Report | Swansea City U21s 10 Birmingham City U21s 1
It was a perfect 10 for Swansea City Under-21s as they rounded off their season in superb style with a magnificent all-round team performance that dismantled Birmingham City at the Swansea.com Stadium.
The in-form Swans had led 5-0 inside half an hour against the shell-shocked visitors, Josh Thomas hitting a hat-trick, with Joe Thomas and Liam Smith also on the scoresheet.
Josh Thomas added his fourth, with Cameron Congreve, Tivonge Rushesha, Corey Hurford and captain Sam Leverett also finding the net after the break.
Rico Patterson’s finish for Birmingham was of no consolation to the visitors, who also ended with 10 men after captain Rico Browne was sent off deep into the second half.
The result means the Swans have won nine of their final dozen Professional Development League fixtures, coming up just one point short of the play-offs.
They have also win all five of their fixtures at the Swansea.com Stadium, having previously beaten QPR, Wigan, Hull and Sheffield United.
In addition, they end the season as the PDL’s top scorers having netted a remarkable 80 goals in their 28 games.
After a nervy first few moments, they quickly settled into their rhythm and overwhelmed the Blues.
It needed good defending from Azeem Abdulai to deny Kieran Wakefield a sight of goal just a few seconds in, the Scotland youth international making an important block in his own area.
Swansea responded immediately, Smith’s low strike forcing Olivier Basey into a sharp low stop at his near post.
But, from the resulting corner, the hosts took he lead as under-21s’ player of the season Joe Thomas swept a corner into the net as the Birmingham defence were caught fast asleep.
Joe Thomas soon went close again, a mazy run from the right ending with him having a left-footed shot blocked as he set his sights on the bottom corner.
Swansea did not have to wait long to double their lead, however, Josh Thomas making the most of his good pressing work to bear down on goal and steer the ball into the far corner of the net.
The home side were cutting the visitors to ribbons, and Smith made it 3-0 a couple of minutes later as he turned in Ben Lloyd’s inch-perfect cross from the right.
Swansea were in irresistible form, and Josh Thomas grabbed his second after patient build-up ended with Smith producing a slide-rule pass for the forward to guide the ball across the keeper and into the bottom corner.
Josh Thomas nearly had a hat-trick before 23 minutes had elapsed, clipping the ball agonisingly wide of the far post with Birmingham all at sea.
But his treble was completed on the half-hour after a simply magnificent run from Smith.
The Scot received the ball on the touchline before turning infield away from his marker and beating two more defenders to flick the ball on for Thomas to skip inside the final man and send a low shot into the net.
It was nearly 6-0 before half-time; Basey making a good stop to deny Lloyd’s firm effort from another astute Smith pass.
Not that Swansea had to wait too much longer, Josh Thomas firing home his fourth of the game from barely a yard out just 91 seconds into the second half, after Lloyd’s dinked effort had been blocked on the line.
Congreve got in on the act, bending a wonderful free-kick into the far corner in a fashion reminiscent of Joel Piroe’s winner for the first team here against West Brom on Monday.
That was his last contribution as coach Anthony Wright ran the changes, before Birmingham pulled one back as Patterson thrashed the ball home from a right angle, moments after Evan Watts had done well to deny a trialist with a fingertip save.
The same trialist then had an effort blocked after Smith had lost the ball on the left side of his own area, but the Swans swept up the other end where substitute Ruben Davies was fouled as he ran on to Hurford’s pass.
Rushesha stepped up and fired the spot-kick high into the net for Swansea’s eighth goal, and it only for worse for Birmingham when captain Browne was dismissed for making his unhappiness with the award of the penalty in too aggressive a manner.
Hurford made the most of the additional space as he twisted and turned his way beyond a number of players in the area to prod the ball into the far corner.
The Swans were not done, with Leverett rounding the afternoon off by turning in Mitchell Bates' cross to take the score to double figures.
Swansea City Under-21s: Evan Watts, Joe Thomas, Sam Leverett (captain), Azeem Abdulai (Mitchell Bates 54), Filip Lissah, Tivonge Rushesha, Cameron Congreve (Corey Hurford 54), Joel Cotterill, Josh Thomas (Ruben Davies 54), Ben Lloyd, Liam Smith (Kian Jenkins 77).
Unused Substitutes: Remy Mitchell.
Birmingham City Under-21s: Oliver Basey, Trialist, Mitchell Roberts, Tommy Fogarty, Rico Browne (captain), Keyendrah Simmonds (Ifeoluwa Oni 20), Trialist, Kieran Wakefield (Trialist 77), Finley Thorndike, Rico Patterson, Joshua Andrews (Cameron Eubank 64).
Unused Substitutes: Alfie Brooks.