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Report: Blues Under-23s 2 Stoke City Under-23s 0

Josh Andrews scored the second goal in Blues Under-23s' pre-season win over Stoke.

It was a competitive affair at a wet Wast Hills with the hosts having to dig deep at times, but Connal Trueman was largely untroubled and it was Blues that created the game’s better chances.

BCFC.COM

Early goals in each half from trialist Daryl Myre and Josh Andrews clinched a first pre-season win for Blues Under-23s against Stoke City at the Trillion Trophy Training Centre.

It was a competitive affair at a wet Wast Hills with the hosts having to dig deep at times, but Connal Trueman was largely untroubled and it was Blues that created the game’s better chances.

The fourth minute opening goal came gift-wrapped from the opponents – a mix-up in the Stoke defence providing Myre with an unguarded net to roll the ball into.

Myre was one of three trialists in action for Blues, the Spanish duo of Marc Vicente and Miguel Fernandez being the others.

The visitors, whose sideline coaching set-up included former Blues midfielder Wade Elliott, had their first real sight of goal on 15 minutes when Gabriel Kyeremateng twisted and turned inside the Blues box before getting in a shot that was crucially blocked by Joe Redmond.

The young Blues Irishman almost went from hero to zero in the space of seconds when his slightly under-hit back pass was almost pounced upon by Daniel Jarvis, but Trueman was alert to the danger and rushed out to block the shot in the nick of time.

At the other end, Andrews was giving the Stoke defence plenty to worry about and the big striker was tugged back by Lasse Sorensen to win his side a free-kick in a dangerous position to the left of the area. Boyd-Munce’s set-piece effort was on target but claimed just under his bar by Blondy Nnanoukeu.

Meanwhile, Stoke’s number nine, Kyeremateng, wasn’t getting any change out of Redmond, the Blues defender shadowing him and quickly pouncing to ensure another of the striker’s shots wasn’t going to endanger Trueman’s goal.

Nice link-up play between Andrews and Fernandez put George Baker in behind the visitors’ defence on the right and his cross-shot was parried away by Nnanoukeu.

The busy Myre displayed some great vision to twice split open the Stoke defence with low through balls, but on each occasion the assistant’s flag left Adan George frustrated – both very marginal decisions.

The closest Stoke came to registering a goal was shortly before the break when Jarvis barged his way through the Blues defence, the ball eventually deflecting back off him and towards the bottom corner of the net. However, Academy scholar Nico Gordon – one of only two outfield players to complete the 90 minutes for Blues – came to his side’s rescue to hook the ball away from just before the line.

It took less than two minutes for Blues to double their advantage after the break. Andrews raced clear on goal down the left, and showed good pace for a big man, marauding into the area before poking the ball through the legs of Nnanoukeu.

The scorer could have turned provider on 64 minutes when he teed up Baker but the right midfielder fired his shot high and wide when well placed inside the box.

Blues made eight substitutions around the hour mark and one of those, Ryan Burke, was straight into the action with a biting tackle that set his side on a counter-attack. Fellow subs Jayden Reid and Jack Concannon were also involved in a flowing move that saw the latter put through but have his effort smothered by Nnanoukeu.

Andrews – the other outfield player to stay on the pitch for the duration – got on the end of Gordon’s excellent low cross on 79 minutes but he was denied a second goal by a good save from Nnanoukeu.

Gordon moved from the right of the back three to a more advanced midfield position when Blues completed a second batch of substitutions. The squad members continued to rack up important game minutes and are adapting well to the new 3-4-1-2 system, with the Professional Development League North set to kick off in a fortnight.

Blues (3-4-1-2): Trueman, Gordon, Redmond (Bajrami 60), Vicente (Roberts 65), Baker (Forrest 65), Stirk (Campbell 60), Boyd-Munce (Thompson-Sommers 60), Myre (Burke 60), Fernandez (Concannon 65), Andrews, George (Reid 60).

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