Nottingham Forest’s Under 18s team finally relinquished their proud unbeaten run and bowed out of the FA Youth Cup at the City Ground.
Goals from Kyle Walker-Peters and Ismail Azzaoui secured the tie for the visitors who will now face Chelsea in the semi-final. Spurs hung on despite a 70th minute strike from the impressive Matthew Cash.
A very healthy 4,053 turned out to see a lively encounter, especially in the second half. The visitors signaled their intentions as early as the 20th minute when a Spurs goal was ruled out for offside in a very evenly contested first period.
After the interval, highly rated Cash embarked upon a dangerous run, which caused panic in the Spurs defence, until he was felled unfairly. The subsequent free kick was sent harmlessly over the bar. A period of pressure from the opposition then followed and resulted in two quick fire goals. Spurs right-back beat Tim Erlandsson with a low shot and celebrated in a large huddle with his team-mates and coaching staff right in front of the Main Stand. Clearly hyped, he beat his chest and directed his celebrations towards the fans, evoking anger from the crowd.
Almost immediately after, Azzaoui struck a shot from the edge of the box to give the visitors an ultimately commanding lead. This was a little harsh on the Forest youngsters who battled hard to protect their unbeaten run, going back to October 25. A neat combination between first team debutant Oliver Burke and Gerry McDonagh set up Cash to reduce the arrears.
A period of sustained period of pressure then followed from the hosts: Burke was inches away from reaching a ball which would have seen him clean through and captain Adam Crookes had a powerful shot blocked in the closing minutes.
The Forest Youth team, led my Kevin McDonald and assisted by Jack Lester, performed valiantly. It is hoped that more youngsters from this team can follow in the footsteps of Oliver Burke and make their Championship debut.