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Blues Under-23s 1 Nottingham Forest Under-23s 3

Olly McCoy scored Blues' goal against Forest.

Blues continued to work hard until the end but ultimately the damage had been inflicted early on.

BCFC

Blues Under-23s were punished for a slow start as they fell to defeat in this Premier League Cup tie.

Nottingham Forest were by far the brighter team from the outset and scored three times inside the opening 26 minutes, Virgil Gomis’ brace added to by Toby Edser’s goal.

Olly McCoy did reduce the arrears between Edser’s strike and Gomis’ second but at 3-1 down Blues had left themselves a lot of work to do.

Richard Beale’s side produced a far better second-half performance and pushed their opponents back for long periods. But despite a gutsy effort, they couldn’t break down a well-marshalled Forest defence.  

Blues did enjoy the better of the very early proceedings, trialist Louis Walsh making inroads into the Forest area and firing a dangerous ball across the six-yard box, whilst there were vociferous penalty appeals turned down.

At the other end Jake Weaver had to be alert to palm away as Gomis looked to chest the ball over the line during a goalmouth scramble. The Forest number nine was not to be denied on 13 minutes as he broke through on goal and coolly rounded Weaver before tapping into an empty net.

That was the catalyst for a goal rush with three more in the next 14 minutes, but it was the visitors who displayed the more clinical eye.  

Forest doubled their lead on 19 minutes as their captain Edser latched onto Gomis’ square pass and dinked the ball delightfully over the onrushing Weaver.

Blues responded well and reduced the deficit almost immediately, McCoy picking up the ball 30 yards out and then advancing before firing a low shot into the bottom left corner.

But Forest’ sharp passing game was proving hard to stop and Gareth Holmes’ side regained their two-goal advantage on 26 minutes when Gomis side-footed home from Appiah's low cross.

Blues captain Corey O’Keeffe did well to dispossess Danny Preston and advance into the area but his goal-bound shot was blocked by Adam Crookes as Beale’s team looked for a way back into the game.

The hosts started to get closer to their dangerous opponents as the half drew on, Josh Martin and O’Keeffe both having their names taken by the referee for being a little too enthusiastic with their tackling.

Blues started the second-half in far more determined fashion and pressed Forest back into their own half. McDonald teed up O’Keeffe with a shooting chance from the edge of the area that the Irishman steered towards the corner, but Dimitar Evtimor saved down to his left.

The lively McDonald then set off on a mazy run that took him into the box but he couldn’t get his shot away, instead poking the ball to his right to Martin who in turn was quickly closed down and he passed it on again to Walsh who fired well over.    

Aaron Smith was seeing plenty of the ball for Forest, having one shot that was deflected wide and another that fizzed narrowly wide of the target. Weaver also had to be on his toes to turn aside an Edser free-kick and moments later collect a curling effort from Appiah.  

Dominic Bernard, making his first start after over a year out through injury, was withdrawn on 62 minutes to be replaced by striker Ronan Hale. And Hale was quickly into the action seeing his shot blocked. Blues maintained the pressure and when the ball came back into the box Beryly Lubala was inches away from squeezing his whipped shot into the bottom corner.   

McCoy has his head in his hands as his well-executed half-volley drifted only just past the post after the ball dropped to him 20 yards out.

Blues continued to work hard until the end but ultimately the damage had been inflicted early on.

All four teams in Group A started the day on three points – Middlesbrough play Derby later. So whilst Forest go top with this result, it’s still all to play for for Blues in the Premier League Cup.

Blues: Weaver, Hutton, Bernard (Hale 62), Martin, Seddon, Walsh (Popa 74), O’Keeffe, Lakin, McDonald, McCoy, Lubala
Subs (not used): Siviter, Higgs
Goal: McCoy (21) 

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