Nottingham Forest’s Jorge Grant scored on his full debut as his side lost 3-1 at Tottenham in the Capital One Cup third round this evening.
The youngster put Forest into the lead from close range in the second half but goals from Ryan Mason, Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane denied Forest a place in the fourth round.
Stuart Pearce made nine changes to the side that drew 0-0 at Millwall at the weekend.
Kelvin Wilson and David Vaughan were the only survivors as the likes of Dorus de Vries, Jamaal Lascelles, Jamie Paterson, Ben Osborn and Lars Veldwijk came in. There was a first Forest start for Grant, while 17-year-old winger Oliver Burke and returning striker Dexter Blackstock were named among the substitutes.
Lining up in a 4-5-1 formation, Forest started the game encouragingly, limiting Spurs to a solitary half-chance in a quiet opening 12 minutes. Jan Vertonghen raced on to the ball and struck it sweetly on the edge of the area but a Forest man rushed out to take the pace off the ball, which de Vries then pushed away to safety.
The Reds were looking assured at the back and on 23 minutes offered their first real threat of the evening - and came within an inch of opening the scoring. Osborn showed tremendous pace, strength and touch to get to the edge of Spurs’ ‘D’ before firing the ball left-footed towards goal.
It crashed down off the underneath of Michel Vorm’s crossbar and Forest kept it alive, working the ball to Grant. The midfielder’s shot from the left-hand corner of the box sent the ball curling towards the far corner but Vorm got across to hold on.
Three minutes later, Veldwijk had a glimpse of goal himself. He raced on to Lascelles’ long ball over the top and for a moment was clean through, but big defender Federico Fazio slid in to make a superb last-ditch challenge.
Forest had every right to feel aggrieved that they weren’t ahead but their defensive qualities were put under scrutiny as the half wore on. Andros Townsend and Fazio both missed narrowly from range before, on the stroke of half-time, the former cut in from the left and dragged the ball wide of the near post.
Robert Tesche replaced David Vaughan at the break, and Forest had the first chance of the half through Osborn. McLaughlin burst away down the left and worked the ball to the central midfielder, who fired it across goal and wide from 20 yards.
The Reds had made it difficult for Tottenham to impose their Premier League class on the game, but a moment of brilliance from Brazil international Paulinho almost unlocked the door on 56 minutes. Left back Ben Davies picked out the midfielder with a cross from the left and Paulinho guided the ball just wide with a cute flick from eight yards out.
Veldwijk came close for The Reds two minutes later, heading the ball against Vertonghen and just over the bar, before the Dutchman helped set up Forest’s breakthrough goal.
The big front man found himself in possession on the left-hand byline and crossed the ball low into the middle. McLaughlin helped the ball on at the near post and Grant was on hand to slide the ball past the helpless Vorm.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino felt compelled to act, sending Kane and Mason on in place of Paulinho and Benjamin Stambouli.
And both substitutes had an immediate impact, Kane heading the ball straight at de Vries before Mason levelled the scores in sensational style. The central midfielder picked the ball up 25 yards out and arrowed it just inside the post and into the top corner.
Pearce freshened up his attacking options by replacing Veldwijk with Blackstock, but it was Forest’s defence who were in action again on 76 minutes. Lascelles was penalised for a high boot when challenging Kane and Townsend crashed the ball off the bar with the subsequent free-kick.
Townsend had been a threatening presence all game and on 83 minutes played a huge part in turning the game on its head. The ball appeared to be on its way wide after he struck it from 20 yards but Soldado came alive in the area to divert it past de Vries.
Burke, who had been impressing for the Under 21s while playing up from the 18s, was handed his debut when he came on for Grant on 86 minutes.
Four minutes were added at the end of the match, in which Spurs wrapped up the tie through Kane. The forward took the ball down the right side of the area before rolling it across de Vries and into the far corner.
There was still time for Erik Lamela, on for Soldado, to drill the ball just wide before referee Andre Mariner called time on the match, confirming Forest's first defeat of the season.
Forest: De Vries, Fox, Wilson, Lascelles, Harding, McLaughlin, Vaughan (Tesche 46'), Grant (O.Burke 86'), Osborn, Paterson, Veldwijk (Blackstock, 73')
Subs not used: Darlow, Collins, Halford, Walker
Goal: Grant 61'
: Vorm, Vertonghen, Lennon, Paulinho (Kane, 64'), Soldado (Lamela, 85'), Naughton, Townsend, Fazio, Stambouli (Mason, 64'), Davies, Bentaleb
Subs not used: Chiriches, Dier, Eriksen, Friedel
Goals: Mason 72', Soldado 83', Kane 90'
Referee: Andre Marriner