A brace from Brennan Johnson secured a 2-1 win for Nottingham Forest Under 23s against Millwall in their final home game of the season at The City Ground this evening.
The visitors took the lead through Albert Hopkins’ deflected strike in the first half, but Johnson equalised on the brink of half-time, before firing in another shortly after the break.
The Reds made a positive start to the contest and could have been one ahead after just a few minutes. A delightful pass from Johnson sent Kieran Hayes through on goal who took it around the ‘keeper, but the forward couldn’t direct his effort into the net from a tight angle.
Forest were moving the ball extremely well and were unlucky again when Jayden Richardson drilled in a low cross that was cleared for a corner. From the corner, Ethan Stewart rose highest and powered a header at goal which had to be tipped over by Thomas King.
Moments later and Forest came even closer when they hit the bar. The ball fell to Richardson on the edge of the area and the full-back curled a shot towards goal which bounced off the bar. The visitors’ first chance came ten minutes before half-time when Albert Hopkins found Mason Saunders-Henry inside the penalty area, but he couldn’t direct his first-time effort on target.
Just four minutes later and The Lions did have the ball in the net, however. Hopkins’ shot from just outside the edge of the area deflected off a Forest man, wrong-footing George Shelvey, and rolled into the net to put his side into the lead.
But The Reds responded well and quickly pulled a goal back through Johnson. A terrific run down the right from Fornah saw him slide in a low cross which Johnson coolly slotted home. Millwall could have snatched a leveller going into the break as Jesse Debrah headed towards goal from a corner, but Shelvey did well to tip it over the bar. Jimmy Gilligan was forced into a change on the brink of half-time with Malique Spooner replacing Danny Preston.
Chances were limited in the first 15 minutes of the second half but that soon changed when Johnson scored his second of the game. A terrific cross from Taylor found Johnson in the centre who volleyed home into the bottom left-hand corner.
Forest did have chances to extend their lead. Hayes was unlucky not to make it three when he skipped past his man and raced into the area before shooting, but his effort narrowly missed the target and went across the face of goal. Jordan Lawrence-Gabriel had an even better chance to extend The Reds’ lead when Millwall failed to clear a corner as the ball fell to him inside the area, but he could only volley over.
Victor Sodeinde then replaced the industrious Kieran Hayes and the forward nearly made an immediate impact when he came inches away from turning in Fornah’s teasing cross from the right. Will Swan for Jake Taylor was the final change for The Reds with five minutes remaining as they completed their home campaign by picking up all three points.
Words by Harry Webster and images by Callum Jordan.
Forest: Shelvey, Richardson, Preston (c) (Spooner 44’), Megaritis, Lawrence-Gabriel, Stewart, Taylor (Swan 84’), Fornah, En-Neyah, Johnson, Hayes (Sodeinde 76’)
Subs not used: Soloha, J. Hefele
Goals: Johnson 43’, 61’
Yellow card: Sodeinde 88’