Cunha brace salvages point for Wolves as Forest flirt with relegation

<span><a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Wolves;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Wolves</a> striker <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Matheus Cunha;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Matheus Cunha</a> tucks away his second goal of the afternoon.</span><span>Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images</span>

Morgan Gibbs-White can score and create all he likes, celebrate with fingers in his ears to wind up his old club’s fans, but unless Nottingham Forest learn how to defend set pieces, they will lose control over their Premier League destiny.

Matheus Cunha scored twice on his first start after two months out injured to earn Wolves a draw but in between Gibbs-White equalised in first-half stoppage time and then provided the driving run that led to Danilo giving Nuno Espírito Santo’s team the lead.

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But for the 22nd time this season, Forest conceded from a set piece when Max Kilman got free to head Pablo Sarabia’s corner goalwards and Matz Sels’s punch allowed Cunha to equalise.

However much Forest dominated the final half-hour, this achilles heel is costing them. They have lost once in five games but, as they go to Everton next Sunday for such a crucial game, Nuno knows he must find solutions.

“We have to look at them in a realistic way,” the Forest manager said. “Today the organisation was good but we should’ve done better individually. It’s very frustrating, for me, for the fans, for the players. [This match] is a missed opportunity.”

Wolves have scored 14 times from set plays but it was the individual brilliance of Cunha, returning to the starting line-up after a hamstring injury that has coincided with the team falling away from European contention, that helped them overcome a difficult start here to take the lead.

Receiving the ball from Sá, the Brazil striker ran three-quarters of the pitch down his favoured left channel before turning back in between Andrew Omobamidele and Ryan Yates, and slamming his shot into the far top corner. “Too soft,” said Nuno.

“It shows the value of having good players available to you, in the Premier League,” Gary O’Neil, the Wolves head coach, said. “It’s no coincidence that his best moment came from down that left channel where he’s done his best work for us this season.”

Coming five minutes before the break, this looked like a crucial breakthrough. Forest have this belief at home, though, garnered since the promotion season two years ago, and a series of corners and long throws piled the pressure on José Sá in the Wolves goal.

When Gio Reyna crossed from the left, Gibbs-White gave Nélson Semedo at least as much of a shove as the law permits before glancing his header into the far corner.

How he milked his moment, offering his signature goal celebration, fingers in the ears, right in front of the Wolves fans, as he had in the Carabao Cup tie between the team last season. “Morgan can do whatever he wants,” O’Neil said with a smile. “It’s no concern of mine.”

When Forest went ahead, Gibbs-White was again the pivotal inspiration. Picking the ball up in his favourite position – central, just off the front – he drove at the Wolves back line, played an inadvertent one-two off Matt Doherty, who then clanked into a last-ditch tackle to try to stop his former teammate scoring. Before anyone could claim a penalty, Danilo stabbed home the loose ball.

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After Cunha’s equaliser, Forest dominated the latter stages and could have won it when Divock Origi was sent clear down the right but overhit his cross towards Chris Wood, leaving honours even. Wolves have not won for five games, but this point came as a relief.