Nottingham Forest made it two wins in two pre-season games with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Port Vale at Vale Park on Saturday afternoon.
On a blistering day in Staffordshire, it was Chris Hughton’s side who made the breakthrough on 13 minutes.
Jack Colback found Jayden Richardson on space on the left flank, with the full-back driving forward and playing in Alex Mighten. The winger cut inside onto his right foot before firing a ferocious effort across goal and in off the post. An early lead for the Reds.
There would be no first outing for new signing Ethan Horvath despite the American travelling to Vale Park with the Forest squad, but he watched on as fellow goalkeeper Jordan Smith produced a strong save to deny Devante Rodney’s curling effort from the edge of the area.
On 27 minutes, Forest doubled their lead. Nuno da Costa showed real strength and prowess to chest a long kick down for Joao Carvalho to run onto, before the Portuguese midfielder advanced and slipped in Cafu to his right. His shot was parried, but Jack Colback was on hand to control the ball before picking his spot and firing beyond Lucas Covolan. 2-0 to the visitors.
Forest were making the most of the noticeably wide Vale Park pitch, with Jordan Gabriel and Richardson both showing desire to get forward, and Mal Benning and Ben Garrity also showing the same desire for the hosts.
It was Carvalho who found himself in a similar aforementioned position on the half-hour mark, with the playmaker shrugging off Aaron Martin and weaving his way into the area, before going down under the challenge of a Vale defender. No penalty, despite his protests.
Forest had Smith to thank once again soon after, with former Manchester United forward James Wilson producing a quick turn-and-shot which was kept out at point-blank range by the shot-stopper.
The half-time whistle blew to mark the end of what was a relatively comfortable 45 minutes for Forest, despite an improved Vale performance towards the end of the half.
The second half began, and another quick attacking move nearly culminated in a third goal for Forest. Carvalho sent da Costa chasing a ball down the left-hand side, with the forward’s pull back eventually finding Mighten who was denied his second goal of the game at the back post.
A flurry of changes were then made by the Reds. Having replaced the impressive Smith with Brice Samba at the interval, Joe Lolley, Tyrese Fornah, Oliver Hammond, Ateef Konate and Josh Barnes were introduced, replacing Carvalho, Cafu, Colback, da Costa and Ryan Yates.
Samba was called into action on 65 minutes, getting down low to produce a comfortable save which prevented Tom Conlon’s free-kick from finding the net.
Jamie Proctor fired harmlessly over the bar as chances became few and far between, as the heat continued to play a part on the tempo of the game.
In the end, the whistle blew to mark the end of a relatively comfortable afternoon’s work for the Reds, who maintained their perfect start to pre-season courtesy of Mighten and Colback’s starts.