Richard Beale reflects on shock Under-23s loss

Richard Beale urging Blues on at Bramall Lane
Richard Beale urging Blues on at Bramall Lane

Blues Under-23s are back in action on Friday when they travel to Fulham in the Premier League Cup group stages

Richard Beale admitted that Blues lacked that telling factor in the final third at Sheffield United.

The Under-23s four-game winning streak came to an end with a 1-0 defeat at Bramall Lane.

The Blues side was a strong one, with several players who have been on First Team duty starting.

But that, in itself, can bring its own problems, altering the understanding and rhythm of the regular line-up.

“It didn’t go for us in the final third at all,” said Senior Professional Development Coach Beale.

“We looked bereft of that bit of quality needed. We got into some good positions, but the final ball, the final decision wasn’t often the right one to give us real gilt-edged chances to put the ball in the back of the net.

“Disappointing. No shortage of effort from the lads, but it was the quality side of things that let us down.”

Isaac Vassell got 66 minutes under his belt as he continues to make strides after a long-term knee injury.

He was paired up front with Beryly Lubala, and there were outings for Josh Dacres-Cogley, Dan Scarr, Charlie Lakin, Viv Solomon-Otabor and Connal Trueman as well.

“We don’t make excuses for the lads,” said Beale. “They set their standards very high. The team was changed a lot, there were a lot of players who don’t always play together. When that happens you don’t always get that rhythm and it was a little bit like that. The important thing was that those boys are getting the minutes in and we move onto the next game.”

The decisive goal came in the 78th minute, thumped in at the back post from a free-kick after the cross skimmed off Scarr’s head fortuitously for the Blades.

“The free-kick first of all comes from us diving in. The wideman gets a bit of a free run and we end up having to bring him down. They put a decent ball into the box and we have to deal with it better than we did. It came off a head, flicked, and their lad at the back post was unmarked. For sure, a disappointing goal.”

A positive was Vassell building on his comeback for the Under-23s a week last Saturday and the game-time he got as substitute in the defeat by Middlesbrough in the Championship.

Beale said: “He is just building up his minutes, building up his endurance and I am sure he will be a big asset to the First Team squad.”

Blues – who were replaced at the top of the PDL North by Leeds United as a result of their reverse – are back in action on Friday.

They travel to face Fulham at Motspur Park in the Premier League Cup group stage (3pm).

“It’s good we have got a game to bounce back into very quickly. A game against a very good team as well, probably one of the best teams we have played this season.

“We are looking forward to pitting ourselves against them. We will go down there and give it a good go.”