Nottingham Forest exited the Under 21 Premier League Cup following a cruel 2-1 defeat to West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns this evening.Josh Rees’ goal midway through the first half had seemed enough to give The Reds the win but Aaron Birch popped up in second half stoppage time to level the scores and send the game into extra time.
A strike from Kemar Roofe eight minutes into the first period of extra time was enough to send Albion through to the last 16 and leave Forest to reflect on a heartbreaking ending to the match.
Forest made a bright start to the contest and could have had the lead on 16 minutes. Albion goalkeeper Jack Rose failed to collect a Jake Wholey cross but Rees could only head against the crossbar from six yards out.
Charlie McParland’s side were playing with a good tempo and were moving the ball superbly. It was no surprise when they took the lead on 25 minutes as the home side failed to clear, leaving Rees to steal the ball off the defender and slot home under the body of Rose.
The home side should have been level on 52 minutes but wasted a golden opportunity. Forest couldn’t clear their lines and as the ball fell to Alex Jones just outside the six yard box, the striker could only lash over Dimitar Evtimov’s crossbar.
Jones was proving to be a constant thorn in Forest’s side and he could have equalised on 69 minutes. After spinning on the penalty spot, he improvised superbly but his shot narrowly cleared Evtimov’s bar for a second time.
The Baggies did grab an equaliser in the first of four minutes of stoppage time however. Birch was left unmarked inside the six yard box and he was able to turn the ball past the stranded Evtimov to send the game into extra time.
And with eight minutes played in extra time, Roofe evaded the challenges of two Forest defenders before firing low past Evtimov into the far corner of the net.
Despite heaping pressure on the Albion goal in the second period of extra time, The Reds were undeservedly knocked out of the competition after leading for so long on the night.
Forest: Evtimov, Pritchard (Kamaneno 102’), Wholey, Osborn, Worrall, Karo, Otim (Gnahore 86), Rees, J.Davies (M.Davies 75), Grant, Wallace
Subs not used: Smith, Gorman
Scorer: Rees 25’
Albion: Rose, Gayle, Garmston, O’Neil (Birch 79), Daniels, C.Jones, Roofe, Atkinson, A.Jones, O’Sullivan (Thomas 86), Francis (Sweeney 79)
Subs not used: Palmer, Hallahan
Scorers: Birch 90’, Roofe 98’