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Match Reports

Under 23s progress to play-off final

1 May 2018

An extra-time goal from Virgil Gomis sealed Nottingham Forest Under 23s' spot in the Professional Development League play-off final after a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace.

Gomis struck in the third minute of the first half of extra-time to give Forest a deserved win at Selhurst Park which sets up a play-off final against Bolton Wanderers at The City Ground, expected to be played this Friday (4th May).

The Reds started brightly on a sunny evening in South London and could have been ahead early on had Virgil Gomis not scooped the ball over the bar from close range following a strong run and cross from Gboly Ariyibi.

Levi Lumeka looked the main danger-man for the home side and he was unfortunate to see his shot go wide of the target after Kian Flanagan's previous attempt had been blocked by Adam Crookes.

Forest thought they had the lead midway through the first half when Alex Iacovitti tapped home from close range but the assistant referee raised his flag for offside as the opening 45 minutes ended goalless.

The second half began with Liam Bossin getting down well to push away a powerful strike from Flanagan before Gomis dragged a shot wide at the other end after his perseverance had won the ball back inside the Palace penalty area.

Gareth Holmes's side were playing much the better football and had two great chances to take the lead. Brennan Johnson's strike missed the far post by inches before Gomis was unable to turn Ariyibi's shot into the net from two yards out.

Bossin had to stand firm to push behind a terrific effort from Jason Lokilo before the final chance of normal time fell to Ariyibi. The winger's curling free-kick was on target but goalkeeper Joe Tupper got across to make a decent save.

Forest had pushed hard for the opening goal and they found it three minutes into extra time. Gomis beat the goalkeeper to a long, bouncing ball, lifted it over him and touched it home on the line to give The Reds a deserved lead.

The home side had a decent opportunity to level the contest towards the end of the first half. Having kept a corner alive inside the Forest penalty area, striker James Daly hooked the ball over the bar from close range.

Knowing they would have to stay strong to absorb Palace's late onslaught, Forest played with an exceptional level of maturity to see the game out and set up a play-off final against Bolton at The City Ground.

Forest: Bossin, Ahmedhodzic (Richardson 46'), Iacovitti (Preston 70'), Taylor, Coveney, Crookes, En-Neyah, Edser (c), Gomis, Johnson (Fornah 99'), Ariyibi

Subs not used: Shelvey, Stewart

Goal: Gomis 93'

Bookings: Gomis 109', Fornah 11

Crystal Palace: Tupper, Mitchell, Brown (c), McGregor, Bryon, Jach, Lokilo, Kirby (Boateng 106'), Flanagan (Street 99'), Lumeka (Robertson 111'), Daly

Subs not used: Curtis-Henry, Hungbo


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