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Under 23s: Notts County 0-3 Forest

31 January 2017

Nottingham Forest Under 23s sealed a convincing 3-0 win over Notts County at Meadow Lane in the Central League Cup.

A brace by Pajtim Kasami either side of a Nicolao Dumitru strike secured the win in a good performance by The Reds over the other side of the Trent.

The match was used as a good opportunity for senior players Dumitru, Hildeberto Pereira, Kasami and Jorge Grant to get some game-time, while Notts also fielded several first-team squad members including former England international Alan Smith.

Forest had goalkeeper Jordan Smith to thank inside the opening 10 minutes as he pulled off two stunning saves to keep the scores level. Firstly, he prevented Alex Iacovitti from turning into his own net by producing a quick-reaction stop to get down low to his left after a cut back ricocheted off the Forest defender's shins, and secondly he flung to his right to tip a rasping drive from Graham Burke round the post from the resulting corner.

The game was fiercely contested, with both sides committing to strong tackles all over the park. County had the best openings but could force Smith into any further saves of note. Forest looked lively at the other end of the pitch through Dumitru and Pereira, but it was another senior pro in Kasami who found the breakthrough on the stroke of half time.

Neat play on the edge of the Notts penalty area led to Toby Edser sliding a pass through for Kasami who showed great composure to score with the outside of his left boot past Scott Loach.

Forest came out of the blocks at the start of the second half and had a huge chance to double the lead on 46 as Pereira broke the offside trap and raced through on goal but his effort was tipped wide by Loach.

But The Reds weren't to be denied for long as Dumitru found the second goal a minute later. Kasami picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and produced a stunning scooped pass over the top of the County defence for Dumitru to run onto and volley past Loach into the corner of the net.

Forest had a lot more of the ball in the second half and dominated the play and looked likely to find a third. Pereira's cut back for Grant almost found the back of the net on 65 but his shot was blocked, and Dumitru did find the target on 68 only for his effort to be ruled out for offside.

A superb move by The Reds came close on 77 as Grant dummied a pass from Pereira into Kasami's path, he chipped a ball to the back post where Edser was waiting and his well-hit volley fizzed just past the post with Loach beaten.

The third goal did arrive in the 90th minute as Kasami scored his second. Pereira showed great pace to skip past his man down the left channel and his cut-back from the byline was powerfully fired home by Kasami from 12 yards.

The goal was the icing on the cake after a very convincing performance from the Under 23s who sealed their second win in the Central League Cup.

Forest: J. Smith, Charlesworth, Nielsen, Iacovitti (Ahmedhodzic 50'), Crookes, Yates (Otim 61'), Kasami, Edser (c), Grant, Pereira, Dumitru (Thorne 78')

Unused subs: J. Wright, A. Smith

Goals: Kasami 45', 90', Dumitru 47'

Booking: Ahmedhodzic 75'

Notts County: Loach, Richards, Atkinson, Brown-Hill, Hewitt, Edwards (Dearle 77'), Osborne, Howes (Campbell 77'), Gibson, Smith (c) (Clayton-Naute 64'), Burke

Unused subs: Searson-Smithard, Cobain

Booking: Smith 43'

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