Often Partisan

Blunted by the Blades – Blues Development Squad lose to Sheffield United

Birmingham City’s Development Squad suffered a tough 2-1 defeat at the hands of their Sheffield United counterparts on a cold and blustery autumnal afternoon at Wast Hills. Goals from Danny Philliskirk and Terry Kennedy gave the young Blades the points with Papa Bouba Diop scoring Blues’ effort.

Blues named a fairly experienced lineup using up all their available overage slots with Darren Ambrose, Papa Bouba Diop and Nikola Zigic along with keeper Colin Doyle named in the eleven; Sheffield United had former Chelsea striker Philliskirk in their starting eleven along with young prospects Matty Harriott and Norwegian winger Erik Tønne.

Sheffield United started brightly and took the lead on ten minutes after a hospital pass in front of his own box by Papa Bouba Diop was picked up by Tønne and he slipped in Philliskirk to slot past Doyle. Blues had been sloppy with both Diop and Hancox being guilty of giving the ball away in midield areas and the goal was no more than the Blades deserved.

Blues nearly equalised within five minutes as Darren Ambrose cut in from the left and curled a shot just over the far post with Blades keeper Willis beaten all ends up. Ambrose again went close six minutes later with a central free kick about 25 yards out but it followed the same path just over the crossbar.

Nikola Zigic was a little slow to get into the game and he snatched at a difficult chance two minutes later, whalloping Marcel Henry-Francis’s header way over the bar on the volley.

Will Packwood had to be on hand then as Sheffield United threatened to extend their lead, Ironside playing in Philliskirk but the former Chelsea youngster saw his shot blocked by a resolute Packwood.

Sheffield should definitely have gone into the break 2-0 up when the impressive Matty Harriott blasted over from close range after being slipped in by Philliskirk. However, Blues hung on and they went in after 45 minutes only a goal down.

Blues were much quicker out of the starting blocks second half and equalised on 49 when Papa Bouba Diop climbed highest at the back post to nod home Hancox’s left wing cross. Diop had looked off the pace and could well have been in trouble for some fairly agricultural challenges but he took his goal well.

The young Blues should have then gone in front immediately after as Henry-Francis went one on one with the United keeper but he shot wide and the chance went begging. Diop let another one go on 64, kicking air with his left foot, and then having got the ball under control screwing it wide with his right.

The Blades made Blues pay for those misses on 68 minutes when Kennedy stabbed home after a goalmouth scramble following a Tønne corner. It was hard on Jack Deaman who’d blocked one effort on the line but Blues had failed to clear and the Blades number 6 took his chance well.

That precipitated a triple change from Blues, who bought on Josh Hawker, Ryan Higgins and Reece Hales for the overage trio of Zigic, Ambrose and Diop. Normally a change of this nature would see the game die down but if anything it energised it; Higgins was immediately into the action on the right and was unlucky to see his whipped cross evade everyone in the box.

The game became stretched and end-to-end but Blues couldn’t get the ball into the box to get the equaliser; Sheffield United tightened up and closed the game out.


Colin Doyle, Jack Deaman, Ben Gordon, Papa Bouba Diop (Josh Hawker 69), Emmit Delfouneso, Will Packwood, Callum Reilly, Mitch Hancox, Marcel Henry-Francis, Darren Ambrose (Ryan Higgins 69), Nikola Zigic (Reece Hales 69).

subs not used Brice Ntambwe, Liam Truslove

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