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Match Reports

TOWN 2-1 Nottingham Forest under 21's - Town kick off EFL Trophy campaign with victory

5 September 2023

Match Reports

TOWN 2-1 Nottingham Forest under 21's - Town kick off EFL Trophy campaign with victory

5 September 2023

Town kicked off their EFL Trophy campaign with a strong performance that earned them a 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest under-21’s.

After a goalless first half George Thomson struck from the spot after Abraham Odoh had been fouled, before a fine finish from Antony O’Connor with ten minutes remaining looked to have sealed victory.

Although Esapa Osong reduced the arrears with five minutes remaining Town came away with the win and maximum points.

Simon Weaver elected to field a strong side, stating ahead of the game that it was a competition he was looking to take seriously. The starting line-up did feature a debut for Jeremy Sivi, a deadline day loan capture from Middlesbrough.

It was an attacking looking formation for Town with new boy Sivi in a forward trio alongside Sam Folarin and Abraham Odoh, with Matty Daly just behind.

And Sivi was early in the action when he had the chance to direct a Rod McDonald towards goal but his effort lacked the accuracy to test the Forest goal.

Sam Collins fired a low shot just wide of the goal after 20 minutes but the opening stages were a largely quiet affair.

Forest had new signing Callum Hudson-Odoi in their starting line-up and he began to be more involved in their play. And it was he who linked up smartly with Ateef Konate on the half hour mark but the former Chelsea man ballooned his effort high and wide of the goal.

Minutes later Folarin had an opportunity to test George Shelvey but his shot from the edge of the area every bit as off target as Hudson-Odoi’s. It was perhaps though a sign of things to come as shortly after Odoh was freed by Folarin but after advancing on goal he chipped his effort narrowly wide.

Ten minutes before the break Liam Gibson charged down the wing on a marauding to deliver a first-time cross but Shelvey was out quickly to advance and clear the danger with a posse of Town forwards racing towards the goal hoping to apply the finish.

Just before the break Hudson-Odoi again showed his quality with a fierce shot that Mark Oxley parried away before he turned provider to set up Konate who clipped the bar with a powerful effort.

Despite being closely guarded by the visitors defence Toby Sims managed to get a header at goal from Thomson’s cross that for a moment worried Shelvey.

Town were lively after the break and got their reward on 55 minutes when the determined Odoh ran at pace at the Forest defence and was tripped as he was poised to get a shot away. Town missed a spot kick at the weekend but Thomson made no mistake this time to open the scoring.

The visitors made a pair of changes shortly after with the experienced Hudson-Odoi and Felipe being withdrawn in favour of Joe Gardner and James Claridge.

Daly then teased a cross to the far post that just evaded O’Connor with Town by now looking to press home their advantage and get a second.

Daly was involved again when he was on the end of a sweeping one-touch cross-field move that saw him steer Gibson’s ball at goal. Shelvey was equal to the task though.

The seventieth minute of the game saw James Daly introduced for Town with Folarin, who had faded a little after the break, making way Kayne Ramsay replacing Sims shortly after.

Town continued to dominate and got their reward – and first open play goal of the season – when O’Connor hit first time from the edge of the area from Ramsay’s cut back beyond Shelvey to make it 2-0.

Substitute Gardner forced Oxley into a save with five minutes remaining before Osong pounced from close range from the resulting corner to give Forest hope but Town closed the game out.

Victory sees them top Group C after the opening round of games after Accrington Stanley defeated Carlisle United 1-0 in the other fixture.

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