It proved to be a tale of two halves at Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday night, with a four goal haul in the first half enough to see City’s development side to a 4-0 win over Colchester United.
An experienced midfield began the game for the Bluebirds with Stephen McPhail being joined by his first team colleague Filip Kiss as well as the returning Jordon Mutch.
It was another of City’s allowed over-age players that made the biggest impact in the opening half an hour though, with Etien Velikonja looking very lively in the lone striker role. The Slovenian had a goal controversially disallowed on twelve minutes, but wasn’t to be denied as he grabbed his first of the evening just two minutes later. Luke Coulson with a fantastic cross from the right wing allowed Velikonja to smash the ball home from inside the six yard box to give City the lead.
In a three minute spell, the home side went further ahead with two quick goals. Velikonja grabbed his second of the game with an exquisite little dink over Phillips after a lovely little through-ball and another great through ball helped City grab their third moments later. McPhail engineered a fantastic one-two move involving Jordon Mutch that enabled the former Birmingham man to fire home from a tight angle.
The near perfect first half for City got even better with three minutes to go to the break when Filip Kiss controlled a pass well on the edge of the area before unleashing a controlled shot that went into Phillips' goal off the post.
During the second period, Colchester came back into the game with an attacking display. But although they continually went close through the dangerous Freddie Ladapo, United couldn’t break through the City back line who held strong until the end.
It was Cardiff who actually put the ball in the net again just before the final whistle, only for Velikonja to be denied for a second time for offside after another Coulson cross. Regardless, this was a fantastic attacking and defensive display from the right back. The victory ensured that City's DVP squad could boast a similarly impressive record to the first team at Cardiff City Stadium; they've now managed five home wins out of six this season so far.
The home side began the game with an extremely strong line up; Stephen McPhail continued in the heart of the development side’s midfield and was joined by Filip Kiss and the returning Jordon Mutch.
Ibrahim Mansaray began his first game as an official Cardiff City player while Etien Velikonja continued up front. There were a few familiar faces missing from the development side with Nathaniel Jarvis joining Forest Green Rovers on loan earlier in the day while usual skipper Ben Nugent continued preparation with the first team for the trip to Barnsley on Saturday.
The away side had the first attempt of the game though with forward Freddie Ladapo trying his luck from twenty yards out; Parish in the Cardiff goal was equal to the nineteen year old's strike however, holding the ball well.
After Ladapo’s early attempt the home side took real control of the opening forty five minutes and were unlucky not to open the scoring with just five minutes on the clock. McPhail delivered a fantastic thirty five yard cross field pass that Coulson brought down superbly, the right back cutting inside and playing Mutch through one-one-one with Colchester keeper Shaun Phillips.The midfielder’s low drive brought the best out of Phillips though, who saved strongly with his legs.
City had the ball in the net for the first time in the game on twelve minutes only for Velikonja’s goal to be ruled out for offside; the Slovenian wasn’t disheartened by this though and got his goal two minutes later. The impressive Coulson showed pace and strength down the right hand side and picked Velikonja out perfectly with his cross, the experienced forward with a clinical finish past Phillips to give the home side the advantage.
GOAL! CARDIFF CITY DVP 1-0 COLCHESTER UNITED DVP (Etien Velikonja, 14 mins)
After the opening goal the away side pulled themselves back into the game with a spell of intense pressure. The new central defensive partnership of Oshilaja and Mansaray stayed strong under pressure, though they were nearly caught out when impressive forward Ladapo again threatened and his curling effort from twenty yards only just went wide of Parish’s left hand post.
The Us though couldn’t convert during this spell of dominance and they were made to pay on the counter when Velikonja grabbed his second goal of the game on twenty seven minutes. The forward ran onto a great through ball and dinked it exquisitely over out rushing goalkeeper Phillips and beyond the Colchester defence to give City a two goal lead, which became a three goal lead with City’s next attack.
