Nottingham Forest Under 23s fell to a 1-0 defeat against Birmingham City on Tuesday afternoon in a keenly fought contest at Alfreton Town’s Impact Arena.
Kyle McFarlane's strike in the second half proved to be the difference as The Reds suffered back-to-back defeats in the Professional Development League.
The visitors started the game brightly, pinning Forest in their own half. The first chance of the game fell to striker Beryly Lubala on 13 as he found time and space on the left of the penalty area and curled an effort towards the far corner but wide of Liam Bossin's post.
The Reds were indebted to Danny Preston on 17 minutes as he headed off the line following a corner, causing a scramble in the box which the defence managed to clear and on 18 Bossin produced a fine save to deny Steve Seddon's long-range effort.
Forest came close to finding the breakthrough on 20 minutes as Apostolos Vellios almost capitalised on a defensive mix-up. Good pressure by Kieran Hayes forced goalkeeper Jake Weaver into rushing his clearance straight to the Greek striker, whose first-time shot from 25 yards looped over the stranded keeper but crashed off the underside of the bar but was adjudged to have not crossed the line.
It was a well-contested first half with both sides cancelling each other out, and Hayes could have nicked a goal before the break but was denied by Weaver from close range.
Forest started the second half brightly as Toby Edser's header was tipped around the post by Weaver then Vellios' volley was deflected over the crossbar by a Blues defender.
Forest were in the ascendency and looked most likely to break the deadlock. Substitute Virgil Gomis had a couple of opportunities but couldn't test Weaver and Birmingham hit The Reds with a counter-attack to take the lead on 74.
Full back Remeao Hutton broke forward down the right and his low cross into the box was met by McFarlane at the near post who flicked the ball past Bossin and into the far corner.
The Reds probed to find an equaliser but couldn't break down a resolute Birmingham defence, and the visitors could have doubled their advantage late on through captain Corey O'Keeffe but it ended 1-0 to The Blues as the Under 23s suffered successive defeats.
Forest: Bossin, Ahmedhodzic, Coveney, Crookes, Preston, Edser (c), Otim (Charlesworth 70'), A. Smith (Appiah 64'), Taylor, Hayes (Gomis 46'), Vellios
Unused subs: Wright, C. Smith
Bookings: Preston 11', Ahmedhodzic 90'