Nottingham Forest Under 23s finished 2018 with an excellent 3-0 win over Crewe Alexandra in the Professional Development League at the Impact Arena.
An own goal and a composed finish from Yassine En-Neyah and Tyrese Fornah in the second half secured all three points for The Reds, to end Crewe’s seven-match unbeaten run.
The Reds were on the front foot early on through Alex Mighten who charged forwards and cut inside, but his effort was deflected away before Jake Taylor tested David Richards in the Crewe goal moments later with a low drive that the ‘keeper got down to well.
Experienced Crewe man Paul Green nearly gave his side the lead on 14 minutes however, when he climbed highest at a corner as he nodded the ball inches wide of the far post. The best chance of the half fell to Forest though, when Anel Ahmedhodzic flicked the ball goal wards from a corner as it bounced off the post.
It was a physical encounter at the Impact Arena and that showed when both Crewe men Tom Lowery and Luke Offord were given yellow cards for strong challenges on Jake Taylor and then Alex Mighten midway through the first-half.
The contest became a scrappy affair as the half drew to a close with either side failing to keep hold of the ball, but The Reds had a glorious chance to take the lead again when a free-kick nearly went all the way through, but Lawrence-Gabriel got on the end of it and prodded it off the post and out, keeping the score level at the break.
Just four minutes into the second half and Johnson was so close to giving Forest the lead when he was played through on goal and fired an effort with his left foot, but the Crewe ‘keeper made a stunning stop to tip it over the bar.
But just after the hour mark, two quick fire goals from The Reds gave them a convincing lead. Firstly, En-Neyah's teasing cross was turned into his own net by a Crewe man, before Mighten’s excellent run and cross teed up En-Neyah at the back post who powerfully fired home to make it 2-0, before he was replaced by Kieran Hayes.
Tyrese Fornah also came on to replace the industrious Alex Mighten to help sure things up for The Reds, and he then got on the score sheet in the final minute as he fired a shot into the net from inside the area as Jimmy Gilligan’s side ended 2018 with three points.
Forest: Bossin, Lawrence-Gabriel, Preston (c), Coveney, Ahmedhodzic, Stewart, Taylor, Johnson (Hayes 69’), Gomis, En-Neyah, Mighten (Fornah 76’).
Subs not used: Soloha, Sodeinde, Richardson.
Goals: Own goal 64’, En-Neyah 66’, Fornah 90’