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Report: Forest Green Rovers 0-3 Bristol City Under-23s

City Under-23s booked their spot in the final of the Gloucestershire Senior Challenge Cup with a convincing 3-0 win away to Forest Green Rovers.

Tin Plavotic, Marcus Day, and Tyreeq Bakinson all netted in an excellent first have performance from City.

It could have been more than three if it wasn’t for the heroics of Forest Green goalkeeper Cameron Belford, who denied a number of City players.

A win ensures a spot in the final of the competition, where they will face Gloucester City for the opportunity to retain the trophy.

The first opportunity of the game fell to the home side. Tahvon Campbell found some space and delivered a great ball towards Olly Mehew, who forced a smart stop from Jojo Wollacott.

The hosts came forward again shortly after, through Nathan Trueman. The right-back produced a whipped cross into the City area, but the ball evaded any of his teammates.

It was then City’s turn to have a foray forward. Rory Holden found Freddie Hinds at the edge of the area, but his shot was deflected out for a corner.

City were then in lead only moments later. A superb ball into the box found Bakinson, whose initial header was saved by Belford, but Plavotic was on hand to nod in the rebound.

Day was finding a lot of space on the left-hand side, and his run earned a corner, which resulted in the goal that doubled City’s advantage. George Nurse’s delivery found its way to Day, who curled the ball beyond the goalkeeper.

City began to dominate proceedings, and almost found a third through unlikely circumstances. A defensive back pass wrong-footed goalkeeper Belford, but the shot-stopper managed to clear at the last moment.

A strong City penalty appeal was then waved away by the referee as Day surged forward and went down under a challenge but despite protests, Craig Simpson waved play on.

They would have their third not long after. A poor pass from Belford fell into the path of Bakinson, who bent his effort beyond the reach of the Forest Green goalkeeper.

A superb first 45 minutes from City meant the job was half done.

The beginning of the second half started similarly to the first, with the home side creating the first chance. Jordan Simpson’s effort was never going to trouble Wollacott, however.

Rory Holden then had City’s first chance in the second half. His curling effort earned a corner, but nothing came from it.

Plavotic came close to his second of the game, and City’s fourth. His effort, like Holden’s, curled wide of the post.

Belford then produced a series of superb saves to keep the score respectable. Holden’s shot was tipped over the bar, before Bakinson’s flick from the resulting corner was tipped onto the upright.

Ricardo Rees was the next player to be denied by Belford, who got across well to deny the youngster from close range.

Day was then denied again by Belford. Put through on goal, Belford smothered him well to stop him from pulling the trigger.

The home side did pour players forward in an attempt to pull a goal back. Campbell came close, but he could only find the side netting with his effort.

Day, who had been causing problems all game for City, thought he had scored City’s fourth. His shot had beaten Belford, but it had also beaten the post as it went wide of the goal.

Forest Green’s best opportunity of the game came around ten minutes from time. Mehew found space in the City area, but Wollacott got down well to preserve his clean sheet.

As the game started to wind down, so did the chances. Holden had the game’s final chance, but after turning well in the box, he couldn’t hit the target.

City Under-23s: Wollacott, Turner-Williams, Nurse, Morton, Smith, Holden, Bakinson, Hinds (Rees 23), Richards, Day (Towler 83), Plavotic. Subs: Ali, Carey, Harrison.

Report by Ryan Payne.

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