Report: Fulham Under-23s 3-0 Blues Under-23s
Blues Under-23s were beaten by Fulham in the Premier League 2 on Friday night.
Two first-half goals did most of the damage, with Luke Harris' third-minute counter being added to in the closing stages of the opening period by Adrion Pajaziti.
Then with opposition bodies committed forward, the Whites added a third to a scoreline that flattered them when substitute Oli O’Neill turned the ball in during added time.
However, the final outcome was not reflective of the performance from Steve Spooner's men who twice hit the crossbar in the second-half and had a bigger portion of possession than their table-topping hosts.
Fulham took an early lead thanks to an inviting cross from the right. Full-back Devan Tanton delivered between the visiting defenders and Welshman Harris planted his header beyond Captain Zach Jeacock.
In response, Jobe Bellingham went close after just seven minutes. Again coming from a ball into the box, the midfielder climbed high but glanced a headed effort off-target from Jordan James' wide free kick.
Although Spooner's side had to remain on guard against the efforts of the hosts and Jeacock did superbly to keep out Kieron Bowie's low effort before Rico Browne bravely blocked the follow-up.
It was then Blues' turn to be perplexed as to how they did not score on the cusp of the half-hour. First Oriol Soldevila was left wondering how Idris Odutayo kept out his low centre and then Bellingham was swarmed by white shirts when trying to squeeze home James' subsequent cutback.
But it was Fulham who were celebrating again in the 38th minute of the first-half. As Birmingham City stuck to their footballing principles, Rico Browne's clearance took a cruel deflection into the path of Pajaziti who did not hesitate to let fly and found the back of the net from inside the area.
Blues resumed following the interval, immediately went on the offensive, and were mightily unlucky not to strike just minutes after the break. Josh Williams set the ball across the box to George Hall and his firm left-footed shot crashed back out off the crossbar.
Sensing their opportunity the away team launched forward again. Working the ball from their own defensive third and through the park, it was Bellingham who released Soldevila down the left and all that was missing from his delicate cross was a fuller contact from Kieran Wakefield in front of goal.
Fulham were riding their luck and could only watch on with relief as the ball again hit Alfie McNally's crossbar. Jordan James took on possession around 25 yards from goal and saw his swirling effort rebound off the woodwork in the 55th minute.
The chances just kept coming for Blues and as the Cottagers floundered at clearing a corner, Bellingham's volley hit into the ground required a goalline intervention. But with numbers up field until the death, refusing to give in, Fulham pounced and O'Neill tucked away a cross to round off the scoring in the Division 2 clash.
Blues are back in action in what is their final away game of the season when they travel to Sunderland on Monday 25 April, kick-off 7pm.
Fulham: Alfie McNally, Devan Tanton, Charlie Robinson, Idris Odutayo, Ziyad Larkeche, Tyrese Francois, Adrion Pajaziti (Jonathon Page 75), Sonny Hilton (captain), Jay Stansfield, Luke Harris, Kieron Bowie (Oli O’Neill 69).
Substitutes not used: Alex Borto, Ibane Bowat, Martial Godo.
Booking: Odutayo 50, Page 82.
Blues: Zach Jeacock, Josh Williams, Marcel Oakley, Rico Browne, Renedi Masampu (Chris Ogor 63), Jordan James, Alfie Chang (Remi Walker 63), Jobe Bellingham, George Hall, Oriol Soldevila, Kieran Wakefield.
Substitutes not used: Alfie Brooks, Brandon Khela, Rico Patterson.
Booking: Khela 90+2.
Referee: Gary Parsons.