Often Partisan

Convincing Win For Blues Reserves in Birmingham Senior Cup

Birmingham City ran out comfortable 4-1 winners over Midland Football Alliance side Continental Star in the Birmingham Senior Cup 2nd round on a cold night in Rushall. Goals from Emmit Delfouneso, Marcel Henry-Francis, Reece Hales and Josh Hawker sealed passage to the quarter-finals whilst Tony Green replied for the home side.

It was a convincing win but it could have been much different had Jack Deaman been sent off for what looked like a professional foul with the score at 2-0 to Blues. However, ref Lisa Rashid (who is interestingly daughter of EZE group executive Abdul Rashid) chose only to show a yellow – much to the consternation of the partisan home support.

Many eyes were on Morgaro Gomis who made his first appearance in a Blues shirt at any level for some time having been somewhat frozen out of the first team and suffering injury. Whilst the Senegalese midfielder didn’t hit any Hollywood balls, make lungbusting runs or score a screamer from the middle of the park he did what he was supposed to do very effectively – break possession up and recycle it to the more forward members of the team. However, whilst doing it against Continental Star on a chilly midweek night in Rushall is one thing, doing it against championship stars on a chilly midweek night in Small Heath might well be another.

Jack Deaman, who started the game at centre-half before moving to right-back in the second half showed why he is considered a dead ball specialist early on with two absolutely fantastic corners. Whilst Blues failed to do anything with the first the second was met with a clinical header by Emmit Delfouneso (brother of Nathan) at the front post and Blues were 1-0 up. However Deaman then proceeded to hit every single following free kick into the wall as he tried to showcase his deadball talents further.

The second goal came from a tap-in from Marcel Henry-Francis after a free kick from the right taken by Chelsea loanee Ben Gordon. Gordon has found himself out of the first team and down to third choice at the moment as young left back Mitch Hancox has been preferred to him in the first team squad and having given away two needless early foul throws he won’t have impressed the onlooking trio of Lee Clark, Derek Fazackerley and Terry McDermott but he made amends by setting up the second goal. A well-flighted free kick found the head of Jack Deaman, who nodded it down and Marcel Henry-Francis made no mistake from four yards.

Continental Star upped their pace and tempo second half and got back into the game after a good spell of football, breaking down the right and after a couple of shots miscueing the ball found it’s way to Tony Green on the back stick who slotted home past Nick Townsend. Having hit the bar five minutes previously with a free kick from the Deaman foul it looked like the Stars were going to get back into it but Blues killed them off with a quickfire double.

Firstly Reece Hales rounded the keeper and slotted home after being played through thanks to a delightful throughball from young sub Liam Truslove and then two minutes later Josh Hawker extended the lead further tapping in after Hunter in the Stars goal had parried a stinging 25 yard effort.

Hales had been impressive for large parts of the game, using his strength not only to win the ball in battles with the centre-halves but also to shield it and turn the defender getting him goal-side and in on goal. Henry-Francis could have had a few more goals but for a bit of composure when shooting and Eddy Gnahoré showed his obvious talent on more than one occasion with some blindingly good close control before undoing it all by not looking up and wading into a barrage of defenders. Liam Truslove came on as a sub and the young lad showed why he is highly rated within the academy with a delightful cameo, setting up 2 goals.

After all the problems the first team has gone through this was a really good, really enjoyable game. Whilst Blues ended up comfortable winners Continental Star’s players deserve massive credit for keeping at it all game and trying to play positive football in the right manner. A slightly bobbly pitch and freezing cold conditions could have made for a scrappy game but there was lots to be cheered about; some really good skill and lots of passing football that shows just how well Richard Beale’s charges have come on. Blues now go into the hat for the quarter-finals along with Walsall and Stourbridge FC who knocked out holders WBA on penalties on Tuesday.


Nick Townsend, Ryan Higgins, Ben Gordon, Morgaro Gomis, Emmit Delfouneso, Jack Deaman, Demarai Gray (James Fry), Eddy Gnahoré (Brice Ntambwe), Marcel Henry-Francis (Liam Truslove), Reece Hales, Josh Hawker.

Subs not used: Deqwon Ebanks, Callum Preston.

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