Gerry McDonagh scored on his return to the side as Nottingham Forest's Under 18s fought back to draw 1-1 at Birmingham City yesterday.It was a dour, weather-affected affair in the West Midlands with rain teeming down from start to finish with the wind competing to have its say too.
Richard Dearle was tested early on from a Kieran Dunbar shot but the game was relatively lifeless until the hosts took the lead on the half-hour mark.
Ismael Diallo conceded a penalty after bringing down Kyle McFarlane and the striker wiped the mud from his knees to convert from the spot past Dearle.
The Forest keeper had to be alert once again to ensure the Reds didn't leak another before the break as he denied a left-footed lash from George O'Neill.
The second half followed the same pattern as the first but Kevin MacDonald's side woke up a little and adapted to the conditions. The decision to shift McDonagh from right-midfield to a forward position and then introduce Jack Kelly and Adam Crookes proved pivotal.
It was the former who brought the visitors level after fantastic play from Andreas Karo who advanced from right-back against the wind before putting in a peach of a ball for McDonagh to poke home from close range.
Dearle was again called into action two minutes after the leveller to make a point-blank stop after good approach play from the Blues.
The best opportunity for a winner came for the busy McDonagh. The Irishman lurked inside the 18-yard box and he was fortunate to see the ball fall for him 10 yards out in a central position, but with the goal gaping he spooned it wildly over much to the shock of his team-mates.
Forest looked a lot more threatening in the closing minutes with McDonagh, Kasheme Walton, Luke Thomas and Liam Adams making up a dangerous-looking attack, but the final ball was lacking with the unbearable winds getting the better of both sides on the day.
MacDonald's side now have a two-week break and are next in action at home to Crewe Alexandra on Saturday (22 November).
Jimmy Gilligan is likely to include a number of the Under 18s squad in the Under 21s game against Leeds United on Monday at the Nigel Doughty Academy (10 November).
Forest: Dearle, Karo, Arrowsmith, Iacovitti, Diallo (Kelly 66'), McDonagh, Yates, Worthington (Crookes 66'), Adams, Walton, Thomas