Town Under-23s end Professional Development League campaign with defeat
- Mark Hudson’s side beaten 4-0 by Nottingham Forest
- Town beaten in final game of 2017/18 campaign
- Highlights available on HTTV+ this week
Town’s Under-23 side fell to only its second defeat in 11 matches after losing 4-0 at home to Nottingham Forest in the final game of the 2017/18 Professional Development League campaign.
Mark Hudson fielded a young side with an average age of just 18 years and nine months to face a Forest team hoping to secure a place in the Play-Offs.
The Young Terriers’ Coach sent his side out in a 4-2-3-1 formation which included 17 year-old Scott High, who was making his first appearance for the Under-23s since signing his first professional contract with the Club this week.
The away side, coached by Gareth Holmes, came into the game unbeaten in four and started strongly. The Reds took the lead after just 10 minutes when in-form striker Virgil Gomis curled a brilliant effort into the top corner from the edge of the area for his 20th goal of the season.
Forest continued to pile on the pressure early on, with the Reds’ attacking players causing the Young Terriers difficulties down both sides.
Brennan Johnson almost doubled the away side’s lead after 21 minutes but fired just over the top of Town ‘keeper Joel Coleman’s crossbar.
Minutes later, Forest’s relentless pressure paid off as Arvin Appiah won a penalty and converted the spot kick himself, sending Coleman the wrong way.
As half-time approached the tempo of the game slowed, with few chances for either side. Town’s Rekeil Pyke and Lewis O’Brien linked up well on a couple of occasions but were unable to trouble the Forest ‘keeper during the first 45 minutes.
Town had a penalty claim on the stroke of half-time after O’Brien fell in the area following a strong run, but it was turned down by referee Anthony Tankard, meaning Forest went into the break with a two-goal lead.
Mark Hudson’s side looked a much stronger outfit in the second-half and began to control the ball well in midfield.
However, Coleman was forced into two good saves in the space of two minutes, standing strong to keep out low efforts from Gboly Ariyibi and then Gomis.
Hudson made two changes midway through the second-half as Town went in search of a goal. Ben Mills was handed his Under-23s debut, replacing Ben Jackson, and Romoney Crichlow-Noble replaced Scott High.
Despite an improved performance from Town, Forest put the game to bed in the 78th minute as Gomis fired a first-time shot into the bottom corner to give the away side a 3-0 lead. It was the striker’s fifth goal in two games after his hat-trick against Cardiff City on Monday.
Forest Captain Toby Edser made absolutely sure of the result late on when he slotted home from close range, with Crichlow-Noble unable to stop the ball from crossing the line.
The defeat means the Young Terriers finish the 2017/18 campaign in seventh position in the Professional Development League North table with 41 points.
Following Sheffield Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat at home to Burnley, the Reds’ 4-0 victory secured their place in the play-off semi-finals. Forest will play Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Tuesday.
Highlights of the game will be available on #HTTV on Sunday.
Town’s Starting Line-up (4-2-3-1):
Joel Coleman; Mason O'Malley, Jake Barrett, Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Jordan Williams; Lewis O’Brien (c), Scott High (Romoney Crichlow-Noble, 68’); Ben Jackson (Ben Mills, 68’), Aaron Rowe, Dom Tear; Rekeil Pyke
Harrison Davison-Hale, Harry Spratt, Dahomey Raymond