Brighton 0-0 Nottingham Forest
15/12/12 - 3.00pm
Albion were again let down by some wasteful finishing as they had to settle for a goalless draw with Nottingham Forest at a rainswept Amex.
A fairly one-sided opening 45 saw the Seagulls create numerous chances - a number of them falling to ex-Forest man Will Hoskins - but they were unable to take any, as Sean O'Driscoll's men came back into the game after the break to frustrate their hosts to a stalemate.
Poyet rang the changes, with David Lopez, Andrew Crofts and Inigo Calderon all coming into the side. The latter, deputising for the injured Bruno, was at the centre of Albion's opening 2 chances. First he headed over following a cross from the left, and then he struck the base of Lee Camp's post, meeting Craig Mackail-Smith's centre on the turn.
There would be no let-up from the hosts, as Andrew Crofts set up Hoskins but the striker could only skew his effort wide from close range. Buckley teased fouls out of Dan Harding and Andy Reid following a couple of galloping runs down the right - with the latter picking up a yellow cards for his troubles.
Hoskins squandered the best chance of the half as he sliced Buckley's cushioned header horribly over the bar from 5 yards when a simple header could have sufficed. The ex-Bristol Rovers hitman then headed over as his frustration grew. Reid provided a brief spark down the other end but he could only shank an effort high and wide.
Mackail-Smith and then Calderon spurned further chances for the Seagulls, with the former then going close after great jinking run that took him past two Forest defenders. The East Midlands outfit very nearly found themselves in-front going into the break, however, as Billy Sharp's instinctive striker clipped the corner of Tomasz Kuszczak's stanction.
O'Driscoll decided to replace Harding with the more robust Greg Halford, and it wasn't long before Buckley's pace was causing problems once again as Halford took the winger out with a cynical challenge that warranted at least a yellow. He narrowly avoided a second moments later, but Forest managed to quieten the battle there on in.
Indeed, the visitors got their tactics right after the break, pressing all over the pitch and shutting down any potential space their opponents could exploit. This, combined with the rain-sodden pitch, saw the game fall rather flat. There were still chances for either team to take the points though, as Dexter Blackstock snatched at an effort, before Hoskins failed to connect with a David Lopez free-kick.
Kazenga LuaLua, introduced as a sub, forced a fine save out of Camp, having stepped inside Alan Hutton to create space for a stinging drive. Kuszczak was also called into action, as he held onto Henri Lansbury's low drive. In the closing stages, Buckley found himself through on goal after Halford's poor touch, but the late-goal specialist couldn't repeat last season's heroics as his early strike was tipped over by Camp.
So it was a familiar story for the Seagulls, with bundles of chances created but none taken, owing to a lack of quality in-front of goal. They will now look to put that right as they entertain Millwall at the Amex on Tuesday night.