Henri Lansbury scored a match-winning penalty in Nottingham Forest Under 21s’ 2-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday this afternoon.
The midfielder played the full match, beating Owls keeper Cameron Dawson from the spot with seven minutes to play.
Big striker Nikolay Todorov equalised for Forest after Caolan Lavery, who came off the bench for Wednesday’s first team at The City Ground on Saturday, had opened the scoring in the first half.
Jamie Paterson played 55 minutes while Stephen McLaughlin, Louis Laing and Dimitar Evtimov were also handed starts.
Forest began the game brightly, Josh Rees sending the ball just past the post before Paterson crossed for Todorov to head home, only for the referee to penalise the striker for gaining unfair leverage from a defender.
Paterson and Lansbury were linking up regularly in the early exchanges, the former receiving the ball and showing a stepover to buy himself space to shoot with his left foot.
His low shot was blocked by a defender. Wednesday’s response came from Rhys McCabe, who latched on to a long ball over the top and lobbed it over both Evtimov and the crossbar.
But the Owls found the net on 33 minutes. McLaughlin slipped in the damp conditions and the visitors capitalised, playing the ball to Lavery in the area.
The Northern Irishman lashed it low past Evtimov and into the net. McLaughlin, playing left back, set about helping his side restore parity with an excellent ball down the left.
Paterson showed good pace to get away from his defender before squaring the ball for Derrick Otim. Two Wednesday defenders got in the way of his shot.
Evtimov made a good save and Lansbury struck the ball into the wall with a low free-kick before the break, and Forest came out for the second half fighting.
Jack Blake’s excellent sliding tackle freed the ball up for Rees in Wednesday’s final third. The midfielder slipped Otim into the area but the striker could only send the ball wide.
Paterson was replaced by Wilfried Gnahore before Otim was left frustrated again after an excellent save by Dawson in the Owls’ net. Otim’s brother, Elvis, was introduced in place of Blake shortly afterwards, before Derrick was replaced by Australian Josh MacDonald.
The Reds were controlling possession in very difficult conditions but, despite their dominance, they nearly saw the game slip away from them when Lavery’s header flashed across goal and just wide of the far post.
But, with the clock ticking down, two quick-fire goal handed Forest the win. MacDonald’s cross left the Wednesday defence standing still and appealing for offside as Todorov looped the ball over the keeper and into the net with his head.
And the comeback was complete when Lansbury found the bottom corner from the spot, despite a touch from Dawson, after Gnahore’s shot had struck a Wednesday hand in the area.
Forest: Evtimov, Polimos, McLaughlin, Blake (E Otim), Laing, Riera, Lansbury, Rees, Todorov, D Otim (MacDonald), Paterson (Gnahore).