A scintillating second-half display helped Nottingham Forest Under 23s demolish Bolton Wanderers 6-0 at The Nigel Doughty Academy.
A brace from Will Swan and a Toby Edser double stretched The Reds’ unbeaten league run to eight games, with the lively Alex Mighten and Josh Barnes also making the scoresheet.
In a very underwhelming first half, chances were scarce as both sides proved tough to break down. Brennan Johnson saw a shot flash wide before Swan had a chance cleared away.
Forest were awarded a penalty just before the 15-minute mark when Mighten raced down the left and cut inside onto his right foot, before he was felled by a back-tracking Wanderers defender. Swan converted with a high finish into the roof of the net to set Forest on course for victory.
Chris Cohen’s side continued to push for a second, and would have had one if it hadn’t been for Bolton keeper Josh Wrea producing numerous good saves to deny Toby Edser on two occasions.
Bolton’s first and only real chance of the opening half came seconds before the interval, when James Weir curled a 25-yard free-kick towards goal, but Marios Siampanis was equal to it and pulled off an impressive save.
A rejuvenated Forest side came out in the second-half and doubled their lead in the opening 20 seconds. Mighten danced through a couple of challenges before unleashing a low drive from the edge of the box which flew into the bottom corner.
Minutes later Forest scored again, this time when Mighten teed up Swan in the box, who fired high into the far top corner past an out-stretched Wrea.
The fourth goal came just six minutes into the second period, as Forest really started asserting their dominance on the game. Swan reacted the quickest to a deflected cross to nod down for Toby Edser who had a simple tap-in for his first goal of the afternoon.
Bolton rarely threatened but saw a half chance go amiss when Callum King-Harmes latched onto a Weir free-kick but blazed his ambitious volley over the crossbar.
But Forest continued to attack and continued to score. Substitute Josh Barnes was found superbly by Tyrese Fornah and burst through on goal to score the fifth goal of the day.
Bolton’s best chance of the afternoon fell to Moussa Niakata with just over ten minutes of normal time remaining. The forward found space in the box and fired a powerful shot goal-wards from point-blank range, with Siampanis producing a wonderful save to keep his clean sheet intact.
Two minutes later, Forest completed the rout when Barnes’ teasing low cross fell to Edser in acres of space in the box and he fired low into the bottom corner.
The win keeps Forest joint-top of the Professional Development League along with Birmingham City, with their next game coming up away at Stoke City in the Premier League Cup on Monday 2nd December.
Forest: Siampanis, Rama, Gallacher, Fornah, Stewart, Preston (c), En-Neyah (Ram 70'), Edser, Swan, Johnson, Mighten (Barnes 55')
Subs not used: Statham, Walsh, Sole
Goals: Swan 14' (pen), 49', Mighten 46', Edser 51', 80', Barnes 68'