Three terrific goals weren’t enough for Nottingham Forest on Sunday afternoon as they suffered a 4-3 narrow defeat at the hands of Aston Villa Academy in their penultimate pre-season game.
Lucy Johnson and Niamh Reynolds netted their first goals in the Garibaldi as Bex Rayner also found the back of the net for The Reds. But the Villa Academy side bettered Forest’s three as they ensured they returned home with the win.
Reynolds also got her first taste of football at Eastwood CFC as Andy Cook handed her a start and a further 19 Reds all played their part in the fixture.
Forest dominated the opening 20 minutes of the contest and had numerous opportunities to take an early lead. Bolu Fisher saw her effort fly wide of the target on the sixth minute. Then only a minute later Reynolds’ close-range shot was kept out by the ‘keeper.
Poppy Scholefield hit a great first-time strike from 20 yards out but again the ‘keeper got down to make the crucial stop.
The Reds got the opener they were looking for on the 22nd minute as Johnson netted her first goal in a Forest shirt in fine fashion. Johnson created herself some space just outside the Villa box before rifling a shot into the far top right-hand corner of goal.
The visitors then began to grow into the game and drew level only four minutes later through a great free-kick that found the back of the net from around 22 yards out.
Katie Middleton was next to be involved in front of goal for Forest as she had two opportunities to re-gain her side’s lead in quick succession. The first saw her skip past her marker before shooting towards goal but the ‘keeper got down to make the save. The second failed to test the ‘keeper as this time her effort flew wide of the target.
Villa took the lead on the stroke of half-time as a curling shot from outside the area nestled itself in the far bottom left-hand corner.
Bex Rayner drew Forest level on the 63rd minute as she netted her second fantastic goal in as many games. The Reds broke into the Villa half and Rayner flashed her magic as she rocketed a shot past the helpless ‘keeper and into the top corner.
However, Villa re-took the lead on the 71st minute. Ashleigh Hind came out of her box in attempt to clear a Villa through ball but the ‘keeper failed to make the clearance and the opposition player was able to knock the ball home into an empty net.
Forest tied up the game again seven minutes later as Reynolds finished off a great move for The Reds. Sophie Tudor found Haley James out wide with a pass who charged down the right before whipping a strong cross into the box. The ball found Reynolds who was on hand to successfully divert it past the ‘keeper.
But in the final bit of action of the competitive tie, Villa restored their lead for the final time of the afternoon on the 87th minute to wrap up the win. A cross came into the Forest box and an unmarked Villa player near the back post tapped the ball over the line.
Forest: Davies (Hind 46’), Walters (Hewitt 64’), Harkin (c) (Greengrass 57’), O’Neill, Middleton (James 64’), Johnson (Cook 76’), Steggles (Rayner 46’), Scholefield (Tudor 76’), Reynolds, Dexter (Brown 57’), Fisher (Moncaster 76’)
Goals: Johnson 22’, Rayner 63’, Reynolds 78’