GOAL! CARDIFF CITY DVP 2-0 COLCHESTER UNITED DVP (Etien Velikonja, 27 mins)
Substitution COLCHESTER UNITED: Merrick James-Lewis replaced by Tom Lapsie (28 minutes)
Jordon Mutch started for the development side in his return from a nerve injury and he capped a fine performance with a well worked goal on twenty eight minutes. City earned a corner that resulted in a fine one-two between McPhail and Mutch - the former Birmingham City man clinical in front of goal to fire home from an acute angle for a three goal lead.
GOAL! CARDIFF CITY DVP 3-0 COLCHESTER UNITED DVP (Jordan Mutch, 28 mins)
The City dominance continued after their third goal and Velikonja was just whiskers away from grabbing his second hat-trick of the development league this season. Coulson again got forward from the right back position and crossed for the Slovenian whose volley went just over Phillips' crossbar.
A fourth City goal did follow on forty two minutes with Filip Kiss getting on the score-sheet. The midfielder controlled the ball on the edge of the area well and after some decent footwork fired a shot that crashed into the back of the net of the inside of the upright to put City firmly in control at half time.
GOAL! CARDIFF CITY DVP 4-0 COLCHESTER UNITED DVP (Filip Kiss, 42 mins)
HALF TIME: CARDIFF CITY DVP 4-0 COLCHESTER UNITED DVP
A very different Colchester United came out for the second half with a determined display from the away side. Ladapo again tested Elliot Parish but as was in the first half his attempt was thwarted by the City goalkeeper.
Substitution COLCHESTER UNITED: Jackson Ramm replaced by Macauley Bonne (48 minutes)
In a second half of few chances for Cardiff, Ronnie Hawkins was very close to making it 5-0 early on. The winger controlled a pass from Jesse Darko before unleashing a powerful strike from twenty yards that slipped just wide of the post. Declan John was again impressing at left back for Cardiff with not only his defensive ability but his pace continually causing the Colchester defence panic.
The dangerous Ladapo really should have got the better of Parish on fifty six minutes with a volley from inside the penalty area. Tosin Olufemi had done extremely well down the right wing and pulled a cross back for the forward only for Ladapo’s volley to go high over the crossbar.
Substitutions CARDIFF CITY: Jordan Mutch and Ronnie Hawkins replaced by Theo Wharton and Tommy O’Sullivan (63 minutes)
Macauley Bonne came off the bench for the away side early in the second half and he was the next man to trouble Parish. Bonne controlled the ball well cutting in from the left wing and he fired a tricky right footed volley towards goal from distance that was very well held by the City keeper. Another Colchester substitute Tom Lapsie tried his luck from a tight angle and his volley was well pushed away from danger.
Substitution COLCHESTER UNITED: Tosin Olufemi replaced by Billy Roast (76 minutes)
Substitution CARDIFF CITY: Ibrahim Mansaray replaced by Kane Owen (84 minutes)
Although under some pressure for periods of the second half, it was Cardiff that managed to put the ball in the net. The combination of Coulson and Velikonja again working its magic for the Slovenian to strike, but unfortunately for City the linesman had his flag up. Although they were denied a fifth goal nothing could deny City of a fifth home victory this season.
FULL TIME: CARDIFF CITY DVP 4-0 COLCHESTER UNITED DVP
Cardiff City:Elliot Parish, Luke Coulson, Declan John, Filip Kiss, Ibrahim Mansaray (Kane Owen, 84), Adedeji Oshilaja, Jesse Darko, Jordon Mutch (Theo Wharton, 63), Etien Velikonja, Stephen McPhail, Ronnie Hawkins (Tommy O’Sullivan, 63) Subs Not Used: David Richards, Gethyn Hill.
Colchester United:Shaun Phillips, Tom Bender, Jackson Ramm (Macauley Bonne, 48), Jordan Sanderson, Bradley Hamilton, Merrick James-Lewis (Tom Lapsie, 28), Alex Gilbey, Drey Wright, Freddie Ladapo, Ben Coker, Tosin Olufemi (Billy Roast, 76) Subs Not Used: Ryan Melaugh, Jack Simmons.