Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper was delighted to see his much-changed side pass their character test in the Carabao Cup against League Two opponents Grimsby at Blundell Park.
Ryan Yates set Forest on their way to the third round with a thunderbolt, before teammate Sam Surridge took centre stage with a brace. He scored either side of the break as Grimsby went close through Kieran Green and Ryan Taylor.
Surridge took advantage of a slip in possession from Green to notch his first before making his mark in the box once again 13 minutes from the end.
Premier League outfit Forest made 11 changes and that decision was fully vindicated in the 3-0 victory despite Grimsby putting up a gallant fight, especially after the restart.
Forest manager Cooper said: “It was great for these players to play and experience it with our away fans, who were great as usual. It was brilliant for the young kids and we are really proud of them.
“It was a good performance and result. We wanted to win the game and there were plenty of plusses. We try and train the way we play, but there is nothing like a match when there’s an opponent and a crowd.”
After easing past Crewe in the first round, things did not play out as planned for Grimsby and, while they competed for spells in this tie, a cup upset never seemed on the cards for Paul Hurst.
The Grimsby manager said: “We did well in general. I’m a lot happier than I was after Saturday, despite us losing the game and conceding three goals.
“For me, the frustration is that no matter how well Forest play, the first two goals are avoidable. It was self-inflicted to a degree, albeit they put us under pressure for the ball.
“We had one or two moments and in the second half we had more than that, so it was a shame that we couldn’t get that goal for the fans to celebrate. It would have been reward for them and I think they enjoyed the occasion.”
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