s low strike had too much power for Roos.
Rooney was disappointed his side couldn’t hold on for their first home win of the season, but accepted a point apiece was fair.
Speaking to RamsTV after the game, Rooney said: “I think it was a fair result in the end. I thought we played well in the first half and created some very good chances but in the second half, Forest were better than us.
“For whatever reason, we didn’t play our game how we wanted to play so that’s where the lads need to feel that.
“We are trying to play out from the goalkeeper and you could see the first three or four times in the second half it wasn’t working, so we needed to then make a decision to push up the pitch and not make as many risks as we did.
“Ultimately the goal we conceded was avoidable which is disappointing.”
Lawrence’s early strike was his first goal of the season and Rooney was pleased with the quality of the move that led to his side taking the lead.
“I thought it was a great goal,” he said. “It was a great pass from Fozzy and a good run from Tom and a nice finish.
“I was pleased with the goal, but I was disappointed with the performance in the second half and the way we allowed them to get a foothold in the game.
“It’s something we look at but for some reason, our second halves in games have not been good enough so it’s something we can look at as coaches to see how we improve that.”
Derby will return to action following the two-week international break with a short trip across the Midlands to face Birmingham City on Friday 10th September (8pm kick-off).