Report: Blues Under-18s 0-3 West Bromwich Albion Under-18s
Blues Under-18s were beaten by West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League South on Saturday.
In a cagey affair at Wast Hills Training Ground, the visitors took a one-goal lead into the interval before adding two further counters in the second-half as they run out winners in Birmingham City’s penultimate league fixture.
In the 16th minute, an initial West Brom’s shot hit the inside of the post, with Akeel Higgins on hand to finish the chance from inside the box. Just a few minutes after, defender Chris Ogor was there to put in an excellent tackle to deny the Baggies another chance to shoot on goal.
Blues goalkeeper Bradley Mayo had to be alert to prevent another five minutes ahead of the interval when a fast run through the middle of the park saw West Brom unleash a strike, but the effort was saved well by Mayo.
An improved start to the second period was almost rewarded just two minutes in when Ben Beresford got the ball under control to fire a low driven shot onto the post.
It was, however, the away team who would score next in the 55th minute. The ball was played into the box where Layton Love struck to double the lead.
Midway through the second-half goalscorer Higgins tried to lob Blues’ stopper, who did well to get back in time to tip the effort over the bar.
And the hosts almost pull one back when Beresford was played in for a chance, but West Brom keeper Ronnie Hollingshead pulled off a quick reaction save inside the box to deny the forward.
In the 76th minute, Morgan Dance was then shown a second yellow and subsequently sent off for the home side.
But with 11 minutes remaining, Jesse Wangussi shot low into the right-hand corner to make it three for the visitors, shortly after Morgan Dance had been sent off for a second bookable offence.
Speaking after the game, Martyn Olorenshaw reflected on their first season transitioning to a Category 1 academy.
He told BCFC.com: “It’s been a really challenging year. Transitioning into Cat 1 football is tough enough as it is.
“Since January we’ve been a very young group, a lot of the second years have gone and played in the Under-23s and beyond so from that point of view it’s been challenging.”
He added: “The development, the acceleration of the boys in terms of their learning and their individual development has been humungous. I think they’ll reap the benefits next year. We can’t also lose sight of what our jobs are and that’s to try and get boys in the First Team.”
Blues round off their campaign when they welcome their Second City rivals on Saturday, kick-off 11am.
Blues: Mayo, Willis, Manton, Carsley, Ogor, Oduka, Dance, Home, Beresford, Khela, Williams.
Substitutes not used: Ruiz, Brooks, Dodd, Mazwi, Ellis.
Booking: Ogor 12, Mayo 37, Dance 75 and sent off 77.
Referee: Brandon Scaife.