Today’s fixture was the first match for Richard Beale's Blues youngsters in more than six weeks because of the Christmas break and weather postponements.
Henry-Francis’s (pictured) goal arrived on 69 minutes after he latched onto a neat pass from team-mate Amari Bell, before side-footing the ball past the advancing Forest keeper Dimitar Evtimov and into the roof of the net.
On a windswept afternoon at Forest’s Wilford Lane training ground the hosts had the better chances but failed to take them. Pablo Ibanez marshalled the Blues defence well and Nick Townsend made two very good first half saves. Forest also hit the bar after the break.
Development squad boss Beale was pleased with the commitment and hard work shown by his players: “It was one of those games where we had to fight and scrap and the lads did just that,” he said. “Possession-wise it was probably 50/50, although Forest edged it on chances. It could have gone either way but we managed to take our opportunity when it came.
“I was very pleased with the attitude and application shown by all the players because it was game that required good character in difficult playing conditions.
“We did well to stop an experienced Forest front two of Darius Henderson and Lewis McGugan. They were a threat at the top end of the pitch but Pablo Ibanez in particular was resolute and showed tenacity in the centre of defence. He read the game well and made a couple of last gasp tackles and was an excellent example to the younger players.”
Blues U21s: Nick Townsend, Jack Deaman, Amari Bell (Charlee Adams, 75), Mitch Hancox, Pablo Ibanez, James Fry (Liam Truslove, 65), Ryan Higgins, Eddy Gnahore, Reece Hales, Josh Hawker (Marcel Henry-Francis, 65), Devann Yao (trialist).
Subs (not used): Callum Thomson, Callum Preston.