Nottingham Forest Under-18s did the club proud last night as they were narrowly beaten 3-1 by Manchester United in the FA Youth Cup Final. In Josh Powell, the Reds have a player who can walk the path to Steve Cooper’s first team in the near future.
Forest were bright throughout the game; and not just because of their fluorescent kit! The mini Reds took the game to United and after settling down they were much the better team and deserved to lift the trophy.
Even at under-18 level, the game hinged on a wrong decision by the referee, Josh Smith. His decision to award United a penalty 14 minutes from time proved the incorrect call with the foul taking place two yards outside the box.
Still, Forest gave it everything. Powell’s left-footed strike beat United goalkeeper Radek Vitek, who should have done better. His goal saw Forest equalise after Rhys Bennett had scored an early opener from a set-piece.
Alejandro Garnacho had the final say. He tucked the penalty home easily and rounded off the win with a decent goal in the closing stages.
Forest must hold their heads high. It’s been a remarkable run to the final and but for some pretty ordinary refereeing things might have been so much different at Old Trafford.
Powell set for Forest stardom after FA Youth Cup heroics
If the 17-year-old winger goes on to play for Forest at senior level, this might just prove to be a sliding doors moment. His goal was perhaps a strike that the goalkeeper should have done better with, but it was a clean hit nonetheless.
He was magnificent throughout the contest. Powell showcased a wand of a left-foot and his ability to deliver a set-piece also didn’t go unnoticed by the 6,000 or so Forest fans who had travelled.
Powell has been a regular in Warren Joyce’s team this season. He can operate on either flank and boy does he put a shift in when he’s out on the pitch.
Last night his tireless running caused chaos among the United defence and being totally honest, Powell didn’t deserve to be on the losing team.
Forest’s mini troops will come again. They must now focus all their energy on beating United in the league on Saturday and finishing the season in third place.
For Powell, he must continue listening to his coaches and with a few more performances of this nature, it won’t be long before he’s strutting his stuff on the senior stage.