Saturday may have ended on a downer for Nottingham Forest, but it had started so positively.

Between the hours of 3 and 5pm, the Reds’ first team toiled during a trip to Rotherham.

A 2-1 defeat to the relegation-threatened Millers has seen plenty of questions asked of the senior side.

Martin O’Neill’s men found themselves missing a spark in Championship competition – not for the first time.

Lewis Grabban did get back on the scoresheet, but there was little to shout about in truth.

Inspiration

The very opposite had been the case for one of Forest’s youth sides a few hours earlier.

Clearly not taking inspiration from those at the top, the Reds’ U18 team were in devastating form against their Coventry counterparts.

A number of eye-catching performances were put in by those in Gareth Holmes’ ranks.

As you would expect in a thumping 7-1 win.

It was, however, to be Ethan Dekel-Daks who stole the show with a quite stunning strike.

One touch was all the promising midfielder needed to set himself after collecting the kick-off.

His second sent the ball sailing over the Coventry goalkeeper from the halfway line.

Nayim, David Beckham, Xabi Alonso, Wayne Rooney, Ethan Dekel-Daks.

Not a bad list to have joined!

The talented teenager was not the only Reds starlet to have a morning to remember, though, against the Sky Blues.

While his long-range effort deservedly dominated the post-match talk, two trebles were registered by in-form team-mates.

Both Keith Asare and Will Swan bagged hat-tricks for Forest in what was the U18s’ final home game of the season.

Style

 

They certainly bowed out in some style.

Showing the seniors how to get the job done in the process!

The hope is that the future will be bright at all levels on the banks of the Trent.

Some are struggling to buy into that when it comes to the ongoing pursuit of promotion to the Premier League, but demoralising defeats will do that to you.

Heart can, however, most definitely be taken in the present from the exploits of the academy hopefuls.

Gary Brazil and his team continue to do a remarkable job away from the senior spotlight and will be hoping to see the likes of Dekel-Daks follow in some famous footsteps.

A well-trodden path from academy to first team has already been navigated by Ryan Yates and Arvin Appiah this season, and there remains the promise of many more ramblers to come.