All eyes were on the returning Martin Taylor at Damson Park on Tuesday but City also included Republic of Ireland international goalkeeper Colin Doyle, Garry O’Connor, Franck Queudrue, Rafael Schmitz and Daniel De Ridder, all with a wealth of first team experience.
We included eight Academy players in our 16-man squad and it looked like a real test when the Blues stormed into a 2-0 lead inside 13 minutes.
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However, we were sparked back to life when David Hutton pulled a goal back and as confidence grew, Adel Taarabt beat three defenders to set up Tomas Pekhart’s equaliser before the break.
Taarabt then finished in style for 3-2 five minutes into the second half but unfortunately we conceded a somewhat disappointed equaliser after 62 minutes and that’s how it stayed.
“I thought it was an excellent comeback,” said Clive. “I was disappointed with the first 20 minutes because we made it very difficult for ourselves against an experienced and it looked like that would make it very difficult for us.
“I thought our play after going 2-0 down was positive, we got a great response from the lads, got ourselves back into the game and the confidence flowed back into the team from there.
“We were buoyed by that, managed to level it up and we then took the game to them, deserved to go in front and overall I’m disappointed we haven’t won the game after the way we played.
“The lads showed a lot of character to come back. A lot of them had individual battles against players with Premier League experience and came out of it with a lot of credit.
“There are lessons to be learned but at the same time a lot to take from the game that I’m very pleased about.”
Clive Allen was delighted with the character of our young reserve side as they fought back from 2-0 down to gain a 3-3 draw against an experienced Birmingham City side on Tuesday night.