A strong Cardiff City development side defeated Hereford United 2-0 at Edgar Street today, with winger Kadeem Harris and forward Nicky Maynard scoring for City.
City started the game strongest with their experienced side taking control of the match early on. Craig Conway’s trickery had already troubled the hosts before fellow winger Kadeem Harris broke the deadlock after eighteen minutes. Slovakian midfielder Filip Kiss supplied Harris with the ball wide on the left before the pacey wide man cut inside, beating Hereford full back Leadbitter before unleashing an unstoppable low shot that flew under the body of former Exeter City keeper Rhys Evans.
Kevin Cooper’s side continued pressuring the home defence and doubled their lead after thirty two minutes with former West Ham United forward Nicky Maynard showing his poaching instincts. Harris’ fine pass from the left side gave Maynard the ball just inside the Bulls box, Hereford midfielder Frankie Artus’ challenge gave the forward an edge of space that the striker fully capitalised on, firing left footed into the back of the net from fifteen yards.
The home side came back into the game in the second period and were closest to adding the game’s third goal with three minutes left on the clock. Substitute striker Chris Sharp with a beautiful left footed volley from eighteen yards that beat Joe Lewis, but not the goal frame with the ball bouncing off the outside of the goal post to safety.
City hung on comfortably in the final few moments to claim a clean sheet and their fourth win from four pre-season games. They will look to continue this form at Rhys Healey’s former club Gap Connah’s Quay on Tuesday evening.
City’s development side made five changes from the side that won at Port Talbot Town in midweek with Rudy Gestede, Joe Ralls, Tommy Smith and David Richards all taking their place in the first team squad for the Chievo match. Filip Kiss, Tommy O’Sullivan, Etien Velikonja, Kadeem Harris and Joe Lewis came into Kevin Cooper’s starting eleven for the trip to Edgar Street.
The away side’s strength shone through early on with Scottish International Craig Conway troubling the home defence early on. A fantastic nutmeg and cross from the winger just evaded the outstretched foot of Velikonja with the Hereford defence relieved to clear this dangerous ball at the second attempt.
The hosts could have opened the scoring themselves with six minutes gone. A well taken quick free kick gave former Luton Town forward Dan Walker a clear sight at goal wide on the Cardiff penalty area. The striker’s pacey cross/shot somehow going wide of the mark, missing a touch from a number of Hereford attackers and City defenders alike.
The first goal of the game came from arguably City development side’s stand out player of this pre-season campaign – Kadeem Harris. The former Wycombe Wanderers man received the ball wide on the left wing before using his incredible pace to shake of Bulls full back Danny Leadbitter and cut inside before unleashing a well struck right footed drive that gave Hereford ‘keeper Evans no chance of saving on eighteen minutes, a fifth goal of pre-season for Harris who will look to continue this vein of form into the new campaign.
GOAL! HEREFORD UNITED 0-1 CARDIFF CITY (Kadeem Harris, 18 mins)
Some fine counter attacking football from the hosts almost saw them equalise with twenty three minutes gone. The Bulls broke fast from a Cardiff corner with Walker again trying to beat Lewis from distance, the City keeper though was equal to the Hereford strikers well struck effort, saving well down low to his left.
Less than a minute after Walker’s shot, Martin Foyle’s men had an even clearer sight of goal with skipper Luke Graham give a guilt edged chance of equalising from within the penalty area. The ball landing at Graham’s feel following a Danny Pilkington corner, much to the anguish of the seven hundred home fans in attendance, their captains scuffed shot flew well wide of the mark.
City controlled the game throughout the first half and after Tommy O’Sullivans twenty yard strike drifted wide, they managed to score a second goal of the game through former Crewe Alexandra forward Nicky Maynard. The influential Kadeem Harris thought better of shooting from an acute angle on the left, instead playing the ball to Maynard within the Bulls penalty area. While midfielder Frankie Artus would have hoped his challenge would deny Maynard, the striker showed his eye for goal by retrieving the ball and firing in left footed from fifteen yards.
GOAL! HEREFORD UNITED 0-2 CARDIFF CITY (Nicky Maynard, 32 mins)
Kevin Cooper’s side should have gone in at the break with a three goal advantage following some fine work from Slovenian Etien Velikonja. The forward dispossessed Bulls centre half Rod McDonald brilliantly and sprinted clear with just Hereford keeper Evans to beat, the normally clinical forward will have been disappointed with his shot flying wide of the mark from just outside the penalty area.
HALF TIME: HEREFORD UNITED 0-2 CARDIFF CITY
The second half started in a similar way to the first, with City controlling the flow of the game and looking to add to their advantage at every occasion. Rhys Healey was introduced at half time in place of Nicky Maynard, the Cardiff goal-scorer being withdrawn as a preliminary caution on his return from a long term injury.
Two long distance Filip Kiss shots drifted wide of the mark for Cardiff in the halves opening moments. The dangerous Craig Conway went extremely close to adding to City’s lead on the hour mark after being played through on goal down the left side. The former Dundee United man pulling his right footed shot just wide of the mark.
Cooper’s team were put under pressure on a number of occasions in the second half with home side Hereford displaying a keen eye for goal. Dan Walker impressed for the Bulls throughout and his rasping drive from an acute angle was somehow pushed wide by Joe Lewis. Substitute Chris Sharp also tried to break the Bulls goal duct but his tame shot from the edge of the area was well held by the City keeper with Bulls legend Rob Purdie in acres of space on the left side. Introduced to the game on the hour mark, Purdie’s set pieces started to trouble Cardiff with Lewis and his defence having to be on full alert to clear the danger.
Kingsley James tried a speculative attempt from thirty yards that flew over the bar after seventy seven minutes with the home forwards struggling to find a way past Lewis. The City keeper was beaten though with three minutes left. Former AFC Telford United striker Sharp with a driven left footed volley from the edge of the penalty area that flew past the away keeper, but unfortunately for the hosts and Sharp, the shot couldn’t beat Lewis’ right post with the ball ricocheting to safety. Lewis was back in action in injury time to deny Michael Rankine, the towering forward running clear at goal only for the City keeper to push the ball to safety and deny the hosts a consolation goal.
FULL TIME: HEREFORD UNITED 0-2 CARDIFF CITY
Hereford United: Evans, Leadbitter, Bush, James, McDonald, Graham (Collins, 75), Walker, Smith (Sharp, 60), Rankine, Artus (O’Keefe, 65), Pilkington (Purdie, 60)
Cardiff City: Lewis, McNaughton, Lappin, Kiss, Calvet (Oshilaja, 80), Connolly, Harris, O’Sullivan (Wharton, 80), Velikonja, Maynard (Healey, 46), Conway