Two first-team players were on the scoresheet as Nottingham Forest’s Under 21s beat Crewe 3-1 this afternoon.
Lars Veldwijk and Jamie Paterson turned the match on its head after Callam Saunders handed the visitors a first-half lead against the run of play at the Nigel Doughty Academy.
Josh Rees, who was dangerous throughout, rounded off the scoring and The Reds saw the match out comfortably.
Dorus de Vries and Jamaal Lascelles were also in the starting line-up, and Forest started the match the stronger of the two sides. Oliver Burke went close twice early on, drawing a save from experienced Crewe keeper Scott Shearer before heading the ball over from Jack Kelly’s corner.
But the Railwaymen scored an unlikely opener on 17 minutes when Saunders latched on to a long ball over the top, took the ball away from Lascelles and finished well past de Vries.
The Reds were dominating possession but failing to create clear-cut opportunities, and they were nearly stung for a second time on 32 minutes when Saunders tricked his way into the box before striking the post with his shot.
John Johnson also hit the woodwork for the visitors before Rees was left frustrated when he failed to turn the ball home with his back to goal following a corner.
But Forest had a deserved equaliser in first-half injury time after Paterson made a strong run down the left and crossed the ball into the middle, where Veldwijk produced an excellent header to leave a sprawling Shearer helpless.
The Dutchman continued his good work after the break, drawing a fumble from Shearer after spinning and shooting from the edge of the area, before Paterson put Forest ahead when he curled the ball low around the wall and into the bottom corner with a free-kick from the edge of the area.
Veldwijk and Rees both had chances to put Forest further ahead before Joe Worrall, who had replaced Lascelles at the interval, was called in to divert Crewe winger Billy Waters’ shot away from goal.
Saunders tested de Vries shortly afterwards but the keeper was equal to the striker’s first-time effort, before Rees missed an excellent chance when put through one-on-one by Veldwijk.
But the Reds midfielder scored the goal his performance deserved when Tyler Walker, on for Paterson, produced an excellent run and cross, leaving Shearer stranded and presenting Rees with an easy header to put the game out of Crewe’s reach.
Matty Cash had put in a lively performance in midfield and, just as he did for Paterson’s goal, he won a free-kick on the edge of the area late on. Kelly curled the ball over the wall and was unlucky to see Shearer produce an excellent save to deny the left back an excellent goal.
Forest: De Vries; Polimos, Lascelles (Worrall), Riera, Kelly; Veldwijk (Labonne), Cash, Crookes, Rees, Paterson (Walker); Burke