A single Kadeem Harris goal helped Cardiff City defeat local rivals Swansea City in the first development league derby of the season.
City began the game strongest with experienced pros Jordon Mutch and Craig Noone going close on a number of occasions in the opening half. The Swans themselves could have taken the lead with Kenji Gorre hitting the crossbar either side of the half time break.
Cardiff finally found a way past in-form Slovenian goalkeeper Zabaret with a delightful counter attack paying dividends for the home team. Luke Coulson broke down the right side at real pace, and his exquisite cross was slotted in by Kadeem Harris for his first league goal of the campaign.
While the Swans pushed for an equaliser late on, a combination of the determined Cardiff defence and new boy Simon Moore kept the away side at bay much to the delight of the City crowd.
Three wins on the bounce for City’s development side who haven’t lost a game over ninety minutes since February.
Declan John returned to the development side for this encounter with Swansea City, the young left back was playing his first league game of the season for Kevin Cooper’s side having filled in so well for City’s first team in their fixture at West Ham United in the Premier League. Cooper also introduced experienced players Simon Lappin and Craig Noone for this South Wales derby.
Cardiff began the game full of confidence and looking to grab a goal early on, Harris was the first home player to try his luck at goal. The young winger with a powerful shot that drifted wide of goal, this early chance was followed up with a very similar opportunity for Mutch soon after. The former Birmingham City man unable to test Swansea’s Slovenian keeper Zabaret.
Zabaret had to be alert to deny City the lead on eight minutes with Noone’s blistering drive from distance well held by the Slovenian. Rhys Healey should composure to find space in a seemingly packed Swansea half on eleven minutes with the young forward’s powerful shot blocked well by Joseph Jones with Zabaret just to beat. Healey and Zabaret continued this battle of wits moments later, the Cardiff strikers low shot pushed wide of goal for a corner.
The hosts continued this spell of dominance in the opening half with Mutch, Noone and Healey all heading inches over the crossbar as Cardiff searched for the breakthrough. Kristian O’Leary’s Swansea team registered their first shot on target after twenty four minutes with former Manchester United winger Kenji Gorre shooting straight at City keeper Simon Moore, this wasn’t to be the last time the young midfielder troubled the Cardiff game during this game.
Swansea had the ball in the back of the net against the run of play on the half hour mark with Gorre firing past Moore. Much to the delight of the on-watching Cardiff fans though the linesman flag went up against the tricky winger following Rory Donnolly’s pass. Donnolly was the next to test Moore in the City goal with the former Brentford keeper equal to the striker’s powerful drive. The away side were enjoying their best spell of possession and went closest to opening the scoring before the break, Gorre with a brilliant turn of pace to beat Coulson with his strike coming back off the underside of the crossbar.
While Noone struck the ball over the bar for Cardiff, the home side were lucky to still be on level terms with Lee Lucas bearing down on goal from twenty yards. Development side skipper Deji Oshilaja led by example, producing a fantastic challenge to save his team from going behind.
O’Leary’s men very nearly opened the scoring in the last minute of the half with Donnolly acrobatically trying to add to the two goals he has already scored this term with an overhead kick from inside the Cardiff penalty area that drifted wide of the target by a matter of inches.
HALF TIME: CARDIFF CITY 0-0 SWANSEA CITY
The hosts returned from the break with renewed vigour and determination to open the lead. Declan John with Cardiff’s first shot of the half from an acute angle on the left side of the pitch that was well palmed away by Zabaret. The Slovenian keeper denied Kadeem Harris on forty nine minutes with City looking for a way past this impressive Swans keeper in any way possible.
Chances for both sides fell on fifty three minutes with the some top quality counter attacking football on display inside Cardiff City Stadium. Midfielder Mutch’s headed attempt missed the target following some impressive build up play from Luke Coulson and Noone. The Swans were denied by the crossbar for a second time moments later with Gorre watching as another shot flew back off the upright to safety.
The hosts finally beat Zabaret with fifty nine minutes on the clock, Mutch’s deflected drive from the edge of the penalty area bounced over the outstretched hand of the keeper, but not past in-form striker Donnolly who headed clear on the goal-line. The home fans finally got there chance to cheer with sixty four minutes on the clock with Cardiff taking a deserved lead.
A brilliant break from Luke Coulson down the right hand side following a Swansea corner, the young full back chose to pick out Harris at the back post and not Healey in the middle of the penalty area. His decision was justified with Harris lashing the ball home from close range to give Cardiff a much deserved lead over their local rivals and a first league goal of the campaign for Harris, who had an incredible pre-season.
GOAL! CARDIFF CITY 1-0 SWANSEA CITY (Kadeem Harris, 64 mins)
Both sides searched for the all-important second goal following Harris’ opener, City were inches away from adding a spectacular goal on eighty two minutes when Noone challenged Zabaret. The goalkeeper stopped the former Brighton winger from beating him on the edge of the penalty area with a fine tackle, the ball falling to Cardiff’s reliable full back Luke Coulson who struck the ball towards goal from forty yards only for Liam Shepherd to clear off the goal line with a defensive header to keep his side in it.
Simon Moore was Cardiff’s hero on ninety minutes with substitute Jermade Meade bearing down on goal, the new Cardiff keeper saving well down low to keep his team ahead against their local rivals and help seal a third successive win for Kevin Cooper’s development side on the bounce.
FULL TIME: CARDIFF CITY 1-0 SWANSEA CITYCardiff City:
Moore, Coulson (Yorwerth, 88), John, Oshilaja, Wharton, Lappin, Noone, Mutch, Healey, O’Sullivan, Harris (Owen, 71). Subs Not Used:
Matthews, Williams, Bowen.
Zabaret, Alfei, Shepherd, Jones, Tancock, Gogic (Evans, 82), Gorre (Hedges, 82), Lucas, Scott, Donnolly, Loveridge (Meade, 65). Subs Not Used:
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