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Under 23s: Forest 2-1 Brighton

23 January 2017

Nicolao Dumitru's late goal sealed a 2-1 win for Nottingham Forest Under 23s over Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League Cup.

James Thorne's early strike put The Reds in front after he tapped home the rebound after his penalty was saved. Brighton's Ben Hall was sent off for his foul for the penalty and George Cox levelled from the penalty spot but Dumitru struck late on to seal Forest's first win in the competition.

Dumitru played the full 90 minutes for the Under 23s led by Gareth Holmes while Jack Lester is involved with the first team, and defender Damien Perquis also featured for just under an hour.

Forest were given an early opportunity after five minutes as great pace by Elvis Otim saw him get the wrong side of Brighton defender Hall who pulled the Forest man back inside the penalty area. Hall was shown a straight red card for the foul and Thorne stepped up to take the penalty. His initial effort was saved by Rob Sanchez but the Forest forward was quick to pounce on the rebound and give The Reds the lead.

Brighton thought they had found a way back into the match five minutes later as George Cox tested Jordan Smith in the Forest goal. The keeper parried his shot into the path of Henrik Bjordal who tapped home, only to see the offside flag raised.

Brighton had a lot of the ball but could not create any clear-cut chances. Striker Aaron Connelly tested Smith but The Reds kept them at bay as the visitors tried to find a way back into the match.

Brighton came out of the blocks at the start of the second half and came close to equalising through Cox. The left-back's free kick from 25 yards beat Smith but clipped the top of the crossbar on 51 minutes, then the Forest keeper was called into action on 53. The ball was cut back for Jesse Starkey who fired at goal from 12 yards but Smith was up to the task to tip over brilliantly.

The introduction of Kyle McClean almost brought a second goal for The Reds as the midfielder cut inside from the left and bent an effort narrowly wide of the top corner.

Cox came closer to finding the equaliser for Brighton on 71 as he surged forward from left back. His strike from 25 yards took a wicked deflection which Smith somehow managed to dive low down to his right and keep out.

Smith was called into action again, this time to stop a dipping volley from Jayson Molumby on 73 by tipping it over the bar but Smith was beaten from the penalty spot on 82.

Molumby's mazy run saw him skip past a couple of challenges before being brought down in the box by Adam Crookes. Cox stepped up and sent Smith the wrong way to level the tie.

Despite plenty of pressure from Brighton it was The Reds who found the winner as Dumitru struck in the 90th minute. Great play by substitute Aaron Smith drove Forest forwards and the midfielder played a superb threaded ball through for Dumitru who calmly slotted past Sanzhez to seal Forest's first win in the Premier League Cup

Forest: J. Smith, Charlesworth, Nielsen, Perquis (Taylor 57'), Iacovitti, Crookes, Edser (c), Dumitru, Otim, R. Worrall (McClean 57'), Thorne (A. Smith 84')

Unused subs: J. Wright, Re

Goal: Thorne 5', Dumitru 90'

Bookings: R. Worrall 39', Nielsen 55'

Brighton: Sanchez, Rosenior, Cox, Molumby, Hall, White (Garcia 79'), Bjordal, Hutchinson (c), Connelly (Forbes 65'), Mandroiu, Starkey (O'Sullivan 59')

Unused subs: Vose, Barker

Goal: Cox pen 82'

Booking: Molumby 55'

Sent off: Hall 5'

Attendance: 121

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