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A day at Grantham Town

Forest's Under 21 starlet Dylan Burns is currently on loan at Grantham Town and so David Marples popped along to see how he was progressing.

David Marples

For a Forest fan, it's difficult not to conjure up images of a wispish Gary Crosby gliding gown the wing, urged on by a passionate Martin O'Neill barking at him from the touchline when mulling over the club known as Grantham Town.

Back in 1989, Crosby made 9 appearances for The Gingerbreads (a nickname as gloriously daft as that of the Stamford Daniels - known as The Daniels) while under the tutelage of O'Neill. Both would go on to greater things in their respective careers. It seemed to be the end of an era as the Gingerbreads upped sticks from their town centre location to the South Kesteven Sports Stadium just by the A1 a year later.

The fixture against Whitby Town in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League had more than a whiff of a six-pointer about it with both clubs hovering around the foot of the table. Just for good measure, it was a cold and wet afternoon in Grantham too.

Dylan Burns was picked up by Forest in April 2014 after impressing at the Nike Academy in New Zealand and has since progressed to the Under 21 Youth team at Forest playing alongside other highly rated youngsters such as Alex Iacovetti, Joe Worrall and Matty Cash.

The young New Zealander started against Whitby Town on the right side of midfield in a traditional 4-4-2. The Seasiders (Whitby Town, that is, not Blackpool), enjoyed the better of things in the first half and impressed with their insistence on playing out from the back with assurance, largely thanks to the composed right back, Kieren Weledji who was always available to make best use of goalkeeper Shane Bland's roll-outs.

Burns was game and when he managed to get on the ball, he seemed capable of making things happen. However, in the swirling wind and rain and atop the muddy pitch, chances to do so were limited.

The pendulum swung The Gingerbread's way in the second half as they created the better chances. In the 74th minute, Ben Saunders was brought down and a penalty was awarded to the home side - Danny Meadows hammered the ball home to claim a valuable 1-0 victory.

Burns continued to exhibit some nice touches but looked rather lightweight and was eased off the ball on a few occasions. He was withdrawn late on. Nonetheless, he can be pleased in his part in nudging The Gingerbreads closer to safety.

Such experiences can only be a good thing for a youngster making his way in English football.