Report: Middlesbrough Under-23s 0-3 Blues Under-23s
Blues Under-23s returned to winning ways with a fine victory away at Middlesbrough on Sunday lunchtime.
In a superior showing on the road, the visitors had more possession than Boro and found the net from three of their eight shots on target at Bishop Auckland's Heritage Park.
Jordan James struck the first goal in the North East after 38 minutes, with fellow Under-18s player Kieran Wakefield providing the assist.
This was added to by the tune of two goals in the space of three second-half minutes. Blues' Oriol Soldevila was at the double with nearly half an hour left to play to put the game beyond the hosts who had Williams Kokolo sent off late on for a second bookable offence.
Speaking to BCFC.com after the success in County Durham, Steve Spooner was thrilled with the scoreline but even more satisfied with the defensive shutout.
He explained: "The important thing was a clean sheet. I was saying on the touchline at 0-3, we just have to get through this with the clean sheet. For the last few weeks, we have been working on effective structures. This validates the work that has gone on and the players can see the fruits of their labour.
"We have been working on our attacking play and ball retention as well, being confident on the ball and moving it around quicker. It was nice that many of the things we had worked on in our play, the players took them on board so full credit to them.
"The scoreline also affords you the luxury to get one or two of the substitutes on the pitch, such as Yoanne Zohore, particularly after a long trip."
Blues return to action under the lights at St. Andrew's against Wolverhampton Wanderers after the international window, with the Under-23s Head Coach outlining what the break offers in terms of development.
Spooner said: "It enables us to have a concerted period of time on the training ground because it has been disrupted at times. It is good to get out there consistently. You can get more detailed sessions in and more tactical sessions, which is hard when you might play Monday-Friday."
Middlesbrough: Dejan Stojanovic, Jeremy Sivi, Cain Sykes, Ben Beals, Williams Kokolo, Joseph Gibson, Connor Malley, Sam Folarin, Stephen Walker (Pharrell Willis 61), Jack Stott, Toyosi Olusanya
Substitutes not used: Oliver Swann, Joshua Wells, Malik Dijksteel, Alberto Balde Almanzar.
Booking: Kokolo 56 and sent off 82.
Blues: Oliver Basey, Renedi Masampu, Callum Sullivan, Caolan Boyd-Munce (captain), Tommy Fogarty, Jordan James, Remi Walker, Kieran Wakefield (Yoanne Zohore 67), Joshua Williams (Keyendrah Simmonds 60), Oriol Soldevila.
Substitutes not used: Bradley Mayo, Rico Browne, Kyle Hurst.
Booking: Soldevila 49.