Nottingham Forest Academy 11 defeats Newark FC 3-2 at Lowfields
A Lewis Chambers goal put Newark FC on the verge of a historic win over Nottingham Forest, but a City Ground development side made a remarkable comeback in the final five minutes to run out 3-2 winners.
Newark's joint-manager Damo Parkinson said it was a typical performance that summed up both Newark Town FC and Newark Flowserve — teams who came together to form Newark FC for the one-off spectacle that celebrated 150 years of football being played in the town.
"Newark worked hard and were disciplined, and although they (Forest) looked really good, I thought we created more chances than they did," Parkinson told the Advertiser after last night's final whistle.
"The lads were disappointed because it was two late goals, but they had been at work all day and were playing against lads who are fighting for professional contracts.
"It was a good game of football to watch and we were very combative."
In the opening 10 minutes the standard of Forest's Academy side was clear to see, and after Newark's shot-stopper Nathan Burrows had made a smart save to keep Frankwe out, the Reds' number nine, Swan, forced an unfortunate own goal when he fired the ball into Luke Boddy, whose clearance flew into the back of his own net.
But Newark responded almost immediately as a long throw caught Forest's under-18 goalkeeper Nykah Liburd-Hines out, and both Tyler Martin and Ryan Pilborough were on hand to scramble the ball over the line, the former getting the last touch.
Having drawn level, Newark should have gone ahead when Chambers fired wide having done the difficult job of slipping his marker.
A diving save was needed to keep the scores even going into half-time as Burrows pushed Swan's effort around the post.
Newark were quick off the blocks in the second-half and on 50 minutes, Chambers made up for his earlier miss as he hit a sweet half-volley on his weaker left foot, which flew past the keeper.
Parkinson and Craig Roche emptied the Newark bench in a 15 minute period between 60 and 75 minutes as James Evans, Kieran Job, Liam Moran, Callum Barnes and Leighton Nicholson experienced the special night.
On 82 minutes, and after Swan had missed a glorious chance from six yards out, the fresh legs of Job ran behind the defence and managed to escape the challenge of the Forest keeper, but a recovering defender managed to clear the ball.
Forest had also made a change, and 14-year-old Perkins had entered the fray.
With three minutes to play, the youngster, who was by far the smallest player on the pitch, picked up the ball 25 yards out and fired a left footed shot past the keeper to level the score.
In the next attack Forest took the lead as their number ten hit what proved to be the match-winner through a crowd of players and past the hapless Burrows, who managed to get a touch on the ball.
Roche, joint-manager of Newark, said: "The players did superb and we have told them not to be disappointed with the result.
"They were playing against a team who train together day in, day out — a side that were very well drilled.
"They were the best talent at that age group at the biggest professional football club in our area.
"In the first 20 minutes I think the standard showed, but after the lads got a grip of the game we restricted them to maybe five chances all game."
Roche said it was harsh on Newark not to get something out of the game.
"We knew they would make the pitch big and they pulled us around," said Roche.
"We let them play and forced them long. The lads worked really hard."
As the players walked off the pitch Forest's 14-year-old goalscorer was applauded by Newark supporters.
"Everyone turned an eye when he came onto the pitch, he was a very little lad," said Roche.
"Forest see something in him and they must believe in him to test him against adults and men.
"He hit a great strike."
The two managers, who manage Newark Flowserve and Newark Town respectively, were in agreement that local people support local football.
"Tonight proves that no matter who it is, or who is playing, local people do support local football," said Roche.
"It helps that were playing a side like Forest, but the proof is in the pudding, the support is there if we can entertain them."
Click HERE for photos from the five-goal thriller.