Tom Clarke scored as Development Squad defeated
Steve Eyre’s Development Squad couldn’t recover from three goals down to pick anything up in their second under-21 League game of the season at Birmingham City’s St. Andrews on Bank Holiday Monday.
The Town team, featuring three overage players in the form of Tom Clarke, Calum Woods and Anton Robinson as well as trialists Tom Smith and Dale Hopson, found themselves three goals down before the interval but Clarke’s added time header kept up hope of a comeback.
Eyre’s side had the large majority of shots on goal during the second period, but could not find a way back into a game thanks in part to a great performance by Blues goalkeeper Nick Townsend.
The first chance of the game fell to the Terriers, but midfielder Chris Atkinson couldn’t get his shot away thanks to a strong challenge from defender Emmitt Delfouneso.
On the other hand the hosts made no mistake with their first chance of the game, with trialist Aaron Tumwa firing a low shot past Lloyd Allinson in the eighth minute.
First year professional midfielder Jordan Sinnott came to the fore as Town searched for a quick equaliser; first he curled an effort into the outside of the side netting and then Townsend made his first save of the game after former Middlesbrough and Darlington winger Hopson played him in.
Birmingham midfielder Josh Hawker stung Allinson’s palms with a drive from 20 yards out on the stroke of the half hour before playing a major role as the home side made it two six minutes later; Hawker flicked a corner on at the near post for striker Akwasi Asante to fire home.
The Blues enjoyed a good spell after their second goal and only a goal line clearance prevented Callum Reilly’s corner from dropping straight in at the near post before trialist Matthew Rickard did make it 3-0 with a minute of the half remaining, turning home a cross from Hawker.
Clarke’s late header from Jordan Sinnott’s corner in the second minute of first half added time gave the Terriers hope during the interval and Eyre’s men were firing on all cylinders during the second-half. First ‘keeper Townsend blocked a powerful Matt Crooks shot before smothering the ball at Chris Atkinson’s feet after a cross from former Manchester City full back Smith, but perhaps his most impressive save of the game came just before the hour mark when he turned Atkinson’s flicked header around the post.
Townsend produced another fine save to stop Dale Hopson’s shot in the 63rd minute, with Matt Crooks firing the rebound over, and with quarter of an hour left striker Jimmy Spencer finally got the ball past the inspired custodian only to see his deft lob drop wide of the target.
Birmingham finished a clinical afternoon’s work with a fourth goal four minutes from time courtesy of Dutch striker Asante.
Town’s under-21 team vs. Birmingham City:
Lloyd Allinson; Calum Woods, Murray Wallace, Tom Clarke, Tom Smith; Dale Hopson, Matt Crooks, Jordan Sinnott, Chris Atkinson, Anton Robinson; Jimmy Spencer
Substitutes: Jordan Porter, Joe Wright, George Conway, Max Leonard