Report: Blues Under-23s 0-3 Nottingham Forest Under-23s
Blues Under-23s were beaten by Nottingham Forest in the Premier League 2 on Friday night.
In the final game of the season for Steve Spooner's development side, two first-half concessions left Birmingham City with work to do and despite their best efforts to break through, the Reds stood firm before adding a third late on.
An unfortunate own goal from Captain Alfie Chang was added to when Alex Gibson Hammond headed in at St. Andrew's ahead of the interval, with Jonathan Panzo scoring a third deep into the second-half.
With B9 bathed in evening sunshine, it was Blues who made the best of the tight opening stages. Both Jobe Bellingham and George Hall, who continue to impress beyond their years, showed fine footwork to cause panic in the visitor's backline.
However, this initial probing did not create any clear-cut chances for the hosts and Forest took the lead after 20 minutes. Moments earlier Zack Jeacock had superbly denied them, but from the resulting corner - delivered by Ateef Konate - the ball glanced off Chang's head and away from his goalkeeper at the near post.
In response, Spooner's team continued to have a greater share of possession and tested George Shelvey midway through the half. Bellingham managed to control and then juggle a Josh Williams centre, striking low but not beyond the Reds stopper.
The creator of that chance then very nearly turned goalscorer. Williams, after Blues had worked the play with real zip from right to left, foraged his way inside and fizzed an effort off target.
Andy Reid's team would double their lead seven minutes before the interval, again striking from the aerial route. Defender Fin Back delivered into the box and Gibson-Hammond was positioned to plant his header into the net.
After the break, the first attempt on goal was a Forest one. Back weaved his way forward from right-back and having adjusted onto his left foot, forced Jeacock to push the ball around his post.
The 'keeper was called into action on another occasion soon after, this time beating away a rising Konate strike as Blues began chasing the game. Although the team's efforts to do so were disrupted when Renedi Masampu was forced off through injury.
This certainly stalled forward momentum but Blues kept pushing and Oriol Soldevila was introduced for the final knockings, adding to the existing attacking complement.
But the away side would find goal number three to end any hopes of a late fightback. Panzo linked well with Konate and squeezed the ball past Jeacock at the near post following a neat one-two exchange.
Blues: Zach Jeacock, Marcel Oakley, Rico Browne, Tate Campbell, Renedi Masampu (Kane Thompson-Sommers 59), Josh Williams, Alfie Chang (captain), Jobe Bellingham, Rico Patterson (Oriol Soledvila 82), George Hall, Kieran Wakefield.
Substitutes not used: Oliver Basey, Kyle Hurst.
Booking: Browne 55.
Nottingham Forest: George Shelvey, Fin Back, Aaron Donnelly, Jonathan Panzo, Baba Fernandes, Riley Hartbottle (captain), Billy Fewster (Josh Barnes 65), Ollie Hammond, Lewis Salmon (Marcelo Saraiva 90), Ateef Konate, Alex-Gibson Hammond (Joe Gardner 86).
Substitutes not used: Nicky Hogarth, Jack Thompson.
Referee: Greg Rollason.