Nottingham Forest are through to the second round of the Capital One Cup after securing a comfortable 3-1 win over Hartlepool United at The City Ground this evening.
Radi Majewski gave The Reds a first-half lead before Greg Halford and Matt Derbyshire put the game beyond doubt.
Hartlepool scored a late consolation through Neil Austin but were never a genuine threat to Forest’s progression.
Dorus de Vries was handed his Reds debut, Gonzalo Jara Reyes made his first start since returning to the club and Jack Hobbs took the captain’s armband as Chris Cohen and Reid settled for a place on the bench.
Forest started the game brightly and quickly set up camp in Pools’ half - Simon Cox saw a shot blocked in the area within two minutes.
Hartlepool, led by Reds legend Colin Cooper, soon fired a warning shot of their own, although de Vries was always equal to Bradley Walker’s long-range effort.
Forest quickly reasserted their authority and Greg Halford twice went close on ten minutes. His initial header from Darius Henderson’s cross was cleared off the line by Christian Burgess, but Jamie Paterson kept the move alive with a cross from the right. Halford leapt well to meet it but could only direct his effort over Scott Flinders’ crossbar.
And it was time for yet another Halford header on 17 minutes. After Dan Harding and Paterson had combined well to win a corner, Majewski’s corner towards the back post was headed just wide by the former Portsmouth man.
Forest were forced into a change on 26 minutes as Matt Derbyshire replaced Simon Cox. The Republic of Ireland international had to be stretchered off after a ball played down the left was intercepted by Jara Reyes. It cannoned into Cox’s path as the striker sprinted back to cover and, as the ball connected with his foot, he fell awkwardly and required lengthy treatment before being carried off the field.
With concern for the popular striker abounding in the stands, his teammates pushed on for the opening goal, which they nearly got through Paterson shortly afterwards.
The summer signing from Walsall benefited from good hold up play by Henderson, who played the ball into space for Paterson to run into. After cutting onto his right, he curled a looping effort towards goal. Flinders shifted his feet quickly to hold on at the angle of his post and crossbar.
But there was nothing the experienced stopper could do on 33 minutes as Majewski handed Forest a deserved lead.
Paterson and Henderson were again involved in a build-up which saw the ball eventually end up in Majewski’s control. Opting to stay on his left, the Polish international unleashed a sweet strike into the bottom corner from just outside the area.
It perhaps should have been two moments later as Adlene Guedioura perfectly picked out Jara Reyes’ excellent run into the area. Faced with a tight angle, the Chilean opted for sheer power with his finish and saw his effort cannon off Flinders and away to safety.
Forest were completely dominating proceedings and Paterson was growing into the game more as the half progressed. He fired another two efforts towards goal before Flinders had to be on hand to deal with Harding’s effort from distance.
In the second of two added minutes, Paterson showed good pace and strength to get away from a cluster of Pools defenders before slotting in Jara Reyes down the right. His low cross took a wicked deflection but, luckily for the visitors, it flew straight into the arms of Flinders.
That was to be Flinders’ last action of the match as he was replaced by Andy Rafferty at half-time.
Forest emerged unchanged and set about testing the replacement keeper early. Paterson and Guedioura both saw efforts deflect away from goal within the first two minutes of the half as Rafferty’s exertions were temporarily spared.
He was called into action for the first time on 51 minutes as Harding’s looping 30-yard half-volley dipped into his grasp.
For all Forest’s dominance, the scores could have been level minutes later.
Pools right back Austin burst into Reds territory and played Antony Sweeney to the byline. The midfielder cut it back for Luke James who had a clear sight of goal but slipped at the vital moment, allowing Forest to clear the danger.
The Reds then twice went close themselves, first through Henderson whose powerful effort from inside the area was tipped away by Rafferty, before Guedioura’s 25-yarder zipped just wide of the post.
Paterson was next to threaten. Majewski picked out Jara Reyes perfectly down the right and the Chilean did brilliantly to wait for the perfect moment to slip Paterson in behind the Pools defence. The midfielder showed good feet to work a shooting opportunity but saw his effort blocked.
Forest’s first change came on 61 minutes as Reid replaced Jamie Mackie. The visitors also used the break in play to replace Jack Compton with former Leicester striker Steve Howard.
Reid didn’t take long to get into the game as he sent a stinging left-footed drive towards goal from the edge of the area.
Rafferty could only turn it wide for a corner, from which Forest made it two.
Majewski’s delivery was excellent, as was the execution from Halford who, despite the best efforts of a defender on the line, towered to head it back across goal and into the net.
And within minutes it was three as Derbyshire peeled off brilliantly to latch on to Reid’s superb ball over the top. He looped his header high above Rafferty and into the far corner.
Ishmael Miller was then introduced in place of Henderson.
One thing Hartlepool could not be criticised for was a lack of endeavour, and on 76 minutes they had a consolation. Guedioura’s defensive header lacked power and Austin returned it with interest, nodding it out of the reach of de Vries and into the corner.
Determined not to rest on their laurels, Forest stepped it up and went close as Reid curled an effort wide from the edge of the area after receiving the ball from Jara Reyes.
With seven minutes to go, former Forest Academy player Nialle Rodney replaced Luke James.
The game began to peter out from there but there was still time for Miller to show good feet on the edge of the area before seeing his powerful effort blocked.
The three minutes of added time which followed saw Pools apply late pressure, and de Vries was called on to make a good save at his near post to deny Jonathan Franks.
But that was to be the final action on a successful summer’s evening for Billy Davies’ men.
De Vries, Jara Reyes, Halford, Hobbs (c), Harding, Guedioura, Paterson, Majewski, Mackie (Reid 61'), Cox (Derbyshire 26'), Henderson (Miller 70')
Subs not used: Darlow, Collins, Cohen, McLaughlin
Scorers: Majewski 33', Halford 65', Derbyshire 67'
Flinders (Rafferty 46'), Austin, Baldwin, Franks, Walton, Compton (Howard 61'), Sweeney (c), Holden, James (Rodney 84'), Burgess, Walker
Subs not used: Collins, Poole, Monkhouse, Richards
Scorer: Austin 61'
Referee: Stephen Martin
Attendance: 9,081 (Away: 198)