Striker Ben Brereton bagged his fourth goal in three matches as Nottingham Forest's Under 18s suffered a 3-1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.The Reds showed glimpses of quality but were subjected to their first loss of the season at the hands of their clinical opponents in South Yorkshire despite Brereton dispatching his third penalty in as many games.
Under 18s manager Jack Lester made two changes to the side that eased past Huddersfield Town last Tuesday with a 4-2 victory, as Tim Erlandsson and Alex Iacovitti replaced Richard Dearle and Joe Re.
Second-year scholar Iacovitti, whose impressive performances have seen him progress to training with Dougie Freedman's first team squad, began the game at centre half alongside Jordan Gabriel while Ismael Diallo and Tom Gamblen occupied the full back positions.
Duo Kieran Hayes and Brereton started the game in the forward areas for Forest, but it was the hosts who got off to the better start and they took the lead on 7 minutes. George Hurst received the ball, advanced forward and placed well into the corner past Erlandsson to give his team the lead.
And Hayes soon started to produce some energy in the attacking quarters as Forest grew into the game, running he channels and using his quick feet to take on defenders. Ex-Manchester United youngster Jake Taylor continued in an attempt to engineer good football beside the passionate Ryan Yates at the heart of midfield.
However it was the Owls who doubled their advantage in spectacular style. A ball was played over the top for Matt Penney who caught it perfectly on his left foot to rifle into the net via the inside of the post.
Forest were stunned into action and upped the pressure shortly afterwards to force the issue and hopefully halve the deficit. Brereton had a side-footed opportunity comfortably saved by the keeper in a dangerous situation, although he made amends on the stroke of half-time.
The Reds were awarded their third penalty in three games and Brereton stepped up looking assured to tuck away into the corner to offer his team some hope.
Lester freshened things up at the break as Joe Re came on to slot in at right back, while physical striker Gerry McDonagh made a first competitive appearance of the campaign following a minor injury. The Irishman immediately put himself about to distract defenders with his presence, allowing his colleagues to roam into space in offensive areas.
Brereton soon benefitted, finding himself through on goal before having his effort cleared off the line by the desperate defender. Iacovitti had to do some last-ditch defending himself at the other end with an excellent diving tackle with the Owls' attacker racing towards goal.
Four minutes later, the South Yorkshire outfit regained their two-goal lead with their third midway through the second period through Fraser Preston who grafted well in the box before slotting the ball into the net past Erlandsson.
Despite regular bouts of pressure in the final 20 minutes, Forest were struggling to get their opponents on the ropes to provide the final blow
Gabriel had a header from a corner comfortably saved late on before Taylor blasted wide from just inside the 18-yard-box which epitomised the day's frustrations for the visitors.
Lester's men are next in action when they face the challenge of Coventry City in the West Midlands on Friday 28 August (11am kick-off).
Forest's Under 16s followed their triumph in Bulgaria with a trip to South Yorkshire too and picked up a point with a 2-2 draw against Sheffield Wednesday at their training base on the neighbouring pitch on Saturday.