Nuneaton Town 2 Blues Under-23s 0

Charlie Lakin in action

Blues crashed out of the Birmingham Senior Cup at the first hurdle.

They fell to goals in each half against National League North strugglers Nuneaton Town, the second a brilliant opportunist strike by Jordan Nicholson.

It really was an evening to forget at Liberty Way as the Under-23s just never functioned with any sustained fluidity or quality.

Apart from a long range effort from Olly Mulders, Blues hardly troubled the Nuneaton goal.

Blues appeared to settle initially into decent groove but the first opening came Nuneaton’s way in the 14th minute when a pass was played in on the left for Greg Mills.

But before he could get his shot away Remeao Hutton got back at great speed to deflect the ball behind, averting danger.

Jakes Weaver was called into action six minutes later when Blues miscued an attempt to clear a corner. The ball skewed nicely for  Nicholson who quickly fired at goal from close range but Weaver got down well to parry.

A cross low from the left by Ronan Hale just eluded the incoming Olly McCoy as Blues responded, but they had not really built on their initial brightness.

And indeed, the rhythm they had lost, and the hosts increasing confidence and dangerous attacks, resulted in a 26th minute Nuneaton lead from a right wing corner.

Hutton slashed at the ball played towards the front post and it sliced up behind him and invitingly for Niall Heaton, who had the easy task to nod the ball in from a couple of yards.

Blues stung into action, a reverse pass from the left by Charlie Lakin set up Corey O’Keeffe for a shot, which was blocked by a defender’s chest, and McCoy bashed the follow up wide from just outside the area also.

But if anything Blues nosedived and got worse as the half wore to a close and they had Weaver to thank in the 42nd minute for tipping over a curving free-kick by Mills that was heading towards the top corner.

Half-time: Nuneaton Town 1 Blues 0

Blues began the second period with far more purpose, probably with a few harsh words from the interval still ringing in the ears.

Within four minutes of the restart Hutton burst in on the right of the area and fired a cross, hard and low. It rebounded off Heaton, there were appeals for hands, and the ball spun across the face of goal before being cleared.

Hutton then went down in the area, near the byline, after a tangle with Mills, who was fortunate to get away with the contact.
Yet Blues task was made all the harder when Nuneaton doubled their lead with a spectacular strike.

Nicholson collected a clearance several yards out from the right angle of the Blues area, chested the ball down and despatched a superb lofted shot into the far top corner, giving Weaver no chance.

Blues promptly brought on Odin Bailey and Beryly Lubala and finally troubled Dean Lyness via a searing 25-yard drive by Mulders that the ‘keeper tipped over the bar, stretching every sinew.

Bailey also brought Lyness into action with an attempt on goal from outside the area and also had a free-kick deflected over, but that second for the home side had really killed the contest.

Blues went to three at the back to try and engineer a change in fortune but in truth it was in vain, it was a poor showing from them, all told.

Frustration boiled over right at the end with Lubala twice tangling with opponents off the ball - receiving a yellow card - as Blues finished on an unseemly note.

Blues: Weaver, Hutton, Timms (Bailey 67), Seddon, Martin, Mulders, McCoy (Redmond 81), Lakin, O’Keeffe, McFarlane, Hale (Lubala 67). Sub not used: Siviter.