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Report: Blues Under-23s 1-2 Aston Villa Under-23s

Blues Under-23s were beaten in the Second City derby at St. Andrew’s on Saturday afternoon.

Declan Frith’s first-half double won the Premier League 2 clash for the visitors, with Juan Castillo's reply coming too late in the first competitive fixture between the two sides at this age group.

It was Blues who had the first real opportunity of the game when the returning Ivan Sanchez struck a fierce effort over Oliwier Zych’s crossbar in the seventh minute.

Shortly after, Blues would fall behind. Frith found space before jinking the ball onto his right and firing low past Neil Etheridge in the home side's goal.

The stopper was then called into action to smother an Aaron Ramsey effort, who had skipped past three players as he bore down on goal.

However, the visiting team doubled their lead after 26 minutes, Frith driving at the Blues defence before rolling the ball into the bottom corner for his second.

Etheridge pulled off a phenomenal diving save when Finley Thorndike’s free-kick looked destined for the top corner, whilst Riley McGree saw a right-footed strike go wide late-on in the half.

After the break, Blues had an opportunity to halve the deficit when Mitchell Roberts’ header was dropped by Zych but Remi Walker’s follow-up was off-target.

This encouraged Steve Spooner's team and they began to grow in confidence before being awarded a penalty when a McGree strike struck the arm of a defender. Jordan Graham took the resulting spot-kick but his effort went over the crossbar.

Blues did get their goal three minutes from time when Castillo was afforded time to skip through the Villa defence, firing home from close range.

But, despite the much-improved second-half showing, it was the away side that came away with all three points.

Blues: Neil Etheridge, Callum Sullivan, Trialist, Alfie Chang (Oriol Soldevila 57), Tommy Fogarty, Mitch Roberts (captain), Jordan Graham, Riley McGree, Ivan Sanchez (Kyle Hurst 45), Keyendrah Simmonds (Remi Walker 45), Juan Castillo.

Substitutes not used: Oliver Basey, Cianole Nguepissi.

Booking: Simmonds, Trialist, Walker.

Aston Villa: Oliwier Zych, Hayden Lindley, Frankie Ealing, Lahore Board, Sil Swinkles, Tim Iroegbunam, Declan Frith, Finley Thorndike, Caleb Chukwuemeka (Mikell Barnes 67), Aaron Ramsey (captain), Tristan Goodridge.

Substitutes not used: James Wright, Patrick Zito, Charlie Lutz.

Bookings: Iroegbunam, Lindley, Ramsey.

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