U18s Hammer Birmingham
Saturday, 9th Apr 2011 16:01
Town's U18s comfortably beat Birmingham City 4-0 at Playford Road on Saturday afternoon. Three of the Blues' four goals came from defenders released this week, centre-half Josh Meekings (pictured) netting twice and full-back Rory McKeown one, while first-year scholar Callum Bennett, also a defender, scored the other.
Northern Ireland U19 international McKeown and Meekings were told this week that they were not going to be offered professional contracts at the end of the season. The duo were in the defence which started in front of trialist goalkeeper Deniz Mehmet, who also played last weekend at Southampton.
First-team boss Paul Jewell and coach Sean McCarthy took in the first half hour, possibly keeping an eye on 17-year-old Joe Whight, who was offered a two-year professional contract this week.
Town started brightly and should have been ahead after just four minutes when Caolan Lavery's pull-back set up Elliot Scotcher, but the Welsh midfielder scuffed his effort and keeper Jack Butland made a comfortable save.
However, the young Blues did take the lead five minutes later when Whight's corner wasn't cleared by the visitors' defence and skipper Meekings stabbed the ball over the line.
The rest of the half was fairly even with lots midfield play, Lavery picking up a booking late on in the half for a rash challenge.
However, two minutes after the break Town doubled their advantage. Right-back Callum Bennett made the most of some poor Birmingham defending and shot across Butland into the corner of the net.
And it was only a couple of minutes before McKeown added his name to the scoresheet when some good build-up playing involving Lavery sent the left-back away, and although his original shot deflected off Lavery, it landed straight at McKeown's feet and he made no mistake in tucking the ball away.
The visitors almost pulled a goal back immediately when Alpaslan Öztürk dragged his shot just wide of Mehmet's post.
On 66 Meekings scored his second and Town's fourth. Butland failed to hold Whight's header and Meekings put the loose ball into the net to finish the visitors off.
US U20 keeper Cody Cropper has returned from international duty and should be back for Thursday's league game with Portsmouth at Playford Road, although on this performance coach Russell Osman is unlikely to make too many other changes to the side.
U18s: Mehmet, Bennett, McKeown, Jones, Meekings, Maduako, Burke, Scotcher, Lavery, Tiofack and Whight. Unused: Acott, October, Lawrence, Marriott and Simmons.
Report: James Ager
Photo: Action Images
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