Nottingham Forest U23s player ratings as Will Swan impresses in Reds victory

By Matt Lee

Nottingham Forest's difficult run of form in Premier League came to an end with a hard-earned 3-2 victory over Norwich City at the City Ground on Friday night.

Reds fans who made the visit to Trentside were treated to an action-packed first-half, but one that was difficult to follow due to the heavy mist rolling in from the River Trent.

Julian Larsson gave the home side the lead from the penalty spot after just six minutes when Aaron Donnelly was brought down in the penalty area.

But that lead could only last for a further ten minutes until Abu Kamara nodded home a deep cross beyond Jordan Wright.

And the visitors went ahead just before the half-hour mark when Tony Springett's threaded ball carved open a central defensive pairing of Sam Sanders and a trialist, with Flynn Clarke racing through on goal to round Wright and tap into an open goal.

Will Swan, Dale Taylor and Ateef Konate each had chances to score in the first half - the latter coming closest with a curling freekick which was tipped over by Canaries 'keeper Dylan Berry.

It was a similar story after the break with both sides having chances of their own to score.

Clarke tested Wright with a high, looping header which was caught with comfort, whilst Will Swan had a low shot blocked after Aaron Donnelly's lung-busting run down the wing.

But Swan could not be stopped from scoring on 68 minutes when he timed his run to perfection, beating the offside trap before driving a shot underneath Berry.

Larsson almost fired the young Reds ahead moments later but his deflected effort went agonisingly wide of the post.

With just seven minutes left on the clock, however, substitute Lewis Salmon fired home a low shot to put the Reds ahead and secure the victory.

It brings to an end a run of 12 games without a win for the young Reds with Andy Reid's coming out victorious for the first time since the end of September 2021.

Here's how our reporter Matt Lee rated the young Reds' performance...

Jordan WRIGHT: A few shaky moments in the first-half when visibility was at its worst. Produced a few good saves to keep the visitors at bay. (6)

Fin BACK: One who has been in and around Steve Cooper's first-team squad and understandable why. Best moment came in first-half with a brilliant pass forward allowing Larsson to charge forward and create an opportunity. (6)

Aaron DONNELLY: Won the penalty which Forest scored in the first-half, created more chances after half-time. Loved to push forward overlapping Larsson on the left-flank and created a few chances, but struggled to stop crosses into the box on occasion (7)

Josh BARNES: A relatively quiet game sat just in-front of the defensive line. Used to connect defence and midfield, sliding himself along the width of the pitch to force things. (6)

Trialist: An un-named individual on the teamsheet but gave a good account of himself during the hour that he featured. A solid figure on the right-side of central defence who looked composed and comfortable. (7)

Sam SANDERS: Was possibly slightly out of position for Norwich's second goal, but it was equally an excellent threaded pass from the visitors. Lost his man when Norwich headed in their opening goal, was not tight enough to the goalscorer. (5)

Dale TAYLOR: Had a few chances to score but was getting frustrated up-top. Partnered Will Swan in an attacking front-line but was denied a goal by Berry on a few occasions. (6)

Oliver HAMMOND: A confident young midfielder who seems to enjoy running his heart into the ground. Often the link between defence and attack, as well as unifying the left and right sides in any movements up the pitch. (6)

Will SWAN: Had a frustrating first-half where chances were falling at his feet but could not be converted. Different story after the break. Excellently-timed run and good strength to level the game just after the hour-mark. (7)

Ateef KONATE: Created plenty of chances but could not always keep his efforts low or on-target. Called Barry into action a few times but limited to efforts from range. (6)

Julian LARSSON: Scored Forest's first of the night from the penalty spot with an emphatic finish. Kept testing Berry's reactions in the second-half with a few good shooting chances. (7)

Rezart RAMA (On 59mins): A quiet cameo appearance after being brought on at the hour-mark. (6)

Lewis SALMON (On 76mins): Brought on with just under 15 minutes left to play and managed to grab the match-winning goal with a good finish into the bottom corner. (7)

Billy FEWSTER (On 89mins): Not enough time to make a huge impact.


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