Hales is the difference for Blues despite inclusion of Lovenkrands

Birmingham City's Peter Lovenkrands.
Birmingham City's Peter Lovenkrands.

Peter Lovenkrands was the star name on the visitors’ team sheet as Leamington welcomed a Birmingham City XI for their final home friendly of the summer on Wednesday evening.

It was a noticeably stronger Blues side from the ones that have visited for previous friendlies, with Hayden Mullins also among the starters, and this was evident in the opening quarter of an hour as they dominated possession.

Leamington gradually gained a foothold in the game and arguably created the better chances over the 90 minutes.

However, Reece Hales’ late strike was the difference between the two sides, with the teenage striker popping up in the 80th minute to slide the ball across Breeden and into the far corner of the net.

Blues keeper Callum Preston produced a stunning one-handed save from Liam Daly’s powerful downward header to deny Brakes in the first half, while Stefan Morley, Ricky Johnson (twice) and Lee Chilton all went close for the home side after the break before Hales’ clincher.

Brakes: Tony Breeden, James Mace, Stephan Morley, Joe Magunda, Liam Daly, Sam Oji (Josh Green, 60), Lee Moore, Craig Owen (Sam Adkins, 46), Ricky Johnson (Ryan Coyle, 81), Stefan Moore (Jamie Towers, 65), Lee Chilton (Josh Thompson, 75).

Birmingham City: Callum Preston, Ryan Higgins, Marcus Painter, James Fry, Hayden Mullins (Jean Kalenda, 62), Reece Brown, Amari’i Bell, Charlee Adams, Reece Hales, Dimari Gray, Peter Lovenkrands (Viv Solomon, 70). Subs not used: Bobby Moseley, Conner Truman.

Brakes, who were without Matty Dodd (ankle) and Alex Taylor (hamstring) on Wednesday night, complete their pre-season campaign with a trip to Halesowen on Saturday (3pm).