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Reds edge Lions thriller

8 September 2014

Lars Veldwijk, Kelvin Wilson, Dorus de Vries and Dexter Blackstock starred as a strong-looking Nottingham Forest Under 21s side beat Millwall 4-3 in a pulsating encounter at The City Ground.

Veldwijk was on the scoresheet, along with Josh Rees and Jorge Grant, the latter grabbing two.  

In front of a healthy support, Forest were quick out of the blocks with Veldwijk close to opening the scoring, but he was unable to find the net with a close-range opportunity.  

The hosts soon had the opener in the 9th minute of the game. A beautifully weighted delivery from Oliver Burke found Rees at the back-post, who timed his run to perfection to meet the ball and divert it past Lions keeper Tom King.  

Jimmy Gilligan's men continued to press with purpose in the early exchanges. Blackstock was harrying ambitiously with the central midfield two of Jack Blake and Grant following behind, not giving Millwall a minute's peace.   

The Reds followed up their admirable play with a second goal. Veldwijk collected the ball just inside the area, made himself a yard of room and dispatched the ball nicely into the bottom corner.  

The away side struggled initially to get beyond a Forest defence that included the vastly experienced Wilson, but they got one back just before half-time.  

Fred Onyedinme beat the offside trap to get on to the end of a lofted ball over the top and calmly slotted beyond De Vries to reduce the deficit.   

The Dutch keeper made three excellent saves in the space of five second-half minutes, diving at full-stretch on all three occasions to tip the ball away from his net as wave after wave of attacks came his way.   

But moments later, Grant made the away side pay for their failure to capitalise earlier on. 

Marching through the opposition defence, Grant received the ball, gave the keeper the eyes and sent him the wrong way to restore The Reds' two-goal lead.  

With Forest well on top, they soon got their fourth. Veldwijk was played through thanks to neat work from Blackstock, and the Dutchman cut it back to Grant who ruthlessly poked the ball home to allow some breathing space.  

Spirited Millwall, managed by former Red Neil Harris, never gave up and once again got back into the game with a quality finish.  

Onyedinme took the ball out of the sky with a lovely first touch and, still on the move, he deftly chipped it over de Vries with his next touch.  

Grant came excruciatingly close to his hat-trick but his shot cannoned off the side of the post, denying him a fourth goal in three games.   

The South-London side gave themselves more than a glimmer of hope with minutes remaining, courtesy of an uncharacteristic error from de Vries. Magage Gueye escaped into a pocket of space and unleashed a 25-yard strike that slipped past the keeper and into the net. ​ 

Despite Millwall pouring forward in the final moments, Forest ran out deserved winners and have now won three games in a row, bagging an excellent total of 11 goals in the process.   

Forest: De Vries, Laing, Wilson, Riera, Wholey (Fenton 54'), O Burke (Gnahore 81'), Grant, Blake, Rees, Veldwijk, Blackstock (Walker 63')

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