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Sheff Utd U21s 3 Blues U21s 1

Posted: Thu 18 Apr 2013

Ryan Higgins

Image by: Roy Smiljanic

Blues U21s were beaten 3-1 by their Sheffield United counterparts at Bramall Lane on Thursday afternoon.

In fairness to Richard Beale’s side it was harsh scoreline and a draw would have been a fairer outcome.

Blues made the best possible start as they raced into a fifth minute lead courtesy of Newcastle trialist Mike Richardson.

Ryan Higgins (pictured) sent in a neat cross from the right and the 21-year-old Magpies man made no mistake as he blasted a low shot into the back of the net.

But with Blues still celebrating, the young Blades broke forward directly from the restart and were awarded a penalty following a clumsy challenge by Nat Kelly. Striker Jordan Robertson made no mistake as he slammed the ball home from the spot.

The game then ebbed and flowed between the two sides, before Blues keeper Callum Preston produced a brilliant finger-tip save to push Kyle Scarisbrick’s 25-yard pile driver over the bar. 

The second half was even as a contest until the 71st minute, which was when The Blades took the lead following a corner. Blues failed to clear their lines and Blades centre half Chris Salt took advantage of some sloppy Blues defending to hand his side the advantage.

Then as Blues surged forward in search of an equaliser, substitute Jake Eyre sealed the victory for the Yorkshire outfit in the 88th minute with a close-range shot.

As well as goalscorer Richardson U21s boss Beale was able to use the match to give run-outs to three other trialists – Facunda Zampa (S.S. Cavese), Sam Gainford (Liverpool) and Courtney Cameron (Villa).

Commenting after the game Beale admitted he was unhappy with his side’s first half performance but pleased with the way they improved after the break.

“Overall it probably was a harsh scoreline,” he said. “But after making a good start and scoring an early goal, to then concede just 15 seconds after the kick-off was very disappointing.

“For the rest of the first half our performance levels were nowhere near what we are after. It was an experimental side and we had a number of trialists playing and some young players, but that’s no excuse because every time a team goes out on to that pitch we have minimum standards at Birmingham City and in the first half they didn’t come up to them.

"That’s been the story of the last couple of games and the boys have got to realise they need to perform consistently. The young lads that have got into the first team at this football club have always shown 100 per cent commitment and desire and work rate.

“In the second half we played some much better football and got much higher up the pitch, got more crosses in and more shots away and we played much better despite going on to lose the game 3-1.

“The second goal was an honest mistake and the third goal came when we were pushing to get an equaliser in the game.”

"If these boys want to get anywhere near the first team they’ve got to realise the manager needs to rely on them from minute one to minute 96."

Blues U21s: Callum Preston, Ryan Higgins, Courtney Cameron, Jean Kalenda, Emmitt Delfouneso (Amari'i Bell, 60), Nat Kelly, Charlee Adams, Facunda Emanuel Zampa (Reece Brown, 55), Reece Hales (Sam Gainford, 55), Mike Richardson, Liam Truslove.
Subs not used: Connel Trueman, Theo Bailey-Jones.