Rowe and Brown on Target as U23s Beat Birmingham
Monday, 3rd Sep 2018 21:02 by James Ager
A fine first-half strike from Danny Rowe and a late goal from Kai Brown helped Town's U23s to a 2-0 victory over Birmingham City at Portman Road on Monday evening.
The Blues started with Barry Cotter and Myles Kenlock on the right and left side of defence respectively, Rowe was ahead of Cotter with Flynn Downes and Andre Dozzell in the middle of the park. Jordan Roberts took the number nine shirt and played up front.
Roberts's glancing near-post header from an early Dozzell corner flew over before Shane McLoughlin curled an effort well over from the edge of the box after he was teed-up by Jack Lankester.
Roberts scuffed a shot straight at visiting keeper Michael Luyambula on the quarter hour mark but the stopper could do nothing to prevent Rowe opening the scoring 10 minutes later.
Following a long spell of Blues possession, a dangerous ball into the box from McLoughlin on the right was nicked away from Lankester's head but was then met with a ferocious left foot, first time volley from Rowe which found the far top corner of the net.
On 29 Kenlock drove into the box and could have taken on the shot himself, but instead he cut the ball back to Lankester who saw his first effort blocked by Josh Martin, and the rebound gathered by Luyambula.
Five minutes before the break Downes limped off with what appeared to be some sort of muscle injury, and was replaced by Brett McGavin.
Birmingham came close to levelling the scores three minutes later but Odin Bailey curled his freekick from the edge of the box inches wide of the top corner.
There was still time for Town to come even closer to increasing their lead - Lankester's fine flick over the visitors' backline released Roberts who chipped the ball over the advancing Luyambula, but off the crossbar.
Rowe saw an early second-half effort deflected wide of the near post before Harry Wright did well to parry Olly McCoy's fierce strike away at his near post.
On 63 Wright again denied the visitors by parrying Bailey's initial effort from the edge of the box and then claiming Kyle McFarlane's close range follow up too.
Moments later, Tommy Anderson saw his appeals for a penalty waved away following a last ditch challenge from Cotter and Bailey hit the loose ball wide of the target.
On 73 Wright was beaten by a flicked header from skipper Martin following a long throw from the right, but the ball rebounded off the bar and was hacked away from immediate danger by Cotter.
Anderson again forced Wright into a good near post stop with five minutes remaining, before the Blues countered from the resultant corner and sealed all three points.
Roberts played the ball out to Rowe on the left and his low ball across the six-yard box was tapped into the net by sub Kai Brown, who was signed from non-league Grays Athletic in January, at the back post.
Rowe impressed with a number of neat touches and strong bursts forward, while Lankester also caught the eye and Corrie Ndaba did well at the back.
Roberts should have scored on a night when very little seemed to go the former Crawley man's way.
U23s: Wright, Cotter, Kenlock, Downes (McGavin 40), Marshall, Ndaba, Rowe, Dozzell, Roberts, Lankester (K Brown 78), McLoughlin. Unused: Ware, Z Brown, Clements.
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