Report: Blues Under-21s 5-0 Colchester United Under-21s
Blues beat Colchester United in the Professional Development League on Monday night.
Steve Spooner's side overcame the U's to secure a first three points of the season, building on the draw earned away to Bristol City last Tuesday thanks to a five star display at the business end of the pitch.
Arguably the game was almost over as a contest as Birmingham City scored in minutes one and four at St. Andrew's. Jobe Bellingham showed real composure to strike and Jonathan Leko - who would end day with a hat-trick to his name - was equally as clinical to secure the advantage.
It was not all one way traffic in the PDL, but the win was sealed when the match's first goalscorer scored his second courtesy of a decoyed finish entering the final quarter of an hour.
And real gloss was added to the scoreline when Leko rifled in a fourth five minutes out from full-time and completed his personal treble late on.
Blues made a flying start in B9 and took the lead less than 60 seconds into the development clash.
Remi Walker, playing at centre-back, started the move and once Skipper on the night Ryan Stirk picked up possession, he was able to open the game up and find Emmanuel Longelo. The wing-back surged down the left and when his low centre was miss-kicked by Leko, Bellingham picked up the pieces, evaded some desperate defenders and finished confidently from close range.
Then, with not even five minutes on the clock, this lead was clinically doubled. A loose ball amongst the U's backline gave the anticipating Leko a clear run to goal and he struck through goalkeeper Kaspa Danielewicz.
The ball was then in the net for a third time inside 20 minutes after Bellingham's lasered pass to Callum Sullivan cut open the visitors. The wing-back cut it sqaure to Rico Patterson but when his effort was turned in by Leko, the effort was deemed offside.
Colchester looked to find a response and on either side, Lordon Akolbire and Jayden Fevrier tried their luck but were unable to threaten Neil Etheridge from distance. Although as the time ticked towards half an hour, Kaan Bennett did test the goalkeeper, forcing him to parry an eye-catching acrobatic effort.
Etheridge would prevent the away team again ahead of the break, but on the balance of play Spooner's men were the more likely to strike. A Triallist tested the handling of Danielewicz from range and Brandon Khela's shot was seen off by the stopper's legs.
There was a far less explosive opening to the second-half and the first event of note saw Longelo withdrawn after a fine 55 minutes in royal blue. His replacement, Byron Pendleton, looked to make an instant impact and showed blistering pace to fly down the right, only to be halted when approaching the penalty area.
Unfortunately, the next switch was an enforced one and the Triallist had to be taken off through injury, with Harley Hamilton taking his place on the field.
Blues could have added a third in the 68th minute, having two bites at the cherry to do so. First Bellingham's attempt was smothered by the 'keeper and then Patterson's fearsome follow-up was bravely charged down.
Blocks were playing a big role at both ends and Stirk put his head in the way of a United shot as the game approached what would be an important juncture - depending on whose way the next goal fell.
As it was, it was a Blues one and Bellingham's second of the night. Having been slipped down the left channel, he edged inside and delivered a disguised finish to sneak the ball home at the near post.
That kickstarted another goal rush and Leko took up centre stage. His double came about after a fine run from substitute Hamilton opened up Colchester and once fed, the frontman fired low across the goalkeeper.
Leko then made it a night to remember, working his way infield and superbly curling the ball to the top corner in the 88th minute.
Blues are back in action when they host Wigan Athletic at the ARMCO Arena on Monday 12 September, kick-off 2pm.
Blues: Neil Etheridge, Tate Campbell, Remi Walke, Triallist, Callum Sullivan, Brandon Khela, Ryan Stirk (Captain), Rico Patterson (Josh Home 76), Emmanuel Longelo (Byron Pendleton 55), Jobe Bellingham, Jonathan Leko.
Substitutes not used: Alfie Brooks, Harley Hamilton, Kieran Wakefield.
Colchester United: Kaspa Danielewicz, Lordon Akolbire, Frankie Terry (captain), Kacy Parish, Frankie Edwards, Kaan Bennett, Ryan Lowe, Bradley Ihionvien (Andrew Palmer-Brown 46), Samson Tovide, Jayden Fevrier, Kai Redgrave (Kennedy Mupomba 46).
Substitutes not used: Freddie Price, Jamie Arnold, Jayden Peglar.
Booking: Lowe 40, Tovide 79.
Referee: Jonathan Maskrey.