COLCHESTER United's under-23s remain bottom of their Premier League Cup group after losing 4-0 to Birmingham City, writes BRIAN WALLER.

Kevin Horlock's side fell to a third successive defeat in the competition, after losing to a clinical Blues side, at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Kyle Hurst fired over for Birmingham early on but Colchester came even closer minutes later through Eoin McKeown, whose drive hit the near side angle of the bar and post.

Birmingham took the lead after 11 minutes when a through ball was not cut out and Kyle McFarlane, who scored a hat-trick against Colchester earlier in the year at St Andrews, got ahead of David Agboola to run through and put his side ahead.

Colchester responded well to the setback and Ollie Sims drove over while the hosts had a penalty appeal turned down when Noah Chilvers tumbled under a challenge in the box.

McFarlane and Hurst both fired over for the visitors though and Colchester fell further behind ten minutes before half-time.

After Hurst had delivered a pass, Ryan Stirk's shot on the turn went between the feet of home keeper Ethan Ross and in.

Olly McCoy then headed over for Birmingham but the very young Todd Miller continued to be Colchester’s main source of danger.

Cutting in from the left, his shot deflected into the side netting and then from another tremendous run down the left, he cut in towards goal before keeper Michael Luyambula made a hurried clearance to touch.

Colchester did not deserve to be two goals behind at the break but Birmingham almost added a third six minutes after half-time when McCoy created the space for a fierce shot that keeper Ross did well to push around the post.

Miller proved a constant danger to City and was unlucky again when he scampered down the left wing until he was tackled.

But Birmingham virtually sealed victory with nine minutes remaining when substitute Tommy Anderson came inside and found the far corner of the net, after being found by Stirk's pass.

Dean Ager and Ryan Clampin both saw attempts go wide for Colchester but Birmingham sealed victory five minutes into stoppage time through McFarlane, who scored his second of the game after being released by Cameron McGilp.

Colchester under-23s' next game in the competition is at home to Coventry City next Monday, kick-off 7pm.

Colchester United U23: Ross, Anderson, Cracknell, Agboola, Clampin, Sims (sub Ager, 60), Chilvers (sub Jones, 60), Dunne, Miller, James, McKeown (sub Charles, 72). Subs (not used): Coulter, Kennedy.