Nottingham Forest U23s went five points clear at the top of the Professional Development League with a 1 – 0 victory over Wigan Athletic at the Impact Arena on Monday night.
Kieran Hayes got the crucial goal for Jimmy Gilligan’s side on 41 minutes as the Reds stretched their league unbeaten run to six matches and secured their first clean sheet of the season.
Tyrese Fornah capitalised on an early slip by Jensen Weir but his effort from just outside the area went well over.
Divin Baningine stole onto a lax pass by Fornah before the Forest man brought him down for a Latics free kick. Siampanis held onto Adam Long’s downwards header at the back post.
En-Neyah almost created a chance after good linkup play down the left after 16 but his cross went behind for a Wigan goal kick.
Liam Sole got on the end of a long ball from Siampanis, who beat Luke Robinson with a step-over but his shot on the angle flashed just over the bar.
Jensen Weir clipped a nice ball into Crankshaw for the visitors with 27 minutes gone but the winger’s cross was blocked and the hosts were able to clear.
Some good linkup play from Latics gave Weir the space to pick out Luke Robinson on the overlap with a lovely ball between the lines but the left-back’s cross was blocked and cleared away by Ethan Stewart.
Liam Sole and Luke Robinson continued their battle into the 34th minute when he went inside then outside before seeing his low cross blocked for a corner.
Divin Baningine was played through nicely by Weir moments later but Siampanis got down well to save with his legs when the Wigan winger looked favourite to score.
Forest went ahead in the 41st minute as KIERAN HAYES got on the end of a rebounded Liam Sole effort to put the Reds 1-0 up going into the break. Forest 1 – 0 Wigan.
HALF-TIME: FOREST U23 1 – 0 WIGAN U23
The second period began with a sliced Ethan Stewart clearance giving the visitors a corner. Jensen Weir’s delivery was collected by Siampanis who came in for Jordan Smith in one of four changes from last week’s draw against Sheffield United.
They might have made it two in the 66th minute as En-Neyah’s drilled shot was tipped wide by Cyolla for a corner. Wigan broke from the corner and Preston was booked for taking down Ollie Crankshaw as he broke forward.
England Under-18 international Mighten was a pleasure to watch down the left; his pace and trickery won the Reds a free kick on 76. Preston’s delivery was met by Stewart whose header cleared the bar comfortably.
Forest forced the issue on 84 minutes with an Alex Mighten effort smashing the far post, before Cyolla brilliantly tipped substitute Swan’s rebound wide from the edge of the area.
Wigan nearly found the equaliser with two minutes to go as Scott Smith’s cross found Joe Piggott, but Siampanis got everything behind his header.
The hosts managed to see out a narrow 1 – 0 result to go five points clear at the top despite late Wigan pressure.
FULL-TIME: FOREST U23 1 – 0 WIGAN U23
The young Reds visit Crewe Alexandra in the Professional Development League on Monday October 28, with a 1pm kick off.
Forest: Siampanis, Rama, Gallacher (Swan 45+), Fornah, Stewart, Preston (c), Sole, Barnes, En-Neyah, Hayes (Sodiende 73’), Mighten.
Unused subs: Statham, Ram, Walsh.
Bookings: Preston (67’), En-Neyah (68’).
Goals: Hayes (41’)
Wigan: Cyolla, Colden (Jolley 65’), Robinson, Obi, Long, Smith, Weir, Merrie (c), Piggott, Baningine (Perry 79’), Crankshaw
Subs not used: Aspinall, Sanders, Finley