Britt Assombalonga scored in a game which saw the striker step up his return to first-team action and play the first-half of Nottingham Forest Under 21s’ 3-2 defeat to Hull City.
It was a cagey opening at The Nigel Doughty Academy with neither side able to establish a foothold in the game and Hull had the better of the early chances before inevitably taking the lead.
Jarrod Bowen opened the scoring, driving an effort past goalkeeper Tim Erlandsson inside the first 15 minutes, before Forest’s highly-rated striker twice came close to scoring.
Assombalonga – who sustained his knee injury last February, and has not played in over a year – neatly cut inside from the left-hand side of the area but hit straight at Rory Watson in the Tigers’ net and, ten minutes later, the striker scuffed wide at the back post.
But seconds later the striker turned provider and unselfishly squared for Liam Adams to calmly equalise in the 38th minute.
Assombalonga found the target four minutes later and in some style; the ball dropped nicely and he buried an inch-perfect finish into Watson’s top-right corner, confidently netting from the edge of the area past the stranded keeper.
The Reds went into half-time in front, but had to thank Erlandsson for not conceding before the break; the Swede saved with his legs to deny a Hull forward who bore down following a sloppy back pass from defender Adam Crookes.
Jake Taylor replaced Assombalonga at the start of the second half and the Reds looked a shadow of the side without the goal scorer.
Lithuanian winger Deimantas Petravicius mustered the best effort shortly after the restart and came close to scoring his fourth goal in five matches but his wicked, long-range effort hit the bar.
Hull were mounting pressure on the Forest defence and Ben Hinchliffe poked wide for the visitors after being sent through before Tom Gamblen was forced to clear off the line to prevent the Tigers from equalising.
The visitors were awarded the chance to restore parity, danger man Will Annan fouled in the area, before Bowen notched his second after sending Erlandsson the wrong way from the resulting penalty.
The Tigers continued to press and came close on a number of occasions to take the lead, working Erlandsson a couple of occasions before their winner as Will Annan found the corner from a free-kick in the dying embers to seal their win.
Forest’s Under 21s are next in action on Monday and will be hoping to return to winning ways when they take on Charlton Athletic at home (4 April, kick-off 2pm).
Forest: Erlandsson, Yates, Gamblen, Grant (c), Karo, Crookes, Petravicius, Edser, Assombalonga (Taylor 45’), Brereton, Adams