Marcus Tudgay nets winner against old club as Derby County U21s lose out to rivals Nottingham Forest
NOTTINGHAM Forest striker Marcus Tudgay hit the winner against his old club as Derby County Under-21s slipped to a second successive defeat.
The Rams led at the interval through a Michael Jacobs penalty but Forest hit back after the break with goals from midfielder Jonathan Greening and Tudgay.
Derby goalkeeper Frank Fielding returned to action in yesterday's Under-21 Professional Development League Two North fixture at the Nigel Doughty Academy, having missed seven first-team games due to a groin injury.
Jake Buxton, who played as a makeshift striker in the 5-0 home defeat to Leeds United, was given a run-out in his regular position of centre-back.
Buxton and Fielding had both started the Rams' 1-0 Championship victory over rivals Forest at the City Ground in September.
Jacobs created the first clear-cut chance after seven minutes, cutting in from the left and curling a right-foot shot against the far post.
Three minutes later, Jacobs' free kick clipped the top of the defensive wall and flew narrowly over the bar.
In the 16th minute, it was Forest's turn to be denied by the woodwork.
American international Robbie Findley found some space outside the box and sent a dipping effort crashing against the bar.
Derby were having the better of the play at this stage as they pushed for an opening goal.
Kieron Fenton's poor backpass let in Kwame Thomas in the 33rd minute but the Forest keeper Karl Darlow did well to save at his feet.
Soon afterwards, Nathan Tyson chased a pass over the top on the left and attempted to lob Darlow.
The keeper managed to get a hand on it and the touch proved crucial as the ball came down off the underside of the crossbar and stayed out, to Tyson's disbelief.
The Rams remained on the attack and when Jacobs won possession in midfield and weaved his way into the box, he was clearly clipped by Greening.
Referee Adam Burgess pointed to the spot and Jacobs picked himself up to coolly dispatch the penalty, sending Darlow the wrong way.
The hosts almost hit back on the stroke of half-time when Ben Osborn's low centre was sent goalwards by Kieran Wallace but Kieron Freeman produced a crucial diving block against his former club.
That was perhaps a warning sign but Derby failed to heed it as they conceded three minutes into the second half.
Greening combined with Wallace on his way into the area and after Tom Naylor's challenge failed to clear the danger, the former West Bromwich Albion man slid a low shot wide of Fielding.
Derby seemed to be hindered by the increasingly strong wind as Forest began to gain the initiative.
Findley's 58th-minute effort from Wallace's cross might have gone in had it not been for a slight deflection off Buxton.
New Zealand youngster Luke Adams replaced Tom Naylor, who had picked up a knock, after an hour, so captain Valentin Gjokaj switched from central midfield to right-back.
Fielding needed to be alert to turn Wallace's low shot around the post after 67 minutes but, from the resulting corner, Forest took the lead.
Greening's outswinger dropped to the feet of Tudgay, who span and fired low into the net through a crowd of players, despite the presence of Andrew Dales on the line.
There was a surprise return to action for Conor Doyle, who returned to the UK last week after undergoing emergency surgery to remove his appendix in America a month ago.
But Derby created little in the second half, Jacobs shooting tamely at Darlow in a rare attack after 76 minutes.
Forest might have added to their advantage but Tudgay's rising drive was palmed over by Fielding.
Defender Mark O'Brien needed treatment for a facial injury that temporarily left the Rams with only 10 men towards the end.
But even once he returned to the fray, the visitors were unable to force an equaliser.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST: Darlow, Papworth, Blake, Fenton, Andrews, Greening, Regan, Wallace, Osborn, Tudgay, Findley. Subs: Otim, Smith, Gnahore, Ferrier, Gregory.
DERBY COUNTY: Fielding, Naylor (Adam, 60), O'Brien, Buxton (Doyle, 68), Hoganson, Freeman, Dales (Richards, 82), Gjokaj, Jacobs, Tyson, Thomas. Other sub: Morch (gk).
REFEREE: A Burgess (Killamarsh).