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Match Reports

Under 23s: Forest 2-1 Bristol City

22 August 2017

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Nottingham Forest Under 23s came from behind to defeat Bristol City and open their season with a 2-1 win.

Arnie Garita put the visitors in front at Alfreton Town's Impact Arena, but goals from Gerry McDonagh and Aaron Smith gave Jack Lester's side the victory.

Bristol City thought they had taken a third-minute lead as Garita tapped home George Nurse's cross, only to see the assistant raise his flag for offside.

Aaron Smith carved out the first opening for The Reds on 10 minutes in the first of a flurry of attempts on the City goal. The midfielder weaved his way past two challenges before his shot was blocked, then Gerry McDonagh's follow-up effort was saved by keeper Jojo Wollacott and Toby Edser's long-range strike was gathered at the second attempt by the stopper.

Forest looked lively going forward with Smith and McDonagh both testing Wollacott further, but it was the visitors who took the lead on 23 minutes through Garita.

Taylor Moore's delicious cross from the right was met with a powerful header by the forward which gave Stephen Henderson no chance in the Forest goal.

The Reds responded well and Smith should have levelled things on 36 but Wollacott again denied him in a one-on-one, and the midfielder turned provider as Forest equalised on the stroke of half time.

A threaded through pass by Smith found McDonagh on the right-hand side and the forward drove towards goal before firing an angled shot into the roof of the net to pull things level on 45.

Bristol City came out strongly after the break, creating a couple of openings before The Reds responded with a few chances of their own. Apostolos Vellios volleyed just wide, Lewis Walters fired into the hands of Wollacott and then McDonagh forced the keeper into a smart low save.

The chances came and went for both sides as Opi Edwards fired into the side-netting following a deep cross by George Nurse and then Vellios headed narrowly wide from Toby Edser's whipped corner delivery on 68.

Bristol City were forced to play the final 15 minutes with 10 men as Aaron Parsons was forced off through injury and The Reds took advantage of that by hitting the winner on 88 minutes.

Smith latched onto a through ball following a swift break forward and, after cutting inside a defender, slotted an effort past Wollacott to give Forest the three points.

Forest: Henderson, Ahmedhodzic, Preston, Crookes, Lam, Edser, Walters (En-Neyah 63'), Taylor (Gomis 74'), McDonagh, Vellios, Smith

Unused subs: Bossin, Coveney, Charlesworth

Goals: McDonagh 50', Smith 88'

Bookings: Vellios 75', En-Neyah 83'

Bristol City: Wollacott, Moore, Pring, Morton (Richards 50'), Smith (Harper 57'), Parsons, Edwards, Dowling, Garita (Akpobire 50'), De Girolamo, Nurse

Unused subs: Sesay

Goal: Garita 23'

Booking: Dowling 90'

Referee: Ricky Wooton

Attendance: 151

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