Date:Thursday November 23 2006
It is the tie many Forest fans will be dreaming off - Chelsea away in the third round of the FA Cup.
And it what Nick Marshall's youngsters can actually look forward to after they made comfortable progress in the FA Youth Cup last night with a 4-0 victory.
Colin Calderwood's senior side still have the potentially awkward hurdle of Salisbury to overcome at the start of December before they can hope to face a Premiership side in the Cup. But the younger generation of Reds made short work of Port Vale last night, to earn themselves a pop at the country's richest club.
And, on last night's evidence, the gulf in class between the Forest youth team and that of Chelsea's may not be as great as that between the respective first team sides.
Amid a solid all-round team performance, there were some fine individual displays in the Forest ranks to suggest cause for significant optimism.
The high point was a Lewis McGugan free-kick bent powerfully into the top corner from 30 yards - in a manner that would have earned huge plaudits had it been delivered from the boot of Kris Commons - which made it 3-0 early in the second half.
Prior to that, Forest had already stamped their authority on the game with two first-half strikes of some quality. The first came as Adam Newbold fired in off the foot of the post to cap a neatly-engineered move in the 25th minute.
And, after Newbold, McGugan, Ben Fairclough and James Reid had all come close, Ryan Whitehurst latched onto a neat pass from Matt Thornhill before providing a composed finish beyond the under-siege Vale keeper, Chris Martin, to make it 2-0 on 45 minutes.
After McGugan had added the third, in the 55th minute, he turned provider, crossing for Reid to direct a looping header over Martin in the 64th minute - and almost carved out another with a sublime back-heel for Reid to have his drive saved.
When they do face Chelsea in mid-December the game is likely to be played at Aldershot, rather than Stamford Bridge. But there are, without doubt, some at Forest who have a chance of gracing Premier-ship turf in the future.
FOREST: Gamble, Treacy, Heath, McGugan (Staples 77), Moloney, Sharpe, Fairclough, Thornhill, Newbold (Hook 63), Whitehurst, Reid (Collins 77). Subs: Redmond, Mitchell, Rodney.
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