ALEX Dobre’s first-half strike proved the difference as Cherries opened their Premier league Cup campaign with a 1-0 victory over Nottingham Forest.

The Romanian under-21 international struck the winner for Shaun Cooper’s side to take all three points in the Group E encounter.

The hosts named first-team squad members Mark Travers, Jack Simpson, Dobre and Gavin Kilkenny in their line-up.

Forest, who reached the last eight in the competition last season, should have been ahead on seven minutes.

Defender Corey Jordan was judged to have felled England under-18 youth international Alex Mighten in the box and referee Adrian Quelch showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Up stepped Zach Clough, a £3million buy from Bolton in January 2017.

But his spot-kick was blazed into the stand having not troubled Travers.

Cherries then had a goal disallowed on 16 minutes. Jaidon Anthony pounced to convert after Dobre’s shot had cannoned off Jake Scrimshaw inside the box.

But the forward’s effort was chalked off after he was flagged offside.

Kilkenny went into the book on the half-hour mark but Brennan Johnson’s free-kick failed to trouble Ireland international Travers.

It was Cherries who took the lead on 36 minutes.

After Kilkenny’s short corner found its way to Dobre – the Romanian’s drilled strike from the edge of the box proved too hot to handle for Forest keeper Marios Siampanis.

On loan from Olympiacos, the stopper got a hand to the effort diving to his right but failed to prevent the ball finding the net.

Forest could have been level just three minutes after the break. After Kilkenny lost out to Clough in midfield, the former Rochdale loanee let fly with a vicious strike which was tipped away by Travers.

The Maynooth born keeper had to be alert to deny Clough once more, flying to his left to keep out a low drive after the Forest midfielder was teed up by Mighten.

Anthony then required treatment after a poorly timed challenge from visiting defender Malique Spooner, who was in turn booked.

Siampanis was at full stretch to palm away Anthony’s free-kick with 15 minutes remaining.

Travers, who impressed with some sharp stops in the second half, then denied substitute Victor Sodeinde after Tom Dinsmore lost possession in a dangerous area.

The hosts should have put the contest to bed with three minutes remaining.

Scrimshaw saw his spot-kick saved after Jordan Zemura was tripped in the box by Louis Walsh.

But it was not to matter as Cooper’s charges held firm in the dying moments.

Cherries' next test in the competition comes with a home game against Stoke on Friday, November 8, before visiting Southampton on Monday, December 2.

Cherries: Travers, Camp, Zemura, Dinsmore, Simpson, Jordan, Dobre (Gillela, 84), Kilkenny, Scrimshaw, Hamilton (Glover, 60), Anthony. Unused subs: Gray, Saydee, Dennis (g/k).

Booked: Kilkenny, Simpson.