Nottingham Forest survive dangerous Carabao Cup tie against Fleetwood Town

Nottingham Forest manager Sabri Lamouchi
Nottingham Forest manager Sabri Lamouchi

Forest earned their first win of the season with a League Cup victory over Fleetwood Town

Tiago Silva's second-half strike was enough to see Forest through to the second round of the League Cup.

The competition has been kind to Forest over the years. Six finals and four wins is an impressive record - we'll skip over the fact the last final was 27 years ago and the trophy has gone through numerous name changes in those long years.

Back then, a certain Brian Clough made minimal changes to his starting XI from game to game.

But times, and football, have changed and wholesale changes are the norm now as managers prioritise league points over a midweek Carabao Cup first round game against lower league opposition in mid-August.

The decision splits fans. Do you want to keep a team playing together, or do you want to give vital match minutes to squad players? Do you want to put your best team out and put on a show - 8-0 at Doncaster Rovers springs to mind - or rest those players to keep them fresher for the league game. Last season's disappointing cup exit at lower league Burton Albion the case in point. Let's not forget Burton went on to reach the semi-final. It's a long time since Forest went that far in a cup competition - 27 years in fact.

Pre-match, new Forest boss Sabri Lamouchi was firmly in the former camp.

"We will make some changes to the team but not a lot," he said. "This is not a game for experimentation or just to give some game-time to the new players, this is a game where we need to put out the best available team and progress to the next round."

However, come kick-off and it was the latter which had clearly won the day, with just the nine changes for the side in the Championship with just a single point from their opening two games. In contrast, visitors Fleetwood Town - sitting pretty in third in League One with a 100 per cent record - made just two.

For Forest, there were debuts for new signings Brice Samba, Yuri Ribeiro, John Bostock and Carl Jenkinson, alongside first starts for Sammy Ameobi and Rafa Mir. Just Joe Worrall, as captain, and Tiago Silva kept their place from Saturday's hard-fought point at promotion favourites Leeds United.

That less than 7,500 fans turned out on a cool Tuesday night suggests Labouchi was right to prioritise the league, although it gave those fresh faces a chance to impress - which some took more than others.

Jenkinson tested Fleetwood keeper Alex Cairns with a vicious half-volley inside three minutes after Silva's free-kick was only half cleared, but Forest struggled to create anything clear-cut in the rest of the first half.

Fleetwood, on their first visit to the City Ground, were restricted to a couple of efforts from distance which failed to trouble Samba, while Forest were content to knock the ball around midfield and defence for long periods, patiently to the point of tedium. It seemed the 20,000-plus fans who stayed away after Forest's last home game had made the right decision.

Long periods of possession - with Bostock and Silva at the heart - with frequent passes back to the halfway line, petered out with poor crosses, or were brought to an abrupt end by referee Alan Young's frequent whistle, as the game was halted for anything which remotely looked like contact, let alone actual fouls.

Forest started the second half with more intent, as they looked to move the ball forward more quickly, and rewarded after 58 minutes when Silva broke the deadlock with his first goal for the club, bursting through a weak tackle inside the penalty area before lashing the ball past Cairns into the roof of the net from eight yards.

Fleetwood came close to pulling a goal back when for once, the ref failed to pull play back as Bostock was bundled to the ground from behind, but Fleetwood captain Paul Coutts shot straight at Samba.

And Samba was called into action with eight minutes to go, diving to his left to palm away Ross Wallace's free kick, harshly given against Bostock, who joined Silva in the referee's notebook for persistent fouling.

The impressive Samba made another smart save as Fleetwood pushed for an equaliser, before a long ball over the top caught Forest flat and Paddy Madden ran through, only to pull his shot wide of Samba's left-hand post, in what was the visitors' last chance of the game as Forest held on to progress.

Forest: Samba; Jenkinson, Ribeiro, Worrall (capt), Figuereido; Bostock, Sow (Johnson, 64), Silva; Appiah (Cash, 75), Ameobi, Mir. Subs not used: Muric, Milosevic, Robinson, Richardson, Mighten.