Derby Men’s 3rd XI 1-3 Birmingham Men’s 3rd XI: Unbeaten start ended by ruthless visitors
Words by Dan Shave.
Derby Men’s 3rd XI’s unbeaten start to the season was put to an end as they were outclassed by a strong Birmingham Men’s 3rd XI in a 3-1 defeat.
The home side, looking to build on last week’s cup win against higher opposition, started the better of the two teams and that was reflected on the scoreline inside 10 minutes. A lofted pass down the right wing from Jake Martin found Joe Smalley, who rifled the bouncing ball into the far corner of the Birmingham net, giving Derby the lead just nine minutes in.
However, the visitors found an instant response, with Joe Strange finishing from close range after the Derby defence were unable to deal with an Oscar Armitage cross, levelling the score just moments after the deadlock had been broken.
Birmingham were then given the chance to take the lead after Ben Davies was brought down in the box, giving referee Ben Durber no choice but to point to the spot. Strange confidentially stepped up and slotted the penalty into the bottom left corner to double his and his side’s tally, putting them in front for the first time in the match.
That lead was soon increased, as Davies’ corner found the head of Tommy Carter who could not miss from just five yards out, giving Birmingham a 3-1 lead heading into half time.
Following the interval, Derby never looked like they were going to break down the opposition defence, and their opponents looked to put the game to bed. Jamie Thompson came closest as his deflected effort from the edge of the box forced a wonder save out of Ryan Les Stevens.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men in the final knockings of the game as Andy Nelson received his second yellow card. Unfortunately it was too late to make a difference, and it was Birmingham who took the three points, after a solid all-round performance from a team that is sure to be towards the top of the table come the end of the season.
Following the game, Derby coach Aaron Hayer put the poor performance down to a “bad day at the office” with the team still on a massive high from beating higher league opposition last week.
Manager Charlie Barlow is confident, however, that his players “will bounce back” as Derby face a tough cup tie away to Staffordshire Men’s 1st XI next week, a team who sit several divisions above.