Lee Clark fielded a completely different starting XI to the one that kicked off at Kidderminster Harriers three days early as the Blues boss looked to give his entire squad vital match minutes.
And that XI certainly didn’t disappoint to hand Clark a series of welcome selection headaches with the start of the 2014/15 Sky Bet Championship just around the corner.
A poacher-like brace from Clayton Donaldson, a well-taken strike from Andy Shinnie and a late header from Jonathan Grounds was enough to do the damage against a Notts County side who struggled to deal with Blues’ energy.
Blues hit their host with successive sucker punches in the 13th and 14th minute. The first, Donaldson’s opener, came from a Demarai Gray corner from the left which was met by a downward header from Grounds. Yet, despite the best efforts of Fabian Spiess in the Notts County goal, the former Brentford man was on hand to hook home from a yard out.
Then, seconds later, an exquisite Reece Brown pass was met with a touch of equal quality from Shinnie to see the Scotsman beat the offside trap and cooly slot past Spiess with time on his hands.
Donaldson and Shinnie were linking up well and the latter was set free by the former in the 19th minute only to see Spiess got a finger on his effort to tip the effort wide.
After goals in earlier pre-season fixtures at Forest Green Rovers and Kidderminster, Donaldson is a striker who is oozing with confidence so it was no surprise to see him lash a powerful right-footed at goal drive from 20 yards; on this occasion Spiess was equal to it.
With former Blues man Hayden Mullins captaining the side, Notts County introduced another familiar face at the interval - striker Akwasi Asante, who is currently on trial with the Magpies.
Yet the Blues Academy graduate couldn’t make an impact against his former employers who were heading for their fourth straight pre-season victory and clean sheet.
Donaldson continued to threaten and almost got lucky when Spiess spilled a Gray cross only to see Mullins clear off the line.
However, there was no stopping the goal-hungry Donaldson in the 58th minute when he latched on to a sloppy backpass from Notts County’s Taylor McKenzie to round Spiess and make it 3-0.
Having gone close with two similar headers from set pieces earlier in the game, Grounds grabbed a deserved goal of his own in the 89th minute. Operating at centre-half again, Grounds strode forward to head home a right-sided Mark Duffy corner and round off another successful pre-season result for Blues.
Doyle; Caddis, Grounds, Packwood, Reilly; Gray (Duffy 73), Gleeson (Eardley 58), Lee (Adeyemi 73), Brown (Cotterill 73); Shinnie (Novak 58), Donaldson (Thomas 58).
Unused subs: Trueman, Edgar, Hall, Hancox.
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