Nottingham Forest's Under 18s commendable fightback wasn't enough to prevent defeat in a ten-goal thriller at Huddersfield Town this afternoon.The Reds hit back from three goals down to draw level at 4-4, but the table-topping Terriers found late energy to squeeze past Jimmy Gilligan’s side.
Both teams played their part in a high-tempo, fast-flowing game despite the soaked conditions. There were chances aplenty from the off with Huddersfield's Jake Charles being put through on goal but he could only fire wide of Richard Dearle's goal.
Forest's Derrick Otim was a valuable threat throughout and saw an early sight of the goal, firing a deflected shot which keeper Sam Guthrie gratefully held.
Huddersfield's first-half rout started somewhat fortunately, but it was deserved. Winger Ben Holmes curled over a cross that evaded the defenders, and snuck in off the post, much to Dearle's annoyance.
The home side piled on the pressure from there on in. The energetic Ben Atkinson spurned a simple close-range opportunity, but they didn't have to wait long to further Forest's misery. Superb work from Jack Boyle provided a beautiful cross for the leap of Atkinson, who this time made no mistake, powerfully dispatching.
Forest were still posing many threats, but their lack of conviction going forward nullified their attacks.
Probe after probe from Huddersfield saw a third goal inside the space of 15 first-half minutes to seemingly put the game to bed. Charles found space in the area and had time to pick his spot, which he did with poise past a helpless Dearle.
Forest gave themselves a glimmer of hope before the break with a goal. Gerry McDonaugh's testing efforts inside the box invited the foul, and the striker duly converted.
After the break the away side were intent on getting it wide, with Oliver Burke providing a rapid outlet to rely on but just as they were beginning to assert some authority with neat football, a cruel blow came their way.
Florent Bojaj was played in behind the Forest backline and confidently stroked the ball into the corner but Gilligan’s men refused to put their heads down and the fightback started instantly.
Derrick Otim took up a pocket of space centrally on the edge of the area, collected the ball, opened up and unleashed a piledriver past an outstretched Guthrie.
With the boosted belief, the third came soon after as McDonaugh's industrious forward-play earned himself room and from close range he prodded the ball in.
Kasheme Walton's introduction off the bench brought much needed pace to the Forest attack in the second half but it was luck rather than skill that levelled this pulsating encounter.
Walton's 20-yard shot looked as if it'd be a comfortable gather for Guthrie, but the slippery conditions forced the quick bounce off the turf, and the unfortunate keeper could only spill the ball behind himself and into the net.
The high energy approach was taken by both sides to the game and it was who would tire first that would be decisive. Forest centre-back David Arrowsmith was adjudged to have tugged substitute Rekeil Pyke, and Bojaj stepped up to place it past Dearle.
Huddersfield could sense their opponents were on the ropes and soon delivered the knockout blow.
Destructive pace proved to be an issue for the Forest defence all afternoon, and Pyke was allowed to get in behind once again and with little pressure struck it left-footed into the bottom corner to put the game beyond doubt.
The Reds couldn't follow up Saturday's 1-0 victory over Derby with a win and their search for their first back-to-back victories in the calendar year goes on. A valiant effort against the league-leaders will give them much belief.
The Under 18s’ next fixture is away at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday 29 March (kick-off 11am).
Team: Dearle, Worrall, Arrowsmith, Iacovitti, Kelly, Burke, E.Otim, Worthington, McDonaugh, D.Otim, Sayoud