Goals from Tyler Walker and Oliver Burke sent Nottingham Forest’s Under 18s into the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup with a 2-0 win against Burnley at The City Ground tonight.
The pair set up an exciting last eight tie at home to Manchester United or Tottenham Hotspur and stretched The Reds’ unbeaten run to ten games.
Forest were quick out of the blocks and Matty Cash nearly gave the hosts the lead. A ball was delivered from left-back Jack Kelly and it sat well for Cash who thumped just over the bar.
Burnley could barely get out of their own half in the opening exchanges, with Burke looping his header towards Clarets keeper Tony Agahere from a Kelly set-piece. Kelly came close himself from a free-kick 25 yards out that was deflected over by the wall, with the visitors firmly under the cosh.
Walker hit a hat-trick in the previous round against West Bromwich Albion and was close to adding another goal to his collection as The Reds ramped up the style further. The striker coolly controlled a cross and hit a fierce drive from ten yards out that Agahere got down rapidly to stop.
It looked to be a matter of time before Forest took the lead after having the majority of dangerous possession, and they did so following a teasing delivery from Kelly. The full-back sent an outswinging ball in with his left foot that was pounced on by Burke, who from close-range blasted it home to give Kevin MacDonald’s side a deserved lead.
The goal woke the visitors up and they nearly grabbed the equaliser moments after going behind. Bradley Jackson was part of a Burnley team that beat a Manchester United team featuring Adnan Januzaj in the 2012-13 FA Youth Cup, and he came close to levelling in this tie with a weaving run that came to nothing after last-gasp desperate defending.
Ryan Yates had to be on his toes to deny Massanka after the gangly Clarets striker found space in the box and poked goal-bound, but Forest’s right-back cleared it away to give his side breathing space.
Reds’ keeper Tim Erlandsson was then called into genuine action for the first time, diving to his left to deny a curling strike from Jackson. Forest regained their strength after weathering the Burnley storm and started to look impressive again, with Gerry McDonagh winning frequent free-kicks with his physicality, and Burke a constant thorn down the right side.
The hosts started the second period in the same manner they began the first, and could’ve extended their lead early on. McDonagh sprung forward with the ball, played in Walker who opened his body up and tried to curl it into the bottom corner, but Agahere was on hand to save with his legs.
The Reds continued to harass as the half progressed, giving Burnley no time on the ball. Joe Worrall and Alex Iacovitti had to be fully concentrated to deal with the physicality of the opposition, powering away headers when called upon.
Burnley were again struggling to cope with the tireless, grafting Walker up top and the Forest striker extended their lead on 66 minutes. He controlled a ball exceptionally after it was played over the top and fired it into the far corner past a helpless Agahere.
Soon after, The Clarets opted to leave Burke vacant in the box and nearly suffered the consequences. The Forest winger received a ball from the left and thundered goal-bound with his first touch, but Agahere stopped with his legs.
Walker looked confident after bagging another Youth Cup goal, and nearly had his second of the night.
The in-form man drove forward and unleashed an effort that looked destined for the corner, until the keeper’s interruption.
MacDonald’s men looked assured and composed in the latter stages, nullifying Burnley’s threats with relative ease as the back four and midfield harried and tussled with an admirable endeavour.
Forest: Erlandsson, Yates, Worrall, Iacovitti, Kelly, Burke, Cash, Crookes, Gamblen, Walker, McDonagh (Walton 79’)