Evo-Stik League South Premier club Stratford Town`s Ben Stephens scored for SkyBet Championship side Birmingham City`s under-23’s at Cardiff City on Monday night.
The talented Stephens signed for Stratford from league rivals Kettering Town, having previously played for ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division outfit Oadby Town.
He has notched 21 goals in forty-two appearances this season, which attracted the attention of Ipswich Town and Coventry City as well as Birmingham.
And Stephens made an impressive Blues debut.
He opened the scoring after 14 minutes and Blues` under-23 manager Richard Beale was full of praise for his performance, telling the club`s official website: “I thought he was excellent.
“He played well with the ball, and was good without it, tracking back with his runners. He did the other side of the game and that was the test of him, really. He’s certainly one to watch.
“Anyone who does well in the leagues locally we go and watch them. We keep eyes on them. We got him in for a couple of days a week back, but he couldn’t stay with us. We’ve got him back in now and he’s done himself no harm.
“Such boys in local leagues are very, very hungry. They have seen the other side of it, they relish the chance when they get it.”
And Beale knows all about the levels of non-League football, having been with Solihull Borough, Telford United and Stafford Rangers in his playing days.