Nottingham Forest 1 (Gardner 68)
Wolves 1 (Mason 58)
A competitive fixture on the banks of the Trent finished all square with Nottingham Forest hitting back through a Gary Gardner free-kick after Joe Mason had fired Wolves into a 58th minute lead.
Jed Wallace came back into the team taking the place of Bright Enobakhare as the only change to the visitors starting line-up.
Wolves kicked-off on a sunny but cold afternoon attacking the river end of the City Ground with almost 2,000 of their fans at their backs.
After four minutes Gardner’s long range shot took a hefty deflection off Dominic Iorfa and flew over the stranded Carl Ikeme before landing on the roof of the net.
At the other end Wallace also found the top of the net with a header from a tight angle following a cross from Sylvain Deslandes.
It was Wallace again, this time with a shot on the turn from distance, that had Forest keeper Dorus De Vries looking anxiously over his shoulder as the ball cleared the bar by a couple of feet.
Gary Mills’ foul on George Saville gave Wallace the chance to pump a free-kick into the box but De Vries punched clear and, for Forest, Dexter Blackstock headed over after a cross from Bojan Jokic.
Chris Cohen wasn’t far off with a low, 20-yard drive before, on the 30 minute mark, Mason drove narrowly wide of the far post.
Blackstock headed a Cohen cross into the heart of the Wolves goalmouth forcing Deslandes to hurriedly clear the lines for a Henri Lansbury corner that came to nothing.
Deep into stoppage time a Lansbury corner was nodded down and Gardner got in a shot from the edge of the six-yard box that was blocked by Conor Coady.
Half-Time: Forest 0 Wolves 0
Five minutes into the new half, Mason’s clever flick released James Henry on the right. The winger knocked the ball past Mills and was knocked off his feet for his troubles.
After the Forest defender had been booked, Henry sent in the free-kick which was headed wide at the far post by Matt Doherty.
A Wallace corner was poked goalwards by Danny Batth with Lansbury in place to clear off the line. When Wallace returned the ball into the box, Batth made contact at the back stick but he could only divert the ball wide.
But Wolves did find the back of the net in the 58th minute when Mason buried a low, left foot drive from the edge of the box.
Before play resumed Forest made a switch with Oliver Burke replacing Cohen.
Henry was inches away from a second after good work from Mason and Wallace. It gave Doherty the chance to spread the play to Henry who couldn’t have been closer with his angled drive.
A foul by Coady five yards from the edge of the area led to Gardner levelling matters. It looked a contentious decision but Gardner made the most of it by curling the ball over the wall and into the corner of the net.
Both sides then made changes with Kortney Hause taking over from Deslandes for Wanderers whilst Britt Assombalonga took over from Blackstock up front for Forest.
Gardner almost did it again with a terrific first time shot from 25-yards that flashed narrowly wide of the mark.
Ikeme then made a vital save as e cut out a low cross from Burke who had taken the ball to the by-line with Assombalonga waiting for what would have been an almost certain second for the home team.
Lansbury was too high when he tried his luck from long-range and Coady was a lot closer with a swerving effort from a similar distance at the opposite end.
In the dying minutes Eric Lichaj and Robert Tesche went into the book for pulling back Saville and Hause respectively, but there was to be no late decider.
Forest: De Vries, Lichaj, Jokic, Mills, Cohen (Burke 58), Lansbury (capt), Fox, Gardner, Blackstock (Assombalonga 69), Tesche, Osborn.
Unused subs: Macheda, Evtimov, O’Grady, Grant, Worrall.
Bookings: Mills (50 – foul), Lichaj (88 – foul), Tesche (89 – foul).
Wolves: Ikeme, Doherty, Deslandes (Hause 69), Coady, Batth (capt), Iorfa, Henry, Edwards, Mason, Saville, Wallace.
Unused subs: Martinez, Price, Hunte, Reid, Byrne, Enobakhare.
Referee: I. Williamson
Attendance: 22,291 (1,935 away supporters).
Sunderland Under 21s 4 Wolves 1 (Gibbs-White pen)