Nottingham Forest Under 23s suffered their fourth straight defeat in the Professional Development League on Monday night, losing 2-1 at home to Bolton Wanderers.
A late penalty from Brennan Johnson gave The Reds some hope but second-half goals from Luca Navarro and Shakeel Jones was enough for the visitors to secure all three points.
The Reds made a positive start to the contest when Jayden Richardson’s long cross nearly caught out the Bolton goalkeeper, forcing him to parry the ball away to safety. Two minutes later, Gboly Ariyibi’s terrific cross found the head of Brennan Johnson who could only direct his header straight at James Aspinall in the Bolton goal.
Bolton saw much of the ball in the first 20 minutes but failed to test Stephen Henderson in the Forest goal, though it was Forest who continued to come closer to breaking the deadlock. Anel Ahmedhodzic’s terrific run from his own half took the ball into the Bolton penalty area, teeing up Johnson who prodded his effort straight at the ‘keeper.
But The Trotters did come close on 34 minutes when Luca Navarro tried his luck from long-range and he wasn’t far away with his effort edging just wide of the far post. On the brink of half-time Stephen Henderson was shown a yellow card after the referee deemed him to have brought down the Bolton man on the edge of the penalty area. From the resultant free-kick, Luca Connell whipped his effort just wide of the post.
Bolton were quickest out of the blocks after the break and The Reds soon found themselves two goals down. Luca Navarro broke the deadlock on 58 minutes when the ball was pulled back to him inside the area, as he lofted the ball high into the net. Just three minutes later they doubled their lead when a swift counter-attack was converted home by Shakeel Jones.
Alex Mighten came on for The Reds, replacing Yassine En-Neyah, as the home side looked for some inspiration. Henderson was then called into action for Forest as he tipped over a powerful strike from Luca Connell. Victor Sodeinde came on to replace Trialist, and Shakeel Jones was shown a yellow card for Bolton after a challenge on Alex Mighten.
But Forest had some hope when they were awarded a penalty on 79 minutes after James Aspinall hauled down a Forest man inside the area. Johnson stepped up to take it and he coolly converted it to make it 2-1 to the visitors with ten minutes to go.
Forest pushed for an equaliser, as Richardson was given a yellow card for a strong challenge on Johan Zouma, but it didn’t come as the visitors went back to Lancashire with all three points.
Nottingham Forest: Henderson, Richardson, Preston (c), Taylor, Ahmedhodzic, Lawrence-Gabriel, Ariyibi (Gallacher 79’), Fornah, Trialist (Sodeinde 71’), Johnson, En-Neyah (Mighten 63’).
Subs not used: Bossin, Harbottle.