Paul Caddis got another 90 minutes under his belt as Blues Under-23s secured a late victory in tonight’s Under-23 friendly at the New Bucks Head.
The non-league hosts fielded an experienced side that included several of their recent First Team signings, whilst Caddis was the only senior player in a Blues squad otherwise made up of young professionals and Academy scholars, plus trialists Bobby Moseley and Ross Haig.
And it was Haig that scored the goal with just over a minute left to break the deadlock in a hard-fought encounter.
It may have been a behind-closed-doors training match but there was no quarter given from either side with some thunderous tackles coming in from either team.
There were no clear-cut chances during the opening third of the game, with defences very much on top and the only sights of goal coming from distance.
Blues’ first effort of note came on 35 minutes and again it was from long-range, George O’Neill trying his luck from 25 yards with a fierce effort that whistled only narrowly wide of the right post.
Wes McDonald embarked on a mazy run from the halfway line soon afterwards, slaloming his way past two or three Telford players. He was only stopped in his tracks by a last-ditch Dwayne Samuels tackle which prevented the winger from getting a clear run on goal.
Richard Beale’s side continued to press as half-time approached and a terrific Cruyff turn from Beryly Lubala created the space for a shot. But whilst the build-up was classy, the finish lacked the same artistry as the striker skied the ball well over the bar from 20 yards.
Noe Baba and McDonald were replaced by the two Ollys, Mulders and McCoy, at half-time and the latter had an early chance in the second period.
The recent signing from Beaconsfield advanced into the area and resisted the chance to shoot, instead opting to try and skip past the last defender, which he managed to do but from a narrow angle he crashed a shot wide of the post.
Connal Trueman was called into meaningful action for the first time on 58 minutes when he denied Connor McCarthy with a terrific save, blocking the Telford substitute’s low close-range drive with his legs.
The visitors continued to make a host of changes, including the introduction of two trialists and a first Under-23 appearance for Academy scholar Joe Redmond.
McCarthy came close for the hosts in the 85th minute with a thunderous shot from 20 yards that rattled the crossbar but it was Blues that pinched victory.
Two of the substitutes combined as Mulders played a delightful lob over the top of the Telford defence and Haig finished well with the half-volley that looped over the home keeper and nestled nicely into the net.
A job well done and a useful exercise for Beale and his players.
Blues U23s: Connal Trueman (Jake Weaver 64); Paul Caddis, Wes Harding, Luke Maxwell, Steve Seddon (Joe Redmond 76); Noe Baba (Olly Mulders h/t); Koby Arthur (Bobby Moseley 60), Corey O’Keeffe (Ross Haig 53), George O’Neill (Tai-Reece Chisholm 60), Wes McDonald (Olly McCoy h/t); Beryly Lubala.