Report: Aston Villa Under-18s 1-1 Blues Under-18s
Blues Under-18s drew away from home to their Second City rivals on Saturday lunchtime.
It was the hosts who led the Under-18s Premier League clash going into the break, holding a single goal advantage thanks to Kharel Reddin's 32nd-minute effort in Warwickshire.
However, as their Under-23s colleagues had done earlier in December, the Academy's scholars came fighting back to ensure the spoils were shared.
Jobe Bellingham who had also played in the aforementioned development squad fixture found a valuable equaliser after 69 minutes. This came as Blues built from the right after pinching possession and Ifeoluwa Oni's centre was nodded down by Rico Patterson allowing Bellingham to scramble in the leveller.
The result sees Blues keep within touching distance of their neighbours in the league standings and signed off another impressive calendar year for the Academy on a high note.
Speaking after the game, Martyn Olorenshaw expressed his satisfaction at the way his side reacted to falling behind.
He told BCFC.com: “They were better than us in the first-half and then I think we shaded it in the second. You never want to lose to your rivals, and we will take the point. We can come away with a good feeling from the game, but I felt we created the bigger moments during the match.
"I really liked our personality in the second-half. We were more aggressive in our press; it was nothing major in the first-half but I just asked the boys to up their energy.
"I thought we were well worth our point and on another day, we could have taken all three. I was really pleased with the second-half performance, coming back is a good thing to have."
The Academy schedule pauses for the festive period before resuming in the New Year, with Blues visiting Leicester City on Saturday 8 January. Therefore, whilst welcoming the break, the Lead Under-18s coach explained how his players will ensure they are fully firing for the campaign's resumption.
Olorenshaw said: "They have two weeks off, but they have their Christmas home plans and have to evidence everything they are doing. We then have two weeks when we come back in. We have told them to enjoy some time with their families, but to also put the work in.
"I am confident they are going to come back in good condition. Then, hopefully, we can kick on and keep building. We have got to keep trying to pick up points and head up the league. I think we have given a good account of ourselves in the first six months [of Category 1 competition] and it is about trying to keep getting better."
Blues: Brooks, Browne, Fogarty, Nguepissi (Barratt 46), Manton, Home (Hamilton 75), Oni, Khela, Patterson, Bellingham, Wakefield.
Substitutes not used: Mayo, Rushton, Williams.
Booking: Wakefield 20, Home 49, Bellingham 69, Barratt 86, Browne 90.
Goalscorer: Bellingham 69.