Nottingham Forest’s Under 21s secured a comfortable 3-0 victory over Birmingham City at The City Ground this evening.Goals from Jack Blake, Josh Rees and Marcus Tudgay gave them a deserved win in front of a healthy crowd on Trentside.
Forest made the brighter start on a sunny evening at The City Ground but there was a lengthy delay early on due to an injury to Birmingham full-back Nathaniel Kelly, who was stretchered off following a challenge with Michael Hollingsworth.
Blake had the first real chances of the night, heading over from Hollingsworth’s cross to the back post before running through on goal and placing a soft shot straight at goalkeeper Townsend.
The Reds were playing some excellent football on the deck and soon had further chances to take the lead. Rees fired over from Jorge Grant’s cross before Tudgay’s curling shot was deflected wide and out for a corner.
Birmingham had their best opportunities shortly before the interval as Liam Truslove was denied by a smart stop from Jordan Smith before Ari Kamaneno was on hand to clear a header off the line for Forest as the first half ended goalless.
The visitors picked up where they left off in the second half as the stronger side and should have been ahead just before the hour mark.
Adda Djeziri struck a 25-yard effort against the Forest crossbar before Smith produced a stunning double save to repel Djeziri and then Truslove, both from close range.
But after riding that wave of Birmingham pressure, it was The Reds who took the lead just after the hour.
Ben Osborn found enough space on the edge of the area to get away from his man and slide a through ball to Blake. The midfielder had been left unmarked inside the box and he had no hesitation in firing past Townsend to put Forest ahead.
And with Birmingham still reeling from going behind, Forest put the game to bed with two more goals in the space of as many minutes.
First, a header from Tudgay set Osborn away inside the penalty area and he unselfishly squared the ball to Rees who tapped home into an unguarded net before Tudgay and Rees combined inside the box as the former Sheffield Wednesday man lashed home a third.
Osborn had an effort ruled out for offside with four minutes to go, as he turned in Derrick Otim’s attempted strike, but Forest were content with the three goals they already had and could reflect on a successful night’s work.
Subs not used: Petravicius, Worrall
Booking: Morgan 23’
Scorers: Blake 63’, Rees 71’, Tudgay 73’
Birmingham: Townsend, Higgins, Kelly (Moseley 12’), Truslove, Packwood (Soloman-Otabor 60’), Fry, Gray, Gamiette, Djeziri, Hales, Arthur (Brown 45’)
Subs not used: Preston