Nottingham Forest 1-1 Burnley: Harsh VAR call cruelly denies Clarets first league win of the season

A harsh VAR call stopped Burnley from claiming their first league win of the season during a pulsating clash with Nottingham Forest.
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Lyle Foster looked to have restored Burnley’s lead 15 minutes from time when he steered home what would have been his third goal in as many games to make it 2-1.

However, referee Robert Jones was instructed to view the monitor before adjudging Sander Berge to have handled the ball in the build-up when it appeared to barely graze his shirt.

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It would have been the ultimate reward for Vincent Kompany’s men who were the better side and created the clearer openings.

They took a first-half lead through Zeki Amdouni, scoring at the City Ground for the second time this season, only to be pegged back by Callum Hudson-Odoi’s long-range belter.

Foster’s ‘goal’ would have capped off a perfect away performance from the Clarets, who instead had to settle for their first point of the campaign.

The visitors had to finish the game with 10 men when Foster was shown a straight red, after a VAR review, for a needless elbow.

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Referee Robert Jones disallows the goal scored by Lyle Foster of Burnley (not pictured) after a VAR check for handball during the Premier League match between Nottingham Forest and Burnley FC at City Ground on September 18, 2023 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Referee Robert Jones disallows the goal scored by Lyle Foster of Burnley (not pictured) after a VAR check for handball during the Premier League match between Nottingham Forest and Burnley FC at City Ground on September 18, 2023 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Referee Robert Jones disallows the goal scored by Lyle Foster of Burnley (not pictured) after a VAR check for handball during the Premier League match between Nottingham Forest and Burnley FC at City Ground on September 18, 2023 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
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Kompany opted to make two changes to the side that were soundly beaten 5-2 by Tottenham prior to the international break.

Dara O’Shea and Sander Berge dropped out of the side to be replaced by birthday boy Charlie Taylor and Josh Brownhill.

Brownhill came off the bench against Spurs to net a late consolation, but for Taylor it was his first league minutes of the campaign.

The left-back did, however, feature against Forest in their cup victory last month.

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Anass Zaroury returned from suspension to be named among the substitutes alongside deadline day arrival Mike Tresor.

Aaron Ramsey returned to the bench after missing the Spurs game with concussion, but Vitinho and Han-Noah Massengo weren’t involved.

Hjalmar Ekdal (knee), Darko Churlinov (health scare) and Michael Obafemi (hamstring) are all sidelined.

As for Forest, they handed a debut to deadline day signing Callum Hudson-Odoi, who made a bargain £3m move from Chelsea, as Steve Cooper made four changes to the side that beat Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.

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Prior to the game getting underway, Anass Zarory held aloft the flag of his home country Morocco during a minute’s silence to remember those who recently lost their lives during the recent earthquake.

When the game got underway, it was Burnley who made the brighter start, testing keeper Matt Turner within the opening four minutes.

Lyle Foster, who came into the game off the back of scoring in both of his previous two league outings, was the man responsible, sending a low, swerving effort towards goal from outside the box after showing impressive strength to turn his man. But Turner got down well and got his body behind the ball to make the stop.

Forest responded well with a couple of half openings just before the 10-minute mark, but Burnley stayed resolute to keep the hosts at bay.

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With just 11 minutes on the clock, goalkeeper James Trafford was bizarrely booked for apparent time wasting after taking too long over a free-kick. The home fans baying for punishment certainly played their part.

Kompany’s men have been guilty of being too open defensively so far this season and they almost paid the price for that once again when Connor Roberts was left exposed up against Callum Hudson-Odoi.

The winger played the ball into Taiwo Awoniyi inside the box but thankfully Jordan Beyer and Ameen Al-Dakhil were there to make important blocks in quick succession.

The home side soon took control of proceedings, bringing a good stop out of Trafford who flew across his goal to parry Hudson-Odoi’s effort away from goal after the hosts had won the ball back high up the pitch.

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Despite living dangerously in their own half of the pitch, Burnley came close to opening the scoring against the run of play when Zeki Amdouni was denied by Matt Turner at full stretch.

The forward, who came off the bench to score Burnley’s late winner in the cup last month, let fly with a low, powerful effort from 20 yards out but Turner did well to get across and beat the ball away.

Josh Cullen then flashed a dangerous ball across the face of Forest’s six-yard box as Burnley enjoyed their first real sustained spell of pressure.

Luca Koleosho was beginning to become more influential as the visitors slowly but surely grew into the game, but despite embarking on some mazy dribbles he was just lacking that final ball.

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Their reward came four minutes before the break when they opened the scoring through Amdouni, scoring at the City Ground for the second time this season.

The goal owed everything to Koleosho though, having skinned Gonzalo Montiel and Joe Worrall for pace down the left before his pullback was deflected back into the path of Amdouni, who still had plenty to do. The Swiss man stuck his effort away with aplomb, picking out the bottom corner on his weaker left foot.

Forest briefly threatened a quick leveller in stoppage-time when Anthony Elanga was allowed to run towards the Burnley goal but his low effort was straight at Trafford.

Burnley emerged for the second-half a confident outfit, one that wanted to build on its lead rather than just cement it.

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Amdouni eyed his second of the game with another left-footed strike, only this time it deflected behind for a corner. Charlie Taylor, performing solidly at left-back, then whacked a first-time volley wide from the resulting delivery.

Forest, as they were always going to, hit back with a spell of their own as the lively Morgan Gibbs-White headed over at full stretch from Elanga’s cross.

A couple of minutes later, Forest did end up levelling matters but there wasn’t a great deal Burnley could have done to stop it.

Hudson-Odoi, on debut, produced an absolutely stunning effort to beat Trafford’s despairing leap with a rocket which flew in off the inside of the post.

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To Burnley’s credit, they responded well and stood up to Forest when the momentum was beginning to swing in their favour.

Anass Zaroury, off the bench in place of goalscorer Amdouni, squandered a good chance to restore his side’s lead when he blazed over after a long throw had been partially cleared into his path.

With 15 minutes remaining, Kompany handed a Burnley debut to Mike Tresor, who replaced Koleosho after a relatively quiet second-half display.

Barely seconds later, the Clarets restored their lead, or so they thought, when Foster steered home a third goal in as many games after being teed up by substitute Sander Berge.

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But after a VAR check, the goal was harshly disallowed after it was adjudged Berge had handled the ball in the lead-up.

While you would have thought momentum would have shifted in Forest’s favour, it was Burnley, aggrieved by the decision, who came closest to winning the game late on.

Foster headed one just wide of the upright from a corner, only to be sent off a couple of minutes later for a needless elbow – again upon VAR review.

Despite having a man advantage for the final few minutes, Forest were unable to capitalise as Burnley held out for their first point of the campaign.

TEAMS

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Forest: Turner, Aina, Worrall, McKenna, Montiel (Tavares), Mangala (Yates), Sangare, Elanga, Hudson-Odoi (Origi), Gibbs-White, Awoniyi (Wood)

Subs not used: Santos, Dominguez, Niakhate, Vlachodimos, Kouyate

Burnley: Trafford, Roberts, Beyer (Delcroix), Al-Dakhil, Taylor, Cullen, Brownhill, Koleosho (Tresor), Gudmundsson (Berge), Amdouni (Zaroury), Foster

Subs not used: Muric, Cork, Ramsey, Benson, Rodriguez

Referee: Robert Jones

Attendance: 28,958