Blades wonderkid David Brooks scored two and created another as Sheffield United’s U23s put six past Nottingham Forest at Bracken Moor yesterday.
Brooks, the former Manchester City midfielder, was influential throughout as United prevailed 6-3 in a thrilling encounter at the home of Stocksbridge Park Steels.
But it could have all been very different after Forest went ahead in the game early on, while Aaron Ramsdale saved a penalty late on.
Forest’s U23s, led by former United favourite Jack Lester, travelled to Sheffield on the back of a six-match unbeaten run and looked good value to extend that when Rob Worrall put them ahead, despite suspicions of handball from Elvis Ottam.
But United, who fielded former Stoke City striker Peter Skapetis for 90 minutes, hit back remarkably to lead 5-1 at the break. They levelled with an own goal from Ben Whiteman’s cross, after Chris Hussey had been fouled, and defender Sam Graham made it 2-1 with a true striker’s finish.
Left-back Graham Kelly, who replaced the injured Hussey early on, made it three with a superb finish into the top corner with his right foot and Brooks’ neat turn and finish further extended the lead.
Brooks then turned provider just moments later, crossing for Jake Wright Jr to tap home from close range after beating two defenders, as United took advantage of a shell-shocked Forest defence.
Forest began the second half as they did the first, on top, and they reduced the defecit when Ben Brereton coolly beat Ramsdale in a one-on-one situation.
But Brooks continued to dominate the game and restored United’s four-goal cushion when his deflected shot caught out Forest goalkeeper Chris Marques.
Visiting sub Lewis Walters made it 6-3 with a finish from close range after a free-kick wreaked havoc, and Forest had the chance to set up a nervy finish when Brereton was brought down by Callum Semple in the area.
The striker stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick, but Ramsdale guessed right and saved down to his right to ensure a comfortable victory for his side.
Blades: Ramsdale, Brown, Hussey (Kelly 16), Graham, Wilson, Semple, Reed (Gordon 76), Whiteman, Wright (K. Smith 62), Brooks, Skapetis.
Unused: Warhurst, Slater.
Forest: Marques, Charlesworth, Nielsen, McClean (Re 73), Crookes, Taylor, Ahmedhodzic, Edser, Worrall (Jemson 73), Otim, Brereton. Subs not used: Walters, Wright, McCormick.