The Baggies’ unbeaten Hawthorns league run remains intact but a third game in a week without scoring means they have now gone almost five hours without finding the net.
Albion had far more shots on targets and for long periods had more of the play without being able to find a clinical touch but, even when reduced to ten men, could have snatched victory in added time.
Jayson Molumby was sent off after picking up a second yellow card 20 minutes from time, and with both sides going all out to search for the win, Baggies substitute Jordan Hugill blazed over with the goal at his mercy.
“It was a really frustrating and difficult evening again, and it’s the same picture at the minute,” said Ismael.
“It was a very tactical game and we didn’t concede any big chance from Forest but we lost too many balls in the first half.
“Until the red card, I thought we were more on the front foot, to get the chance to score and that energy.
“After the red card it was a different game.
“It was all about to stay strong, to stay in the game, to stay compact and to wait on your chance.
“We did that job - at the minute we’re really strong defensively.
“But our issue is just to cross the line.
“We have four big chances, with Darnell Furlong, with Diangana, with Karlan Grant and at the very end with Jordan Hugill.
“The picture at the minute is that we’re struggling to score goals and we need to work on it.
“We are well prepared, we have the game-plan, we have everything.
“But football is about winning games, and to win you need to score.
“The chances are there, this is a good thing and defensively we’re strong and we’re strong at set-pieces, but now we need to get the rewards.”
Ismael admitted there were no complaints about Molumby’s dismissal.
“I saw again the situation and it’s a red card,” he admitted.
“I think that Jayson needed to manage the challenge better and when you’ve been booked nine minutes before, you need to manage the challenge differently.
“You need to stay calm and to control your emotions in that situation.
“It’s another kind of mistake, but it’s another which put us in a difficult situation to stay in the game.
“The good thing was that we managed the situation when down to ten men.”
Albion return to action with a Saturday lunchtime derby at Coventry City next weekend.