Johnson ‘buzzing’ as players return to Failand for small group training
Posted: Tuesday, May 26th 2020
Tuesday, April 16th 2019
First half goals from Antoine Semenyo and Liam Walsh ensured City Under-23s ended their Professional Development League campaign with a 2-1 win against Birmingham City Under-23s.
Semenyo netted with the game’s first opportunity, finding the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
City’s second came through Walsh, whose free kick nestled into the top corner shortly after the opener.
Birmingham did pull one back in the second half, however, with Isaac Vassell netting for the away side.
Luke Williams named a strong side with first-team experience under the BS3 lights and saw his side take the lead through the first chance on goal. Semenyo twist and turned away from a Birmingham defender and found the bottom corner to put City ahead.
City’s lead was doubled not long after, when Mo Eisa was fouled on the edge of the area, allowing Walsh to curl his free-kick into the top corner.
Hakeeb Adelakun then came close from long range, but his effort was marginally wide of the Birmingham post.
The Blues would then have their best chance of the half just before the half hour mark. Isaac Vassell’s cut-back found Odin Bailey, but he put his shot over the crossbar.
In a similar chance to the one earlier from Adelakun, Lloyd Kelly struck from distance but his effort was claimed by goalkeeper Connal Trueman.
Trueman then produced a brilliant stop to deny City from adding a third. Adelakun floated a perfectly-weighted ball for Marley Watkins, whose header was tipped over the crossbar by the Birmingham goalkeeper.
The second half started in a similar vein to the first, as City looked to add to their score with Ricardo Rees and Adelukan both going close.
Semenyo again caused the Birmingham defence trouble when the 19-year-old forward beat his marker with a great bit of skill, before breaking into the box, but could only find the side netting.
And then, on the hour mark, the Blues pulled a goal back. Ryan Stirk’s cross into the box was met by Vassell, who finished beyond Stefan Marinovic.
City almost reasserted their two-goal lead within moments of conceding. Semenyo’s venomous effort almost caught out Trueman, but the goalkeeper palmed the ball away.
Adelakun had two long-range efforts towards the game’s end, the first was easily saved before his second effort came back out after striking the post.
Birmingham threatened an equaliser though and Joe Redmond would see a last-minute header claimed by Marinovic, as City held on for all three points.
A victory to end their league season, and attention for the Under-23s will turn to the GFA Senior Challenge Cup final, where they will play Forest Green Rovers Under-23s or Cinderford Town.
City Under-23s: Marinovic, Rees, Kelly, Webb (Z.Smith), H.Smith, Walsh, Watkins, Morrell, Eisa, Semenyo (Harper), Adelakun. Unused subs: Robertson, Day, J.Taylor
Words: Ryan Payne
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