Often Partisan

Blues Development Squad in Scrappy Draw With Lions

Blues Development squad played out a tough 2-2 draw in a scrappy Professional Development League encounter against Millwall this evening. First half goals from Charlie Cooper and Corey O’Keeffe weren’t enough to secure the points against a Millwall side that came back with second half efforts from Harry Smith and Paul Rooney.

Watching the first 25 minutes of this game, I honestly thought it was going to be a thrashing. The quality of the one-touch passing from Blues was a site to behold with O’Keeffe, O’Neill and Popa linking up particularly well down the Blues right. Like the first team, they pressed Millwall high up the pitch and turned the ball over regularly creating chances.

The first goal came from a free kick awarded on the 18-yard line for a foul on Popa. It looked way too close for Charlie Cooper to get the ball up and down and he didn’t; he just smashed it goalwards. The Millwall defensive wall parted like the Red Sea and goalkeeper Tom King had no chance stopping it.

Similarly, he couldn’t get to the second; Steve Seddon floated a deep cross to the right hand edge of the box and Corey O’Keeffe looped his header back to the top left corner, well out of the grasp of the diving King.

While Blues were productive down the right, Viv Solomon-Otabor struggled to make an impact on the left. His pace and dribbling were a problem for the Millwall backline but his final ball wasn’t there and as the game went on he struggled to get any joy.

Millwall however grew into the game and on 35 were back in it, Harry Smith heading home from a corner. Blues struggled at set pieces all night and the combative nature of the London side showed through as they caused trouble in the box.

While Blues struggled to make chances in the second half, Romanian striker David Popa did shine.  He was unlucky not to score, having one chalked off for offside in the first half and then seeing King make an unbelievable reflex save from a point-blank header.

The game became scrappier as it wore on, and the often vocal Millwall players were clearly jangling nerves. They got to Solomon, with the winger having to be dragged away by his teammates after reacting to something said by the Millwall skipper Rooney. The ref calmed things down but it seemed clear that the constant chat from the Millwall team was making the young Blues side edgy.

The frailty from set-pieces was exposed again when Rooney scored late on from another corner; again Blues’ marking let them down with the Millwall skipper rising clear of Blue shirts to nod home.

Both teams had chances to win it at the death but the draw was probably the right result on the balance of play; both teams had spells of superiority but neither could make it count enough to take the points.


Trueman, Cogley, Seddon, Maxwell, Baba, Martin, O’Keeffe, Cooper, Popa, O’Neill (McDonald 45+1), Solomon-Otabor.

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7 Responses to “Blues Development Squad in Scrappy Draw With Lions”

  • oldburyblue says:

    Hopefully this match will provide further education in the development of our young players. You describe the “often vocal Millwall players” who I feel not only affected our players but the referee also. I suspect that Rooney used insulting racist language to Viv as I have never seen him react like that before. The ref was only a few yards away so must have heard it but took no stronger action than to have words with the 2 players and the captains. I think we needed a “hairya*s*d old timer in the team to support our skilful but a little soft youngsters.

    • Tony says:

      You are surmising that you do not know.

      • oldburyblue says:

        No Tony, I am stating what I saw. I am not surmising that I don’t know….by deliberately using the word suspect I am admitting that I DON’T know. What do you suspect would cause Viv to react how he did when it appears so out of character? I would invite comments from Dan and anyone else who was there to see whether my suspicions are unfounded.

  • oldburyblue says:

    Just realised that Rooney WAS the captain. The ref obviously didn’t know either as he definitely could be heard calling for the captains after the scuffle.

  • Big Al says:

    I was expecting big things of Maxwell this season. I thought he might get into the first team pre-season. The great thing about sparse attendances is it is interesting to hear the jibber-jabber. Maybe Robbo needs to teach them to give as good as they get?

  • oldburyblue says:

    I agree about Maxwell, Big Al. I saw him against Kiddy and he looked good. However I saw him for the Dev Squad a few weeks ago and again last night and must say I was disappointed. He has the size and obvious skills to dominate midfield but doesn’t seem to use those to full advantage. If given time and space he can pass a ball better than most, but the worrying thing is that he often needs a couple of touches to get control and find that space, always turning the same way to keep the ball on his left foot. I worry that he would be “clocked” very quickly by better teams and would lose the ball in dangerous places regularly. Over to you coaches!

  • The Flying Pig says:

    I’ve not seen Maxwell play so cannot pass judgement, but was talking to a coach from Kiddy who said he thought the kid might be better suited to central defence when he’d grown a bit of muscle.

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