Nottingham Forest Under 18s secured a comfortable 2-0 win over Barnsley on Saturday morning to move within three points of league leaders Sheffield Wednesday.
A first-half header from captain Riley Harbottle before a fine strike late on from Oliver Hammond secured the win for The Reds who bounced back from defeat two weeks ago.
Gareth Holmes’ side were in the ascendancy from the off with Keith Asare coming close with a curled effort just wide of the post. But it was Michael Statham in the Forest goal who was forced into action first when he did well to tip an effort wide of the post.
Riley Harbottle then put The Reds into the lead on 14 minutes when the Forest captain headed home a fine cross.
Chances continued to come for Forest who were unable to convert them. First, Oliver Hammond’s teasing ball across the face of goal caused all sorts of problems for the Barnsley defence who just managed to flick it away from the path of Jack Sherlock who was ready to take the chance. Hammond was involved in the action again soon after when his shot in front of goal was well blocked by a Barnsley man.
On the brink of half-time, Malique Spooner had a chance when he burst into the box and fired a shot at goal which was saved by the ‘keeper.
Forest continued to do well in the second-half and Fin Back was close to making it two when his header drifted just wide of the post. Gareth Holmes then made his first change when Sam Greenwood came on to replace Josh Barnes.
The Reds continued to defend their one goal advantage well and that was exemplified by Fin Back’s superb block to deny a volley that was destined for the target.
Lewis Darlington came on to replace Jack Sherlock on 89 minutes and Forest’s display was rewarded moments after when Oliver Hammond capped off a fine performance with an excellent strike into the bottom corner to seal all three points for The Reds.
Match report by Harry Webster and images provided by Callum Jordan.
Forest: Statham, Mellors, Spooner, Dekel-Daks, Barnes (Greenwood 70’), Harbottle (c), Back, Trialist, Sherlock (Darlington 89’), Asare, Hammond
Subs not used: Liburd-Hines, Bello, Durose
Goals: Harbottle 14’, Hammond 89’