Often Partisan

Birmingham Senior Cup vs Coleshill Town

It was a cold night tonight at the Pack Meadow, but it was well worth a trip as a young Blues reserve ran out 5-1 winners.

I missed the first couple of minutes as I was delayed getting there, and the teams were rattling into each other as BluenoseMo, IPF, Lee and I took station on the near side touchline to watch the game. The early exchanges were very tight, but with a severe lack of end product from Blues; indeed, Mo’s car was more in danger than the onion bag from an early effort.

Coleshill deservedly took the lead within the first fifteen minutes through Daniel Carter, and I wondered if it was going to be one of those nights; Dan Preston went close with a header but for all our effort down the flanks we lacked any real penetration up front. Blues were playing 4-4-1-1 with Gnahore just behind Asante, and Blues were trying to use the bulk of their forward players to rattle the centre backs. Redmond had an effort with a free kick that wasn’t too far, and then from a corner Blues again pressured in the box, only for Fraser Kerr to blast it way over.

Just before half time, Blues equalised through Akwasi Asante, and the goal had a touch of class about it; something that was to become a theme for the evening. Asante found himself with the ball about 25 yards out, keeper way off his line and he delicately chipped him, the ball landing sweetly in the net to pull things level before the teams went off for their half time oranges.

The clubhouse was quite nice and cosy inside, and was doing a rather decent trade with some of the passing bluenoses; indeed, someone must have passed word to the local constabulary that there were Blues present as half a dozen coppers had also turned up to watch the game. A touch of overkill maybe, but you never know when zulu youths may be lurking in their bobble hats. Our pie correspondent (not me for a change) gave a glowing report to their Beef and Onion pie; I’ve often found that food at non-league grounds is of a decent quality and matched with a nice pint at half time it certainly makes you wonder about why you drink a pint of piss down Stans during the interval.

The second half started like the first, with Coleshill being the busier side, although Hronec had a wicked free kick from the right tipped over the bar. The home side really should have taken the lead though, Matty Robinson heading wide with a free header from within the box. Blues took the lesson to heart, and started pressing harder for a second themselves.

Redmond had another good break down the right, and his cross cum shot hit the outside of the post, the Coleshill goalie looking increasingly scared by the onslaught from Blues. By now, Blues had pushed to a more regular 4-4-2, and the extra man up front started to tell.

Just after the hour mark, Blues took the lead, and what a goal it was. Jakub Hronec took the ball in midfield, and started running at the Coleshill Town defence. Four players later, and the ball was nestling in the back of the net, Blues 2-1 up. It really was a classy goal, and it brought applause from all quarters of the ground. Tails in the air, Blues really set apart their non-league opposition.

Six minutes later it was 3-1, Alpalan Ozturk scoring at the back post from a corner. The PA announced it as Dan Preston, but judging by Ozturk’s “it was me” gestures, I think the goal should have been credited to the young Turk. By now the Coleshill heads were dropping, and the superior fitness of the Blues players was starting to tell.

To be fair, Coleshill kept pushing, looking for a second, and they went close again a few minutes later, but the Blues backline held firm. Doyle rarely looked troubled in between the sticks for Blues, unlike his Coleshill counterpart who nearly dropped a hit and hope punted in from the left. Indeed, Blues had actually netted again shortly before that, but the ref rightly disallowed it for offside.

Blues weren’t to be denied though, and as full time drew near Redmond finished his performance by cracking in a 25 yarder from the left flank to make it 4-1; the keeper beaten all ends up as the ball nestled in the corner. Coleshill fought back, and almost had a second themselves with a beauty of a shot from their left flank, which rattled the crossbar and bounced back into play.

Blues just had time for a fifth, scored by Enric Valles with another shot from outside the area, to complete their demolition of Coleshill Town. All in all, it was a good performance from the young guns, and I felt more enthused by a young Blues reserve side than I have done for a while. Redmond is evidently already a good player; Asante looks to be a good prospect up front (certainly better than Jervis, IMO) and Gnahore (who himself is only just 17) looks to be a big bustling player who could have a future in the game.

So we’re in the hat for the third round, and hopefully it’ll be another away tie at a non-league ground; it’s always enjoyable to visit these little oases of football and to see how grass roots football is developing. I think we’ll be hearing more of a few of the names I saw tonight; definitely potential for the future.

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