Substitute Tom Gamblen came off the bench to grab the winner as Nottingham Forest's Under 18s squeezed past Aston Villa on Saturday morning.Gamblen's late tap-in ensured the Reds went the whole pre-season campaign unbeaten, and a magnificent defensive display means they've completed pre-season without conceding a single goal.
The Nigel Doughty Academy was the stage as Forest welcomed a Category One club to round off their preparations, with first-team coaches Steve Wigley and Brian Eastick keeping a firm eye on proceedings.
Villa started on the front foot with Rushian Hepburn-Murphy's flair triggering early cause for concern.
The pacey striker tricked his way into the box past a few defenders, but couldn't get a clean enough shot away to trouble trialist keeper Andreas Raahauge.
Forest's central-defensive partnership of Joe Worrall and Alex Iacovitti looked desperate to extend their clean sheet streak, and soon wised up to Hepburn-Murphy's threat.
Gary Brazil's men got progressively better as the half went on, with Oliver Burke and Dylan Burns both looking bright.
Kasheme Walton had Burke to thank for the opportunity of the first-half. Following a characteristically powerful run from the winger, a neat cross was delivered for Walton's head, but he was denied by Dylan Forth's stop.
The hosts didn't let the half-time break halt their stride, and Adam Crookes had a golden opportunity to open the scoring early in the second period, but his header was frustratingly cleared off the line.
Hepburn-Murphy was keen to impose his threat once again with a rare forage beyond the defenders, but Richard Dearle was on hand to make a comfortable save at his near post, as Forest's well-structured back-line was proving difficult to break down.
The heat began to takes its toll and it would either be a lapse in concentration or fresh legs that would decide the encounter.
It was the latter and the Reds were rewarded for their endeavours as three substitutes combined with a quarter of an hour remaining.
Luke Thomas sprinted free down the left, found the deft headed flick of Gerry McDonagh which landed perfectly for Gamblen arriving at the back post to poke in from a yard out.
Forest closed the game out with maturity and a professional edge and will now go into their opening competitive fixture full of confidence.
Brazil's men head to Millwall for their first league game of the season on Saturday (16 August, 12pm kick-off).
Forest starting XI: Trialist, Worthington, Worrall, Iacovitti, Kelly, Burke, Crookes, Yates, Burns, Walton, Austin