Nottingham Forest Under 23s were condemned to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Birmingham City in the Professional Development League this afternoon.
A late winner from substitute Jude Bellingham was enough to secure all three points for the visitors in a frustrating afternoon at The City Ground for The Reds.
Jimmy Gilligan made five changes to the side that defeated Exeter City in the Premier League Cup last weekend with Tim Erlandsson, Danny Preston, Yassine En-Neyah, Ryan Yates and Kostas Megaritis coming into the side.
The first chance went Forest's way on seven minutes as some good build up played through Kostas Megaritis who could only fire his shot straight at the Birmingham City 'keeper. Gboly Ariyibi had another opportunity a minute later but his free-kick on the edge of the area went over the bar.
The visitors then enjoyed a good spell for the remainder of the first-half with numerous chances to take the lead. Kyle Hurst went close first when he picked up the ball in the area and volleyed over the bar. The Blues then had a double chance with Tommy Anderson's effort missing the target followed by Kyle McFarlane's effort which forced Tim Erlandsson into a good save.
Some valiant defending from Anel Ahmedhodzic kept Birmingham out midway through the first-half after Geraldo Bajrami's shot before Caolan Boyd-Munce was shown a yellow card for a late challenge on a Forest man.
Jayden Richardson did spark some energy into the The Reds on 30 minutes when his wonderful run down the flank saw him race into the area, cutting inside and firing an effort at Michael Luyambula in the Birmingham City goal who palmed it away.
The Blues were then denied by the woodwork twice as Cameron McGilp's curled effort bounced off the far post. Ten minutes later, Ryan Burke's thunderous effort from 25-yards out smashed off the crossbar as Forest were let off going into the break.
Birmingham had a great chance to break the deadlock a minute into the second-half as McFarlane was played through on goal but his shot didn't trouble Erlandsson. The Reds then made a change as Kostas Megaritis came off to be replaced by Jordan Lawrence-Gabriel.
Some more heroic defending from Anel Ahmedhodzic kept The Blues out as his goal-line clearance denied Tommy Anderson who rounded the goalkeeper. Ahmedhodzic got an injury for his troubles as he collided with the post seeing him carried off, seeing him replaced by Jake Taylor.
The Reds started to increase the intensity, putting the visitors under some pressure. First, Virgil Gomis beat his man with a trick and his shot was pushed out for a corner. From the resultant corner, the ball was fizzed across the face of goal, but nobody was on hand to turn the ball home.
Forest did then have the ball in net as Jayden Richardson nodded in from close range, but the referee ruled it out as the linesman deemed the ball had gone out of play beforehand. Forest's best chance of the game came on 76 minutes when Gomis got on the end off a superb cross from the right, but his header was well saved by The Blues custodian.
Victor Sodeinde for Yassine En-Neyah was the final change for The Reds as they searched for the winner, but it was the visitors who got it. Substitute Jude Bellingham pounced on a defensive mix-up in the Forest back four as he prodded the ball over the line to earn his side all three points.
Forest: Erlandsson, Richardson, Preston, Coveney (c), Ahmedhodzic (Taylor 56'), Stewart, En-Neyah (Sodeinde 81'), Yates, Gomis, Megaritis (Lawrence-Gabriel 52'), Ariyibi
Subs not used: Wright, Fornah