Report: Barnsley Under-18s 4 Blues Under-18s 3

Blues Under-18s were narrowly beaten by Barnsley on Tuesday lunchtime.

Despite trailing 2-0 after half an hour, Alfie Chang halved the arrears ten minutes before the interval and George Hall found an equaliser early in the second-half to bring Blues back into contention.

However, two further goals from the hosts made it an uphill battle for Blues and Kade Craig’s 86th-minute effort, unfortunately, proved no more than a consolation in a spirited performance.

The defeat was the first under Paul Harsley and the Professional Development Coach was in a reflective mood after his side had won four in a row ahead of the match.

He told “The lads are disappointed; they have a will to win. But for us, it is about how the players are developing on a long-term basis. We knew it would be a tough game against a hard-working Barnsley team. There is plenty to learn from it and we will keep developing. They have been doing so well and now we will see how we bounce back.”

With his side still leading the way in the standings, Harsley continued in his assessment of the match and was keen to emphasise how one loss should not overshadow the strides made by Blues' Under-18s.

He said: “We have done lots on the style of play and different rotations in midfield to create overloads. We’ve been edged out in one game and we will keep working. They are a great set of lads to work with, their heart is in the right place and that’s a great place to start. You cannot question their attitude.”

Harsley went onto explain how the focus remains to develop well-rounded players, as well as expressing his delight at his side’s ongoing form in front of goal.

He explained: “It’s about developing the players. The work that has gone on has been really pleasing and the players are taking it on board. We are trying to develop the players and with Birmingham that is a possession style.

“We do a lot of work focused on the ball, so we are always going to score goals. It is about the lads having the courage in front of goal. We will keep working on all aspects of their game and it’s great to be top of the league, but their long-term development is a paramount concern for myself and the Academy.”

The team return to action when they welcome Coventry City this weekend and Harsley is hoping the weather is on their side to ensure a run of fixtures can be put together.

He said: “Hopefully the weather is getting better and we can get a little run of games. It’s Coventry on Saturday and we can keep working and have some more success.”

Blues: Brooks, Barrett, Sullivan, Noakes (Nguepissi 60), Foggarty (Craig 45), Chang (captain), Bellingham, Patterson (James 75), Wakefield, Hall, Williams.

Unused substitutes: Manton, Khela.

Goalscorers: Alfie Chang 36, George Hall, 57 Kade Craig 87.