Billy Sharp came up with a late show to make sure that Alex McLeish's Nottingham Forest reign got off to a positive start, and the Scot was heartened by the way his new charges dug in.

Forest`s fans have hardly been bowled over by the appointment, but McLeish was just happy to get up and running with a point.

"I thought there was a lot of fighting spirit among the players. To their credit they went all the way to the final whistle," he said.

"They could easily have put their heads down after Palace had taken the lead again in the last 10 minutes but they fought right to the death and that shows great character.

"I also saw some great quality on the field today. Andy Reid was fantastic - what a game he had, and he was instrumental in the two goals. The one he scored was a peach."

McLeish's first game could easily have been ruined by Glenn Murray, who showed the striking qualities that have now taken his tally for the season to 22. He opened the scoring in the eighth minute when he swooped on a brilliant far post cross by Dean Moxey to bundle the ball home.

But Forest were level on the stroke of half-time when Reid picked up a short pass from Chris Cohen and produced a superb left-footed finish from 25 yards.

The game could have gone either way in the second half but Palace nosed in front for the second time when Yannick Bolasie knocked the ball goalwards and Murray produced a precision, looping header that dipped over Forest keeper Lee Camp, before Sharp's late strike rescued the hosts.

"I thought for 75% of the game we were a very good side and the lads are gutted because, like me, they feel we could have won the game," Eagles manager Ian Holloway said.

"The lads are getting used to the way I want them to play and if we keep playing like we did for long periods of this game we will do very well."