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First win for Under 18s

22 September 2014

Two strikes from Luke Thomas catapulted Nottingham Forest's Under 18s to their first victory of the season over Charlton Athletic on Saturday afternoon.

Jack Lester's men ended The Addicks' unbeaten run at The Nigel Doughty Academy thanks to Thomas's brace and a first competitive goal of the season for Tom Gamblen.

The first half was a scrappy affair with Charlton coming into the game on the back of three wins in their last four and while the visitors were confident in possession, Forest coped relatively easily.

Both sides looked willing to dictate but cancelled each other out and it took until the 23rd minute for a creditable opportunity.

Charlton full back Calvin Andrews made his way forward and took advantage of sleepy defending but his shot tamely dribbled into Richard Dearle's grasp.

Forest were missing many stalwarts of the side including Jack Kelly and Adam Crookes and for the opening 45 minutes it showed as they lacked a real flow.

The second half needed to be brighter for the crowd that consisted of former Forest boss Paul Hart.

In their previous four league games, Forest's dominance hadn't translated into positive results but on this occasion the attacking arsenal were at the races and the hosts took the lead in the 53rd minute.

Substitute Aidan Austin made an instant impact. After finding space he slipped Thomas through who ignored the attempts of the keeper to close down the angle and coolly caressed the ball past Sam Bone.

Joe Worrall and David Arrowsmith were performing stoutly in the centre of defence when called upon with Alex Iacovitti adapting to the unfamiliar position of left back admirably.

Worrall had the next chance from a set-piece but his acrobatic effort went powerfully over from close-range. Joshua Umerah sent a warning message moments later with a header that cannoned off the crossbar.

The next goal would be crucial and soon after the hosts doubled their lead. Magnificent wing-play from Liam Adams saw him escape the defender and he teed it up perfectly for Gamblen who smashed the ball in on the half-volley.

The South London outfit still refused to go down without a fight and Dearle made an excellent stop to his left to deny Alex Kelly's powerful shot from ten yards.

With seconds left on the clock and the result in no doubt, Forest and the lively Thomas wrapped the game up in style.

The winger-turned-forward picked up the ball 25 yards out, ran forward with menace and unleashed a drive that was too hot for Bone to handle and it found the corner of his net.

The Reds have picked up four points from two difficult games against Crystal Palace and Charlton Athletic and are now picking up momentum and being rewarded for their bright play.

Lester's side next face Colchester United on their travels on Saturday (27 September, 12pm kick-off).

Forest: Dearle, Diallo, Worrall, Arrowsmith, Iacovitti, Adams (Hayes 86'), Gamblen, Yates, Otim, Thomas, Walton (Austin 50')

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