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Report: Blues Under-23s 3 Leeds United Under-23s 0

Miguel Fernandez
Miguel Fernandez

Blues returned to winning ways with a resounding victory over Leeds United at Leamington.

Smarting after the 5-2 thumping at Barnsley a week ago, Blues were completely different proposition.

Urgent, sharp, competitive and well organised, their finishing was top-notch and they created some good openings through excellent football.

Miguel Fernandez scored twice (seven minutes, 55 minutes), sandwiching a goal by Jack Concannon just after the break

The opener was a fine one for Blues, who had repelled incessant early Leeds pressure.

From their first real attack, Fernandez netted a stunning strike.

Blues broke up a Leeds foray and Ryan Stirk swiftly moved the ball forward, down the centre of the pitch, where Fernandez had exposed a gap in the backline.

As Adan George made a supporting run to the left to occupy the only other covering defender, Fernandez carried the ball on his own, veered to the side of Pascal Struijk and
fired a shot into the top corner, from just outside the box.

The goal gave Blues a welcome fillip and they might have got a second when Leeds dallied on clearing their lines and Fernandez went in on the 'keeper and almost block- tackled the ball into the net.

Blues then exerted a period of control with Stirk and Caolan Boyd-Munce getting on the ball to direct proceedings,

Then gave Leeds lots to think about and their liveliness and quick, searching passing and willing movement was hard to handle.

In the 20th minute a great move down the left saw Geraldo Bajrami find Stirk, breaking towards the byline.

He pulled it back into the area and although Fernandez's was blocked out, Adan George got onto the loose ball and spun a low shot on the turn that Illan Meslier did remarkably
well to claw back from behind him, right on the line, low down.

On the half-hour mark Leeds withdrew Pablo Hernandez, with it being unclear whether it was a pre-planned move or precautionary due to a slight niggle.

As the half came to a close Leeds had managed to correct themselves and reduce Blues effectiveness.

In the 40th minute Mateusz Bogusz tried his luck from the left edge of the area and the ball took a nick off Joe Redmond and just about cleared Connal Trueman's crossbar.

Blues hit Leeds cold at the start of the second period, scoring again, in the 48th minute.

Stirk dispossessed Alfie McCalmont on halfway and popped the ball to Boyd-Munce. With Leeds opened up, he fired it into Fernandez who cushioned it into the path of Concannon, who had seen the opportunity and surged forward into the space.

He took a couple of touches before drawing the 'keeper and firing it across him and inside the far post.

Leeds responded when a ball was worked in from the left and came to McCalmont, who bashed it straight at Trueman from 16 yards.

It got better for Blues in the 55th minute when Fernandez helped himself to his second of the PDL North fixture.

George closed down 'keeper Meslier, who had been taking some risks with the ball at his feet. He promptly skewed his attempted clearance downfield and Fernandez, from wide
on the right, precisely guided it into the unguarded net with a lofted finish.

A superb recovery tackle/challenge by Redmond stopped Ryan Edmondson from getting a shot on target from a good position, after he twisted and turned to gain a good angle.

That kind of determination and concentration, even at 3-0 up, was typical of Blues approach throughout, as was Redmond's recovery run to stop a clear three-man break on goal after a Leeds counter at a corner.

Blues saw the game out without much further alarm, and could have had another goal when the 'keeper again came into no man's land, clattered into substitute Josh Andrews and although the ball span loose and out to Concannon, with no one back guarding the sticks, the referee blew for a Blues free-kick.

In the 86th minute Blues yet again played round Leeds with some slick stuff and the chance to set up Fernandez for a hat-trick emerged, but Olly Casey dived in to block his considered sidefooter with his back.

Then Stirk cleverly played in Steve Seddon, who had stayed up from an attack and was free on the right of the area, but he planted a close range shot with just the Meslier to beat into the sidenetting.

Blues: Trueman, Gordon, Seddon, Boyd-Munce, Redmond, Bajrami, Thompson-Sommers (Campbell 78), Stirk, George (Andrews 65), Fernandez, Concannon. Subs not used: Siviter, Burke, Reid.

 

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