Nottingham Forest's Under 18s went down to a 4-1 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday this morning.Four first-half goals were more than enough to knock the stuffing out of The Reds despite Kasheme Walton's goal giving them slim hope.
Jimmy Gilligan's men were looking to bounce back from their gruelling 6-4 defeat at Huddersfield Town with another visit to Yorkshire, but got off to the worst possible start.
With only 60 seconds on the clock, striker Jake Ellam found room on the edge of the area and unleashed a terrific half-volley which flew past Richard Dearle.
The away side were struggling to cope with Wednesday's pace from wide areas and that was soon to be the route of their second goal.
A precise cross from Franck Betra found Ellam in plenty of room at the back post and confidently volleyed it home with his side-foot.
Success down the flanks continued to be the effective way forward for Wednesday, with left-footers Jack Kelly and Jermaine Worthington both forced to be makeshift right-backs in the half.
Tricky work from Betra freed up space 25 yards from goal and he pulled off a superb, rasping drive which rebounded off the post to safety.
Wilfred Gnahore's presence in midfield for the injured Elvis Otim gave Forest a welcome boost, as the Ivorian found space and looked assured.
Admirable interplay between Gerry McDonagh and Walton saw the former use his strength to ride out challenges, and deliver a perfect ball for Walton who slotted past Cameron Dawson to pull one back.
Before Forest had a chance to smell an equaliser, The Owls regained their two-goal lead.
Jack Stobbs sprinted in behind the defence and got away a cross-cum-shot from a tight angle, which was helped into the net by a desperately unlucky Worthington as he worked back to clear it away.
The Reds couldn't look after the ball for long and Wednesday got in for a fourth.
David Arrowsmith's slip midway inside his own half gave Betra the licence to race away with the ball, and he lethally put the game to bed with a magnificent strike from 20 yards.
The second 45 minutes was a tighter affair, with The Owls content with settling back in possession, without applying too much penetration.
Forest's lack of concentration with the ball was their downfall throughout, with dangerman Oliver Burke, on the back of a 13 minute cameo for the U21s on Friday, only showing fleeting glimpses from the scraps he muster.
The last action of the game saw a late show of petulance from Danny Elliott, who hacked down Stobbs and collected a yellow card. Refusing to walk to the referee to receive the card meant a second yellow for the frustrated Elliott.
The Reds now face Ipswich Town away on Saturday April 5, their penultimate fixture of the league season.
Team: Dearle, Kelly, Elliott, E.Otim (Gnahore 25'), Arrowsmith, Iacovitti, Burke, Gamblen, McDonagh (Mulraney 70'), Walton (Sayoud 79'), Worthington