Tyler Walker grabbed the equaliser as Nottingham Forest U18's fought back from two-goals down at Crystal Palace this afternoon.It was the least that Jack Lester's men deserved in the game after having the lions' share of possession. The Reds' immediately set about pressing Palace with a new 4-5-1 system, with Gerry McDonagh the lone front-man supported by Walker and Liam Adams on the wings.
Tom Gamblen, Adam Crookes and Ryan Yates packed the centre of midfield allowing the wide men freedom to roam.
Forest had the first sight of goal early on but Jack Kelly's well-timed volley was watched wide by the goalkeeper.
Adams was the next to come close for the away side. The tireless winger took the ball down neatly at the back post and laced it towards goal but it was palmed away.
McDonagh was his usual nuisance-self up top and the new look formation seemed to be working a treat until The Eagles flew forward.
Striker Corie Andrews glided past the previously comfortable defenders and stroked the ball past Richard Dearle to put his side ahead.
The Reds' would've been right to feel somewhat aggrieved given the manner of their display, but it soon got worse.
Pace again was their worst enemy and following good approach play, Aaron Bissaka accelerated away and passed the ball into the corner of the net. Fresh from encouraging half time words from Kevin MacDonald and Lester,
Forest continued the second period in a similar vein to the first. Kelly's energy and technique was proving to be an interesting alley to explore and they soon started their fightback via that route.
His excellent left-footed peach of a delivery found David Arrowsmith's head and he powered the ball into the bottom corner.
Forest carried on asserting their quality and showed the character and fight that's running through the whole club at the moment.
Aidan Austin's introduction helped force Palace back into their own half even further. The Nike Academy product probed purposefully down the right and scooped a superb ball to Adams, who stooped low to head into the side-netting.
Walker had Austin to thank for his 1st goal of the campaign minutes later. The latter whipped a lovely ball in on his supposed weaker right-foot, and the striker instinctively stuck out a foot to guide the ball past the keeper for the leveller.
The team that looked likely to get a third were Forest. Austin was once again involved unleashing a pile-driver from distance which went inches over.
In the last action of the match, Forest produced an outstanding move. Quality pass-and-move play gave Kelly time to burst into space just inside the area and when found, he lashed the ball narrowly past the post.
Although they arguably warranted the three points, the fight they showed to get back into the game after two harsh blows will serve them well heading into future fixtures.
Lester's men next face Charlton at The Nigel Doughty Academy, Saturday 20 September (12pm kick off)
Starting XI: Dearle, Diallo, Arrowsmith, Worrall, Kelly, Yates, Gamblen (Walton 89'), Crookes, Adams (E Otim 83'), Walker, McDonagh (Austin 50')