Blast from the past
Andrew Cornell looks back on Blues’ games on July 9th
This was the earliest start to a season until 2016 – and the earliest home game so far. See below a very detailed report from the Observer with as you’d expect as much detail on the new players as on the action.
FIFTEEN new players were on show for Blues in Tuesday’s opening friendly against a very
young Southend United side but perhaps the most significant of all was experienced former
Barnet striker Cliff Akurang. A qualified fitness instructor, Akurang, 32, has been appointed
as player/fitness coach at Bishop’s Stortford. His capture comes a year after Akurang rejected Blues to sign a player-coach deal at Boreham Wood.
Stortford boss Rod Stringer was delighted to finally get his man. “Cliff is working on our fitness
levels and coaching. He is here as a forward but we only had three centre-halves so he played at
centre-half,” he said. “He did quite well. He went in there and won his headers. He did what he had to do. It’s handy: He will help the boys get fitter.”
The perma-tanned Phil Brown, was in attendance as Southend manager to cast his eyes over his
fledgling side who won 3-1with a second-half goal from £1.5m former Wolves and Birmingham
City striker Freddy Eastwood. Both sides played 45 players in total, with Stringer changing his
XI at half-time, bringing on Akurang, and Brown rotated his whole side near the hour.
England U-18 star Charlie Grainger, 16, on loan from Leyton Orient, started in goal for Blues. Other debuts ,went to right-back Taylor Nathaniel, midfielder Ike Robertson (released by Millwall), ex-Peterborough centre-half Arthur Lee, former St Neots forward Kyle Asante and striker Steve Carvell, who was released by Exeter City back in March.
Other new boys on the bench were right-back Ashley Miller (signed from Canvey Island) andkeeper Joe Wright, on-loan Stevenage defender George Allen, Jamie Doyle, former East
Thurrock United left-back Sam Collins, midfielder Bruce Ndala and striker Billy Jones. Blues will be pleased with the crowd as well- 341 turned up for this match.
Poor defending gave Southend the lead on eight minutes as ex-Blues loanee striker Seedy Njie
fired past Grainger. Blues levelled on 25 minutes. Robertson hit the right post with one effort but Asante turned the ball acrobatically into the bottom right corner. Southend took the lead three
minutes before the break when an unnamed triallist fired in.
The visitors made it 3-1 on 66 minutes when Eastwood’s heavily-deflected effort wrong-footed