Sears, Drinan and Simpson amongst the goals as Young Blues prevail
Three goals in nine first-half minutes helped Town beat top-of-the-table Bristol City at Playford Road this afternoon.
The young Blues defeated the Robins 4-2, with strikes from Freddie Sears, Aaron Drinan and Tyreece Simpson plus an own goal securing the three points.
Kieron Dyer named a strong line-up with David Cornell, Mark McGuinness, Myles Kenlock, Keanan Bennetts and Armando Dobra all involved from the start as well as Sears and Drinan.
The game started rather quietly although both sides did have half-chances in the first 25 minutes. Sears collected a through ball but wasn't quite able to hit the target as he saw his shot drop onto the roof of the net, before Saikou Janneh struck a low effort from the edge of the box which was well held by Cornell.
Town then made the breakthrough in the 31st minute. A neat move down the left side culminated in a low ball across the box, which Sears tapped into an empty net.
And five minutes later Dyer's side had a second. Dobra did brilliantly to beat his man on the halfway line before finding Drinan with a curling pass, which the striker brought down well before surging into the box and rifling into the back of the net from about 10 yards out.
Five minutes before the break it was three; Robins defender Barney Soady turning into his own net after trying to clear a low cross from Sears.
The second half got off to a hectic start with both sides going close just minutes after the restart. Sears saw an effort saved and up the other end McGuinness cleared off the line before Bailey Clements produced a superb block to deny the visitors once more.
Around the hour mark Cornell was called into action on a few occasions. Zac Smith forced the Welshman to make a low save, with the shot-stopper also denying Louis Britton in the 69th minute, just a couple of minutes after Britton had also gone close with a low strike that hit the side netting.
Following a spell of pressure, the visitors deservedly got one back with twenty minutes left to play. Smith dug out a cross which Britton managed to divert in despite Cornell getting a hand to the forward's header.
And 16 minutes from time they reduced the deficit again. A dangerous cross was met by Janneh, and his header back across goal found the bottom corner.
Town regrouped well and limited chances for the visiting team from that point, although there were claims for a penalty when Owura Edwards went down in the box, but the referee waved play on.
Simpson then settled any potential nerves four minutes from time. Impressive work from Dobra created an opening, which the striker capitalised on well as he casually fired the ball into the bottom corner.
Conditions were particularly difficult for both sides in the second half as the wind swept around Playford Road, although did seem to suit central defender McGuinness as he consistently won aerial duels and headed a number of dangerous crosses clear for the home side. Clements, his centre-half partner, was also responsible for some important headed clearances.
The victory leaves Town in second spot in the Professional Development League Two South table, with Bristol City still in pole position. Both sides have played 21 games, with the Robins ahead by eight points.
The U23s are next in action when they host Barnsley at Playford Road on 13 April [kick-off 12pm].
Town: Cornell, Andoh (O'Reilly 60'), McGuinness, Clements, Kenlock (Crane 72'), Gibbs, Nydam, Dobra, Bennetts, Sears, Drinan (Simpson 65').
Subs not used: White.
Pics: James Ager
Town U23s are sponsored by CNet Training.