Nottingham Forest Under-18s roared into the final of the FA Youth Cup last night with a 3-1 victory over Chelsea. A brace by Detlef Esapa Osong and a goal from Dale Taylor set up a famous contest against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Warren Joyce’s men fell behind midway through the second half. Charlie Webster’s speculative effort ricocheted off a Forest player’s foot and looped over Aaron Bott and into the Reds’ net.
Forest stayed true to their game plan though. With four minutes remaining, they drew parity. Some neat work from Esapa Osong saw him thread a pass through for Taylor to slot under the advancing Chelsea goalkeeper.
The Reds didn’t fancy extra-time and in the first minute of stoppage time, Forest hit the front. Esapa Osong buried an effort from the edge of the box; sparking pandemonium among the sizeable City Ground crowd.
Two minutes later the seal was set and after being fouled in the box, Esapa Osong fired his spot-kick high into the net to send Forest into the final.
The date for the final is likely to be decided later today and Forest will have a decent backing when they head north to face Manchester United.
Taylor is a star in the making for Forest
Last night was a time to laud the collective. It’s pretty obvious that in Dale Taylor, Forest have themselves a player who showcases an unbelievable amount of individual brilliance.
The 18-year-old Northern Irishman looks far too good for under-18s football and as a result, next season could be a big year for the youngster.
Last night he was head and shoulders above anyone else on the pitch and thoroughly deserved his late goal to draw the Reds level.
Taylor scored a first-team goal at the age of 15 in his homeland and it was clear from the outset that Forest had landed a fine young player when he was added.
Last night gave Forest a glimpse into the future. If he plays like that against Manchester United, the Reds might find themselves lifting the FA Youth Cup for the very first time.