With five goals and three assists, Patrick Bamford took the starring role as Forest thrashed Wigan in the FA Youth Cup. James Bolton reports from the City Ground.

After so much doom and gloom surrounding the first team recently, it was a welcome change to see a Nottingham Forest team score not one, not two, but nine goals, as Forest’s Academy put Wigan Athletic’s Academy to the sword to reach the 5th round of the FA Youth Cup.

Patrick Bamford got things going early on, as he played through Ben Osborn who was brought down in the area. Bamford stepped up to convert the penalty past Wigan goalkeeper Calvin Hare, to give Forest the lead after just five minutes.

They added a second just five minutes later when Jack Blake’s header crashed against Hare’s bar, but midfielder Kieran Wallace was in the right place to convert the rebound. Forest had started very brightly and the Reds were completely dominating.

Wigan were, however, given a route back into the game after 19 minutes. Left-back Darius Waters cut inside and delivered an in-swinging cross with his right foot, but when Forest centre-back Kieron Fenton attempted to clear, the ball skidded off his shin and spun into the corner of the Forest net. Despite Dimitar Evtimov’s best efforts, the Bulgarian under-19 goalkeeper couldn’t keep it out.

Forest’s passing was crisp, neat and accurate, and after Bamford found David Morgan in space, his goal-bound effort was blocked spectacularly by Wigan defender Patrick Christian.

Forest did restore their two goal advantage when Hare saved Jack Blake’s low swerving shot but could only direct it into the path of Bamford who crashed in the rebound off the bar.

Blake and Bamford linked up again, with the later then flicking the ball round a Wigan defender into the path of Morgan, whose chipped, curling effort sailed just wide with the ‘keeper beaten.

Bamford and left-back Jack Andrews then had headed efforts on goal and Wigan’s Ryan Meadows had a lucky escape, when his attempted clearance whistled just over his own cross bar.

Forest went in at half-time 3-1 and in complete control, and they started the second-half in even stronger fashion.

Just 20 seconds after the second-half got under way, Forest had a fourth and Bamford claimed his hat-trick in fantastic style. Morgan’s long ball over the top wasn’t dealt with and Bamford brought the ball down brilliantly with his first touch, rounded the keeper and slotted home under the challenge of a Wigan defender.

Blake then shot just wide, before Forest made it 5-1. Kieran Wallace’s played a through ball to Bamford who, with a turn of pace, reached the byline, before cutting the ball back to Ben Osborn to sweep home.

It was 6-1 just four minutes later, with the impressive Blake getting his name on the score sheet. A dogged tackle from Wallace won Forest the ball back on the edge of the area and he played in Bamford who, after taking on one defender again, selflessly squared the ball for Blake to slot into the corner. After just 10 second half minutes, Forest had scored three goals.

Wigan’s only notable effort in the second-half came in the form of a diving header from Tim Chow, but his effort hit the post.

Bamford was then denied a spectacular fourth by the underside of the bar after a great turn and left foot shot inside the area. Bamford was then denied by Hare, as the striker latched onto Blake’s defence splitting pass, but could only shoot straight at the keeper.

Forest then made two changes with Kieran Wallace, who was playing his first game in over three months following injury (you would never have guessed), was replaced by Wilfried Gnahore and Michael Hollingsworth was replaced by RD Congo under-20 international Aristote Kamaneno.

Morgan then produced another great ball over the top of the Wigan defence to find Bamford, who had made a brilliant run, and his first time volley went in off the bar giving him his fourth of the night.

The impressive Jack Andrews was then replaced at left-back by Nottingham-born Elliot Ackroyd.

Bamford then grabbed his third assist of the night, after skilfully getting round Darius Waters before squaring the ball to Osborn to tap in with ease, an almost carbon copy of his first goal.

Gnahore, Morgan and Kamaneno all came close to getting their names on the score sheet, but it was man-of-the-match Bamford who rounded off the game in style. After neat passing between Kamaneno and Ackroyd, the latter crossed into the near post and Bamford, showing great desire, got across his marker to tap in his fifth.

It capped off what was an outstanding performance from a Forest side who, surprisingly, sit bottom of their academy division with just six points from 10 games. As most teams that concede nine goals are, Wigan were very poor, but Forest’s energetic midfield, progressive full-backs and clinical striker were sublime.


Throughout the game, Forest were almost playing a 4-1-3-1-1 formation, with the midfield 5 constantly interchanging with one another. There was always someone playing a holding role, usually David Morgan, and always someone playing just off lone striker Patrick Bamford, usually Jack Blake.


When they were attacking, the full-backs Lawrence Gorman and Jack Andrews both pushed very high up the pitch, leaving Lascelles and Fenton to hold the fort at the back. Lots of the attacking play came straight through the centre and it certainly worked.


On this evidence, Forest certainly have a strong academy with some very vibrant talent coming through the ranks. Eoin Jess has got them playing attractive passing football, which is the footballing philosophy Forest fans love. It was a tremendous performance, and they’ll be hoping to progress further in the competition when they face Southampton in the 5th round.


Dimitar Evtimov – Goalkeeper
Had very little to do in the game and could not be blamed for the goal. Hard to make a judgement in such a dominant attacking display.

Lawrence Gorman – Right-back
Got up the field well, but didn’t get on the ball in attacking positions as much as you’d expect despite the space he was getting.

Jamaal Lascelles – Centre-back and captain
Again, didn’t have much to do, but was extremely good on the ball, a vocal captain and real physical unit. Definitely needs to be given a chance in the first team.

Kieron Fenton – Centre-back
Nearly caught in possession on a couple of occasions, unfortunate with the own goal but pushed forward well.

Jack Andrews – Left-back
Impressive display, got forward really well and made some brilliant tackles when Wigan countered.

David Morgan – Centre midfield
Outstanding performance and ran the show sitting in front of the back four. Calm on the ball and strong in the tackle. Imagine Paul McKenna with an attacking string to his bow.

Michael Hollingsworth – Midfield
Good link up play and one touch passing. Played well, but strong performances elsewhere stopped him standing out more.

Kieran Wallace – Midfield
Unbelievable to think he is just 16 years old. Strong display in midfield with some good through balls and took his goal well.

Ben Osborn – Midfield
Again, great passing and movement with good finishes for his goals. Terrific performance.

Jack Blake – Midfield/Second striker
Often dropping deep to collect the ball and looking to move things on and always eager to get his foot on the ball. Linked up very well with Bamford.

Patrick Bamford – Striker
Five goals and three assists? Does it get any better? Took all of his goals superbly, has a great touch and the selflessness to pass and set up a goal when he’s in a good position himself. Man-of-the-match by a mile. Looks an outstanding talent.

Wilfried Gnahore – Attacking midfield (Sub)
Quick, tricky with a low centre of gravity. Looked like a slippery little player when he came on.

Aristote Kamaneno – Attacking midfield (Sub)
Keen to get his foot on the ball and run at people, maybe should have had a goal himself but was denied by the keeper.

Elliot Ackroyd – Left-back (Sub)
Very attacking and got in some good positions down his flank. Produced a good cross for Bamford’s fifth, another good display from a sub.

James runs the View From The Mainstand blog and NFFC Stats on Twitter.

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