Report: Blues Under-18s 1 Sheffield United Under-18s 2

That’s the next step for this group, to learn how to break down a defensive block.

Mike Dodds

Blues Under-18s four game winning-streak was brought to an end by a stubborn and steadfast Sheffield United side.

Mike Dodd’s youngsters had been in blistering form in front of goal, finding the net fifteen times in their last three outings but encountered a United side intent on frustrating the hosts.

Blues endured a nightmare start and were behind after just two minutes but managed to restore parity before the break thanks to George Hall’s well-timed run and finish.

In difficult conditions, the hosts continued to dominate the ball but found clear cut chances hard to come by.

With twelve minutes remaining, defender Rico Browne was sent off for a foul on Theo Williams as the Blades striker looked to burst through on goal.

His dismissal proved decisive as moments later United made their numerical advantage pay as Hassan Ayari curled a well taken free-kick beyond Mayo and into the top corner.

It’s a first defeat in five for Blues and Head of Professional Development Phase, Mike Dodds, refused to be too critical of his players.

“Sheff United paid us a lot of respect and put eleven men behind the ball,” Dodds explained. “ I want to pay them a lot of respect in return because they done it really well.

“They were well organised and made our afternoon incredibly frustrating.

“We had a lot of possession but the disappointing aspect is that it was all in front of them and I don’t think we asked enough questions of their backline.

“The lads have been excellent these past few weeks and again today in spells I thought they were outstanding.

“We moved the ball well but it wasn’t in the right areas and that’s the next step for this group – learning how to break down a defensive block.

“The sending off changes the complexion of the game late on but credit to them they came and did a job on us.

“They’ve scored from a counter attack and a great free-kick so I can’t be too hard on our lads because they’ve been excellent in terms of what we’ve asked them to do.”

Next up, it’s a trip to the South-West to take on Bristol City on Saturday (11.00 kick-off).

Blues: Mayo, Oakley, Browne, Craig, Djurovic, Williams, Walker, Chang, Patterson (Fogarty 80), Hall, Miller

Not Used: Nguepissi, Sullivan

Goal: Hall 44

Red Card: Browne 75