Matty Fryatt's 25th-minute strike gave Nottingham Forest a 1-0 pre-season friendly win over West Bromwich Albion this afternoon.
Forest's new striker produced a fine finish after good build-up play from Danny Fox and Chris Burke to give The Reds a well-deserved win over their Premier League opponents at The City Ground.
There were places in the starting line-up for new signings Fryatt, Michael Mancienne, Burke and Jack Hunt while Jack Hobbs and Chris Cohen returned from injury to take a spot on the bench. The latter having not played a game since damaging his cruciate in November.
Stuart Pearce received a hero’s welcome as he took his place in the City Ground dugout for the first time but he was soon forced to make a change to his side as Mikele Leigertwood picked up a knock on 21 minutes and had to be replaced by young midfielder Jorge Grant.
There had been a lack of goalscoring opportunities in the opening stages but Forest did make the breakthrough on 25 minutes with a fine piece of team play.
Danny Fox’s raking diagonal ball from left to right found Chris Burke in the right-hand channel. Forest’s newest signing beat his man and raced into the penalty area and despite having a chance to shoot himself, he unselfishly squared the ball to Fryatt who coolly slotted past Ben Foster.
The visitors had done nothing to test the hands of Karl Darlow throughout the first half but did have a sight of goal on 32 minutes. Youssouf Mulumbu found Saido Berahino on the edge of the Forest box but he struck his shot high and wide of the target.
Pearce’s men had been playing some excellent football and almost doubled their lead shortly before the break. Jamie Paterson swung in a devilish cross from the left which Jonas Olsson almost turned into his own net. Michael Mancienne headed over from the resulting corner.
Albion manager Alan Irvine made a double change at half-time with Joleon Lescott and Victor Anichebe replacing Olsson and Claudio Yacob but he almost saw his side slip further behind early in the second half.
Fryatt broke through the offside trap to race into the right-wing channel and delivered a low cross into the six-yard box. Andy Reid did everything right by keeping the ball on target but saw his effort blocked by the legs of Foster.
The visitors noticeably turned up the tempo in the early stages of the second half and could have levelled on 50 minutes. Graham Dorrans swung in a cross from the right but Craig Dawson’s header drifted inches wide of Darlow’s far post.
The Reid-Fryatt combination almost doubled the Forest lead soon after. The Irishman broke past Andre Wisdom and reached the by-line but after latching onto Reid’s cross, Fryatt was just off target with his low effort.
Pearce made another double change just after the hour mark and it brought the City Ground crowd to its feet. Mancienne and Dan Harding made way as Cohen and Hobbs took their place to the delight of the Reds’ faithful.
And the Forest captain wasted no time in making an impact as he almost helped create a second goal for his side. Cohen produced a whipped-in cross from the left but Fryatt was unable to make a full connection from six yards out with his back to goal.
A raft of Reds substitutions followed on 73 minutes with De Vries, Halford, Laing, Mackie and Veldwijk replacing Darlow, Hunt, Reid, Burke and Fryatt respectively.
There were late half-chances for both sides including a good save from De Vries to deny Kemar Roofe and a shot from Veldwijk into the body of Foster but Forest saw out the remaining minutes to head into the Championship season on the back of a deserved victory.
Darlow (De Vries 72'), Harding (Cohen 62'), Mancienne (Hobbs 62'), Fox (Collins 81'), Hunt (Laing 73') Paterson (McLaughlin 55'), Osborn, Leigertwood (Grant 21'), Reid (Halford 73'), Burke (Mackie 73'), Fryatt (Veldwijk 73')
Sub not used: Cox
Scorer: Fryatt 25'
West Bromwich Albion: Foster, Wisdom, Dawson, Olsson (Lescott 46' (O'Neil 79')), Pocognoli (Garmston 85'), Baird, Gardner, Mulumbu (Brunt 72'), Yacob (Anichebe 46'), Dorrans, Berahino (Roofe 77')
Subs not used: Myhill, A Nabi
Referee: Andre Marriner
Attendance: 6,423 (1,098 away)