Town record fourth successive victory
Steve Eyre’s Development squad made it four wins on the spin at Forest to cement their place in the top three of the U21 Professional Development League 2 on Tuesday afternoon.
Goals from Dale Hopson and Chris Atkinson eased Town to victory and their fourth successive clean sheet.
Eyre selected a strong team for the trip to the City Ground with the lack of a first team game this coming Saturday. Lee Novak, Scott Arfield and Chris Atkinson all featured for Town who were looking to make it four wins on the spin.
Forest also featured a number of first team players with the likes of Daniel Ayala, Simon Gillett and Guy Moussi all starting.
It took both teams a little while to get going, but it was the home team who had the first spell of pressure. Despite their territorial advantage, Forest didn’t have an effort to show for it, apart from Gillett’s wild volley from 30 yards.
Playing on the right of a front three, Godwin Abadaki almost broke the Forest backline with a driving run from the right shortly afterwards, which was superbly halted by Kieran Fenton for the home team.
Jack Blake warmed Ian Bennett’s hands with a tame free-kick in the 20th minute before Fenton showed his ability in attack to cut inside two Town defenders, but he failed to test Bennett as a poor first half of football continued.
Marshalled by Daniel Ayala and Jamaal Lascelles, the Forest defence were coping easily with the Terriers’ frontline and as the half wore on Morgan Ferrier proved to be the home side’s biggest threat going forward. His turn and shot on 36 minutes was the closest either side had come to open the scoring.
The Terriers finished the half brightly, though, and after Atkinson had hit the side netting from an acute angle, Dale Hopson showed predatory instinct to slide home Arfield’s rebounded effort to send Steve Eyre’s men in at half-time one goal to the good.
Buoyed by their goal late in the second half, the Terriers started the second in fantastic fashion and were almost two ahead within a minute when Novak stung the hands of Smith after profiteering from a Forest error.
The second goal came shortly afterwards and Novak was involved. The striker cutely controlled the ball into the path of the onrushing Atkinson who drove on to goal. With support in the box, the midfielder tried to find them only for his goalbound cross to be deflected home by the unfortunate Lawrence Gorman.
Town continued to dominant proceedings as the game ticked past the hour mark – with Forest ‘keeper Smith being forced into a number of good saves. Playing at right-back, Sinnott cut inside his marker and bent a left footed shot, which was destined for the far corner, but well punched away by Smith.
Arfield then showed a great turn of pace to drive into the box and after Smith had parried his effort, Abadaki bundled home the rebound, but was flagged for offside.
Bennett was called upon to make his first notable save of the game in the 78th minute. Forest’s Ferrier did well to turn Will Boyle in the box, but Town’s veteran stopper showed lighting reactions to close the angle and block wide his shot.
Forest finished the game on top, but never looked like breaking down Town’s resolute back line.
Town’s team (4-3-3):
Ian Bennett; Tom Smith, William Boyle, Tom Clarke, Jordan Sinnott; Chris Atkinson, Scott Arfield, Dale Hopson (Israel Johnson, 84); Matt Crooks, Lee Novak (Joe Wilkinson, 90), Godwin Abadaki (Max Leonard, 79)