Virgil Gomis earns draw for Nottingham Forest Under-23s against Leeds United as trialist features for Reds


Nottingham Forest Under-23s couldn’t quite make it two wins in the space of a week as they came from behind to draw 1-1 with Leeds United.

After a limp first half, Virgil Gomis bagged an equaliser after the break and a much improved second half saw the Reds go close to finding a winner.

Forest had beaten Derby County in the Premier League Cup at Pride Park on Monday night. But it was a much younger looking side which took on the Whites in the Professional Development League at the City Ground.

Included in the line-up was trialist Anthony Scully, a young midfielder who signed a long-term deal at West Ham United in May 2016.

Much like the rest of the Reds team, the teenager had a fairly quiet first half as it was United who put their stamp on the game.

Gomis fired wide for the hosts inside the opening three minutes, but with just six minutes gone, they found themselves behind.

A spell of pressure from the visitors saw Jordan Wright make a good save from point-blank range as Bryce Hosannah lurked at his near post. The ball broke for Oriol Rey, though, and he lashed in a powerful volley to put his side in front.

And it was Leeds who continued to have the edge for much of the first period, putting Forest under pressure with some decent chances.

Nottingham Forest trialist Anthony Scully and Leeds United’s Bryce Hosannah

Just 10 minutes after conceding, the Reds almost found themselves 2-0 down when Ousama Siddiki whipped in an inviting cross, which Jamie Shakleton headed narrowly over, almost grazing the crossbar on its way.

Hosannah drove forward shortly after, only to fire wide, and then Tom Pearce did the same with 26 minutes gone. It was a fine burst down the left from the Whites defender and this time Jordan Wright was called into action as Pearce powered into the box and had a go from close range.

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Chances for Gary Brazil’s men had been few and far between by that point as they struggled to get going.

Scully had seen little of the ball but did show good persistence with 36 minutes gone as he shrugged off a challenge and pushed forward to tee up Toby Edser, who blasted over from range.

Forest did end the half strongly, with a decent spell of possession high up the pitch. All they had to show for it however, was a tame effort from Scully which was comfortably collected by Leeds goalkeeper Harrison Male.

Nevertheless, they picked up where they left off and were soon back on level terms after the break, thanks to a brilliant move which started from the back.

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Scully had a hand in it too, feeding Danny Preston down the left flank; he then put a teasing low ball into the box, which Gomis poked home in the 50th minute.

The Whites tried to find an immediate response as Rey drew Wright into action with a stinging long-range effort.

Nottingham Forest’s Virgil Gomis slides in to make it 1-1

But it was the Reds who had the ball in the back of the net again, only for Jordan Gabriel to be thwarted by the offside flag after converting Lewis Walters’ pass.

Having been something of a damp squib in the first half, the second turned into a decent contest.

Substitute Alex Machuka wasn’t far away with a curled effort for the visitors before the hour, while Gomis tried an acrobatic overhead-kick which went straight to the goalkeeper.

Nottingham Forest trialist Anthony Scully and Leeds United’s Jamie Shakleton

The Reds front man then came desperately close to his second of the afternoon with 20 minutes to go, somehow being thwarted by an incredible clearance off the line from Liam Kitching.

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The home side continued to search for a winner – and it took another piece of brilliance to deny them in the 81st minute as Male got across goal to claw away Aaron Smith’s free-kick.

But as much as they continued to press in the closing stages, a second goal was not forthcoming.

Forest: Wright, Gabriel, Preston, Crookes, Stewart, Edser, Otim, Taylor (Smith 65), Walters, Scully (Richardson 79), Gomis (Johnson 72). Subs not used: Shelvey, Coveney.

Leeds: Male, Hosannah (Clarke 46), Pearce (Machuka 55), P McKay, O’Connor, Kitching, Rey, Vieira, J McKay, Shakleton, Siddiki (Balboa 80). Subs not used: Huffer, Odour.

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