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Match Reports

Nottingham Forest U23s 1 Burnley U23s 1

Dean Marney and Nahki Wells make comebacks as Clarets extend unbeaten run

13 October 2017

Dean Marney successfully completed 45 minutes as he stepped up his comeback to help the Clarets’ U23s extend their unbeaten run to four games.

Marney played just the first half – as planned – at the City Ground in his first competitive outing since sustaining a knee injury in January.

And summer signing Nahki Wells also made his return from injury with a first outing in a Burnley shirt as the striker came through an hour.

The return of Marney was a welcome sight after his battle back from surgery to repair a second cruciate ligament injury he suffered at Arsenal nearly nine months ago.

The long-serving midfielder saw plenty of the ball during his appearance as an over-age player in Michael Duff’s side.

Freddie Ulvestad heads the Clarets in front

And the 33-year-old also won his share of tackles as he continues to build towards a return to full fitness.

Wells is back in action after recovering from a minor foot operation to remove a screw inserted following surgery earlier in his career.

And the former Huddersfield Town frontman looked lively whenever he got around the penalty area, almost creating an early chance for strike partner Tinashe Chakwana.

Wells robbed Forest centre-back Ethan Stewart but his low cross just eluded Chakwana as he broke into the box.

But the Clarets did go ahead after 22 minutes through Freddie Ulvestad.

Forest initially survived when a Harry Flowers’ header was blocked but when Dwight McNeil clipped the ball back in following a corner, Ulvestad nodded in at the far post.

The home side – second in the table before kick-off and captained by former Wales international David Vaughan – looked to hit back through Lewis Walters, who twice almost forced an equaliser before the break.

The former Leeds United youngster seized on a mix-up between Ali Koiki and and Olly Younger to set up Aaron Smith for a chance he lifted over the top from eight yards.

And Walters then went it alone with an attempted chip which Adam Legzdins touched over the bar.

However, Forest didn’t have to wait much longer to get level as they made it 1-1 four minutes into the second half.

The lively Walters was again involved with a run down the right and a perfect square pass for Matty Cash, working his way back into first-team contention after making 30 appearances last season, to side-foot powerfully past Legzdins.

Wells made way for Khius Metz with an hour gone and the substitute had an immediate chance to make his mark, forcing Stephen Henderson to make a sharp save from his 12-yard strike.

And the Clarets then had an even better chance to regain the lead.

Arlen Birch’s far-post cross was poorly dealt with but from Stewart’s headed clearance, McNeil snatched at the opportunity and shot over the bar.

Forest replied with another opening for Cash, which brought a fine smothering save from Legzdins.

Forest replied with another opening for Cash, which brought a fine smothering save from Legzdins the midfielder then curled a free-kick just wide.

But the Clarets finished strongly, whipping a couple of dangerous balls across the face of goal and then seeing Henderson save from Metz with the last kick of the game as Duff's men almost grabbed all three points.

Nottingham Forest: Henderson, Richardson, Crookes, Ahmedhodzic, Stewart, Vaughan, Cash, Smith (Appiah 63), Walters, Gomis (Hayes 83), Edser (Otim 63). Substitutes: Hayes, Bossin, Taylor.

Booked: Crookes, Otim

Burnley: Legzdins, Birch, Flowers, Younger, Koiki, Bayode (Thomas 87), Marney (Nabi ht), Ulvestad, McNeil, Wells (Metz 60), Chakwana. Substitutes: Stone, Clarke.

Booked: Flowers, Younger

Referee: Simon Mather

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