Tyler Walker’s season ended in heartbreak as Mansfield Town lost on penalties to Newport County in their League Two play-off semi-final.
Nottingham Forest supporters have been paying close attention to the 22-year-old’s progress at Field Mill this season. He was named in the starting line-up again for yesterday’s second leg.
Jordan Smith and Jorge Grant were also named in the squad by David Flitcroft.
The Stags were favourites to progress to the final at Wembley after picking up a 1-1 draw in the first leg at Rodney Parade. But their hopes of securing promotion to League One were ended on penalties after a goalless draw in the second leg.
Newport won the penalty shootout 5-3, with Walker missing the crucial third penalty for the Stags. Joe Day was able to quickly get down to his right to turn his penalty round the post.
Some Reds supporters have shown their support for the striker on social media following his miss:
#nffc still managing to lose the play offs and we’re not even in them! Gutted for Tyler.
— Thomas Payne (@trickytrees12) May 12, 2019
Unlucky Mansfield, that’ll be character building for Walker in the long run but gutted for him now. He’ll come back to #NFFC a better player.
— Dave Holmes (@DaveHolmes1) May 12, 2019
— Forest FanBase (@ForestFanBase) May 12, 2019
— Woody (@Mister_Forest) May 12, 2019
— Charlie Morgan (@CharlieMorgan20) May 12, 2019
Gutted for Tyler Walker. Been the best striker in League 2 this season. A cruel way to end his time at Mansfield. Has to be given an opportunity at #NFFC next season.
— Dom Gourlay (@domlikesrabbits) May 12, 2019
Despite his miss, there’s no doubt that Walker has enjoyed a superb season. He was named in the League Two Team of the Year after netting 26 goals. If it wasn’t for his contribution, then the Stags wouldn’t have been in the play-offs to start with.
In this case, Walker will be returning to the City Ground in the next few months alongside Smith and Grant. It’s fair to say he has the best chance of breaking into Martin O’Neill’s side.
It may take him a while to recover from this heartbreak, but he could have a big opportunity next season.
The Reds don’t have too many attacking options, and Walker’s youthful energy might be exactly what they need. It could be his last chance to prove he has what it takes to be successful with the Reds.