Colchester impressive but beaten at Birmingham

Birmingham City v Colchester United – Carabao Cup first round – St Andrews – Report

Birmingham City 1-0 Colchester United

Colchester United provided their 400-strong travelling supporters with a thoroughly decent display despite seeing their Carabao Cup exploits extinguished by Birmingham City at St Andrew’s.

Hayden Mullins made three changes to his starting line-up from Saturday’s hard-fought draw at Carlisle United – Miles Welch-Hayes, Noah Chilvers and Sylvester Jasper coming into the reckoning, replacing Luke Chambers, Alan Judge and Freddie Sears – the former pair dropping to the bench.

And the pacey Jasper almost handed the U’s an early lead – The Fulham loanee prodding the wrong side of an upright after powering his way in from the left.

Following a notable opening day victory at Sheffield United, Blues boss Lee Bowyer had gone for an entirely different eleven to those that featured at Bramall Lane. Indeed, the youthful hosts were finding themselves outmuscled, with Jasper and Frank Nouble causing particular concern. Blues stopper, Connal Trueman did well to fist clear as the former West Ham man arrived late. Meanwhile, the U’s remained composed, controlled and largely unconcerned as Birmingham struggled to make any notable headway during the opening 45 minutes.

While Birmingham enjoyed a little more of the ball, their initial threat remained minimal immediately after the restart. Jasper was denied a sight of goal by Nico Gordon’s timely interception. Former Charlton Athletic frontman, Chucks Aneke saw his attempt rebuffed, while Charlie Lakin blazed wide as the Blues finally created opportunities of their own.

Colchester continued to look more likely. That man Jasper fizzed across the face of the goal. But having produced very little, it was Birmingham who sprung the trap and opened the scoring quarter of an hour from time. Marcel Oakley found some space – his right-footed strike took a nick off Tom Eastman and flew high beyond Shamal George – who, until that point, had been a spectator.

George produced a smart save to keep out Blues substitute Riley McGree as the hosts looked to kill the contest, while in stoppage-time, Colchester went might close – Cameron Coxe hitting the frame of the goal after Judge had created an opening.

Colchester United are next in action on Saturday, August 14 when Northampton Town are the visitors to the JobServe Community Stadium for a Sky Bet League Two encounter (3pm).

Birmingham City: Connal Trueman, George Friend (Capt), Jonathan Leko, Chuks Aneke (Riley McGree 75’), Ivan Sanchez, Juan Castillo, Jordan Graham, Charlie Larkin, Ivan Sunjic, Nico Gordon (Tate Campbell 74’), Marcel Oakley Subs not used: Matija Sarkic (GK), Jobe Bellingham, Remi Walker, Alfie Chang, Mitchell Roberts

Booked: None
Goals: Marcel Oakley 75’

Colchester United: Shamal George, Miles Welch-Hayes, Ryan Clampin, Tommy Smith (Capt), Brendan Wiredu, Cole Skuse (Gene Kennedy 66’), Frank Nouble (Freddie Sears 72’), Noah Chilvers, Sylvester Jasper (Alan Judge 81’), Tom Eastman, Cameron Coxe Subs not used: Jake Turner (GK), Junior Tchamadeu, Harry Beadle

Booked: Brendan Wiredu (foul)
Goals: None

Referee: Decan Bourne
Assistants: Grant Taylor and Richard Woodward
Fourth Official: Robert Massey-Ellis

Attendance: 6,199

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]