James Thorne notched twice to ease Nottingham Forest's Under 21s to a 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town on Saturday afternoon.The striker took his tally in the season to four goals from three games with a couple of well-taken strikes as The Reds boasted a clinical touch at Huddersfield's Canalside training complex in West Yorkshire.
Jamie Fullarton made eight changes to the side that were edged out by Coventry City in front of 491 spectators at The City Ground last week. Joe Worrall, Jack Kelly and Thorne were the sole survivors, with the likes of Matty Cash, Luke Thomas and Alex Iacovitti returning to the starting line-up.
Forest began in a 4-4-2 formation as Thorne and Nikolay Todorov occupied the forward positions, while skipper Worrall partnered Iacovitti in central defence, with the latter recently receiving a call-up to Scotland's Under 19s squad by coach and former Reds midfielder Scot Gemmill, who spent nine years on Trentside.
But it was the hosts who got off to a more positive start and they hit the crossbar through Duane Holmes' strike, before captain Joe Wilkinson missed a glorious opportunity from close range which he got horribly wrong.
Despite the home side having marginally the better of the encounter early on, Forest remained confident with the ball at their feet and looked intent on moving it around quickly. Cash, in a more withdrawn role than his central midfield colleague Yates, was keen to assert authority and send accurate long-range passes to wingers Thomas and Deimantas Petravicius.
Left back Kelly curled a 30-yarder towards goal that evaded the post which had keeper Ed Wilczynski at full-stretch, but Forest's offensive endeavours increased and they were rewarded by getting the opening goal just past the half-hour mark.
Thorne capitalised on a mistake by Fraser Horsfall, showed excellent acceleration to escape the defender and opened his body up smartly to help place into the bottom far corner. Impressive link up play was nearly the route for a second as Todorov headed back across goal for Thorne who powered into the net, although the linesman adjudged the muscly forward to be offside.
The Reds carried on in the same vein in the opening stages of the second period with Thorne in the thick of it. The ex-Manchester City academy man saw a shot blocked, and in his next action the ball sped across from a set-piece towards his direction which he glanced narrowly past the post.
Huddersfield refused to let Forest completely control proceedings though and Sondre Tronstad fired wide from distance. Ross Durrant was forced to make a tremendous stop from a Jake Charles darting side-footer that he tipped past the post, which was duly punished as Thorne potently doubled the lead moments later.
The hungry striker had the ball 25 yards from goal, bypassed the defender with a rapid step-over and unleashed a thunderbolt which skidded off the turf and straight past Wilczynski's outstretched hand into the corner.
Hosts Huddersfield looked keen to respond and Charles had another sighter of goal, however Durrant was once again staying stubborn with a terrific save from a shot that looked destined for the net.
Thorne was chasing a hat-trick and the match ball could've been his with his header in the closing stages going inches wide, before the heavily involved attacker was unselfish to lay off Yates whose deflected drive also avoided the post by a small margin as the clock ticked on towards the end of a professional display by the youngsters to claim their second victory of the campaign.
Fullarton's Under 21s will be looking to continue the winning feeling when they take on Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road on Friday 4 September (7pm kick-off).
Forest: Durrant, Rees, Worrall, Iacovitti, Kelly, Petravicius, Cash, Yates, Thomas (Austin 69'), Thorne, Todorov (Walton 79')