Nottingham Forest Under 23s secured an important three points after a comfortable 3-0 win over 10-men Sheffield Wednesday in the Professional Development League at The City Ground.
A brace from Arvin Appiah and a goal from substitute Kieran Hayes was enough to pick up the win for The Reds in a dominant display from Jimmy Gilligan’s side.
The Reds made a promising start to the contest with both Alex Mighten and Arvin Appiah winning several free-kick’s in good positions. First it was Brennan Johnson who saw his curled effort edge just wide of the post before Jake Taylor’s strike was safely held by Cameron McCulloch in the Sheffield Wednesday goal.
Appiah caused problems for The Owls throughout and his dangerous cross on 16 minutes which was just turned behind for a corner was a sign of things to come for the visitors. But The Reds continued to try and find their way through a resolute Wednesday defence.
That changed on the half hour mark when Forest were awarded a penalty after Appiah was tripped inside the area. The Forest winger collected the ball and coolly stepped up to convert the spot-kick to put his side into a deserved lead.
Things then went from bad to worse for the visitors when Ben Hughes was shown a yellow card for a strong challenge on Alex Mighten before the Forest winger was involved in the action again. Mighten was slipped through and hauled down by Wednesday defender Connor O’Grady who was shown a straight red card.
Jimmy Gilligan’s side continued their dominance into the second half and were unlucky not to extend their lead straight away as Appiah’s mazy run caused havoc inside the Wednesday penalty area. Appiah teed up Johnson whose shot was blocked on the line before the follow up was again cleared on the line, with Forest claiming the ball hit a hand as the referee waved away appeals.
Moments later however Appiah made it two with a stunning individual goal. The youngster raced into the area, cut inside and curled a delightful effort into the top left-hand corner to give The Reds a two-goal lead.
Kieran Hayes then came on to replace Yassine En-Neyah. Alex Mighten was also causing the visitors problems on the left-flank and deserved a goal for his efforts, but he was also replaced by Kostas Megaritis.
Hayes then got on the scoresheet for The Reds when he reacted quickest after Danny Preston’s cross was spilled by the keeper, as the substitute prodded the ball over the line.
The Reds then made their final change of the evening as Owen Gallacher replaced Jake Taylor, as Anel Ahmedhodzic nearly made it four when his header from the corner was blocked on the line as Forest ran out comfortable winners.
Match report by Harry Webster and images by Callum Jordan.
Forest: Smith, Richardson, Preston (c), Yates, Ahmedhodzic, Lawrence-Gabriel, Appiah, Taylor (Gallacher 80’), En-Neyah (Hayes 63’), Johnson, Mighten (Megaritis 68’).
Subs not used: Bossin, Stewart.
Goals: Appiah pen 31', 48', Hayes 79'