New boss sees young U's beaten 3-1.
The U's U21s have been beaten 3-1 by Nottingham Forest.
The first home game for the youngsters saw Nottingham Forest visit north Essex, on the day Tony Humes was appointed boss after Joe Dunne’s departure.
And the new manager was in the dug out at the Weston Homes Community Stadium to watch his young U's squad take on Championship side Forest.
He saw the visitors go ahead halfway through the first half, as Rees headed home from close range after Bransgrove could only palm out a set piece.
They doubled their lead just before the break, with Burke slotting home under Bransgrove in the home goal.
The U’s responded well in the second half but despite Tyler Brampton scoring from distance, the visitors scored a third through Laird to make the game safe.
Sanchez Watt, who made a massive impact as a substitute on Saturday against Peterborough, was in the U21s starting eleven to get more minutes under his belt, alongside two other subs from the weekend, Dan Holman and Frankie Kent.
Ipswich Town’s midfielder Byron Lawrence was also in the U’s side, as he looked to impress the U’s new manager.
It was Forest who had the better of the early possession though and Dexter Blackstock had the first sight of goal for the visitors.
On five minutes, he hit his shot first time from just outside the box, but the curl wasn’t enough to get it inside the far post.
Three minutes later, Bransgrove had to tip the ball over from a dangerous right wing cross, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.
On eighteen minutes, good pressing from the U’s front line saw Watt pick up possession before finding Macauley Bonne on the right.
Bonne spotted Lawrence running in at the far post but the midfielder was stretching and could only hit his shot straight at De Vries.
The visitors went ahead on twenty three minutes, when Bransgrove could only palm away a set piece, allowing Rees to head home from close range.
The U’s responded well though, and created a trio of chances in the space of a few minutes around the half hour mark.
First, Jack Curtis smacked the base of the post after a great run from Watt, then Watt created another chance, this time Holman had his effort well saved.
Then it was the turn of Lawrence, with his effort from twenty yards zipping across the wet surface but unfortunately the shot was straight at the keeper.
With five minutes of the half remaining, Bransgrove prevented Forest doubling their lead, as he saved with his legs from a shot on the angle from McLaughlin.
The visitors got a second goal two minutes later though, as Burke latched onto a through ball and slotted under the advancing Bransgrove.
Tom Lapslie picked up an injury late in the half and had to be replaced by Kevin Lokko, who was only on the pitch for a minute before the ref blew the half time whistle.
The U’s started the second half better but it was the home keeper who had to make the first save, keeping out Walker with his legs.
Lawrence was having a positive influence as the U’s went forward, and he was denied by the visiting keeper on fifty three minutes after a strong run into the box.
Dominic Smith replaced Dan Holman just before the hour mark, and the U’s got themselves back in the game four minutes later.
A short corner was rolled back to Tyler Brampton, and the full back cut in onto his right foot and drilled a twenty five yard shot into the bottom corner.
Sanchez Watt was then replaced by Conor Hubble, with the winger getting a good sixty five minutes under his belt.
Forest withstood a period of U’s pressure and were happy to hit the U’s on the break, with Bransgrove having to save from Burke with twelve minutes remaining.
And on eighty five minutes, the visitors made the game safe with a third goal, Laing showing good strength and composure before drilling his shot in from the angle.
The last chance of the game came in the last minute, with De Vries saving at his near post from a shot by Lawrence.
It was a good second half response from the young U’s, which ultimately fell short, and there were plenty of positive performances from the youngsters looking to impress the new U’s manager.