Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper has agreed goalkeeper Brice Samba deserved to be shown a red card as his side were held to a 2-2 draw against Stoke City.
Samba received his marching orders in the 85th minute for a challenge on Phil Jagielka with the score level at 1-1. The visitors then took the lead through Lewis Baker from the resulting penalty with Forest defender Joe Worrall between the sticks. However, an injury time equaliser from Ryan Yates rescued a point for Forest in the dramatic Championship encounter.
Speaking after the game, Cooper reflected on the sending off, and how the mistake nearly cost his side an important point.
He said: “He knows he’s made a huge error. For all of the mistakes the referee made today, I have no complaints with the red card.
“He’s made a mistake, and it’s nearly cost us.”
Forest took the lead after 56 minutes through Brennan Johnson. Stoke then opened their account 12 minutes later through Josh Maja in what was a highly-contested match.
But Cooper still felt that both sides could’ve given more to the game, especially in the earlier stages.
“I thought it was a bit of an average game overall, truth be told. It took both teams a little bit to get going. Maybe it did look like the third of a three-game week.
“But we settled into our mid-block. That wasn’t really the plan, if I’m being honest – we always want to attack games, particularly at home.
“Maybe we didn’t quite have the energy at the start to do that, so we settled into trying to hit Stoke on the count-attack.”
Cooper explains ‘keeper selection following red card
When Bamba was sent for an early shower, Forest had already used the maximum amount of substitutes for the game.
6 ft 3 centre-back Joe Worrall was then given the ‘keeper jersey as Forest were reduced to ten men for the final moments of the match.
Despite conceding the penalty, Cooper insisted there was no better option given the situation.
“It was clear Joe was going to be the one to go in goal. To be fair to the lads, they managed that themselves,” Cooper explained.
“He did okay with his positioning. He certainly wasn’t going to lack any bravery.
“The last thing I wanted to see was an outfield player going in goal, but if it was going to be anyone, it was going to be him.”