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Youth Team: Brentford 0 Birmingham City 2

5 March 2016

Ronan Hale's double secures the points for Blues

Ronan Hale's double secured the three points for Birmingham City in the U18 Professional Development League Two this morning at Jersey Road.

The visitors took the lead after 9 minutes when Irish striker Hale pounced on Ellery Balcombe’s weak pass out from the edge of the area and passed into an empty net.

Hale struck what proved to be the winner midway through the second half, when his side were awarded a contentious penalty that he dispatched into the left-hand corner of the net, via Balcombe’s palm.

The Bees lineup was left virtually untouched from the defeat to QPR last weekend; under-16s Balcombe and David Titov retained their starting berths, whilst Josh Bohui returned to the squad and Chris Mepham made his first under-18s start since signing professional terms in February.

With 20 goals to his name this season in all competitions, Hale was always going to prove to be a handful to the Brentford defence; his early cross in from the left almost gave the Blues the perfect start when Corey O’Keefe latched on, but just clipped it past the post.

Winger Odin Bailey was also giving Titov a run for his money down the left, but when Balcombe received a non-threatening ball back to goal, little did he know that it was Hale who would pop up again; his weak attempted pass from Mepham’s ball was quickly snatched by Hale who was left with the easy task of passing into the back of the net for the opener

Birmingham’s passing was a joy to behold at times, but Brentford were by no means ready to back down for the Midlands side, yet it was the familiar story of creating the chances but failing to convert them; Romayne Pennant and Giovanni McGregor both went close but couldn’t force Max Beardmore into anything more than simple saves.

Just after the half-hour came Brentford’s best chance; Mepham’s low ball from defence somehow reached the feet of Danny Parish who turned Oliver Mulders and hit a shot, but again failed to meaningfully test Beardmore.

The second half began just as the first had; Charlie Lakin’s corner was en route to the head of O’Keefe, before Balcombe intervened and made the vital fingertip save that removed the ball from danger.

With 52 minutes on the clock, the Blues were awarded a penalty; the referee adjudged that Seth Owens had pushed Cameron Ebbutt from a corner – a claim that the entire Bees squad hotly disputed; having recently bagged nine goals in two league games, Hale’s spot-kick was merely a formality.

As the game wore on, Brentford improved; though Parish was isolated in attack and two free-kicks either side of the hour mark were the closest they came to breaking their scoring hoodoo, which has now stretched to over 270 minutes.

Despite extensive injury time at the conclusion of the game, the Bees couldn’t force so much as a consolation and Steve Spooner’s young Blue side walked away with the three points.

Brentford: Ellery Balcombe, Romayne Pennant, Seth Owens, Chris Mepham, David Titov, Sean Bird (Pablo Gonzalez 46), Giovanni McGregor, Josh Bohui, Julius Fenn-Evans (Adebambo Akinjogbin 87), Luke Dunn (Shawkat Tahir 46), Danny Parish
Unused subs: Adam Green, George Maxwell

Birmingham City: Max Beardmore, Louis Yuill, Matthew Timms, Charlie Lakin, Jack Challis, Oliver Mulders, Corey O’Keefe, Beryly Lubala (Ryan Stirk 88), Ronan Hale, Cameron Ebbutt (Mitchell Roberts), Odin Bailey
Unused subs: Nosa Iyamu, Adam Siviter, Tom Anderson

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