The Professional Development League system is in its first year of operation after being brought in to replace the Premier Reserve League and the Academy League. The system covers the under-17 to under-21 age groups. There are three different Professional Development Leagues in each age-group level with an assessment of the club's academy deciding which League they will be placed in.
Within the development league, clubs are allowed to play three players over the age of twenty one. Cardiff City U21 coach Kevin Cooper started with Israeli international Dekel Keinan and Elliot Parish on Wednesday, as well as many promising youngsters.
In fact, seven of the players that began against the Seagulls at Cardiff City Stadium played for the first team in the Capital One Cup tie against Northampton Town the previous Tuesday. Amongst those starting for Brighton were Roland Bergkamp, nephew of Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp, Anton Rodgers who is the son of Liverpool manager Brendan and Charlie Oatway, a name that some Cardiff fans will remember as Charlie's father who has the same name played for the Bluebirds in the early 90s.
Kadeem Harris began the game on the left side for the Bluebirds and caused the away side a lot of trouble. Harris probably should have opened the scoring for City early in the half, but headed the ball wide when he had a clear sight of goal. Harris though made up for this miss by earning the home side a penalty on thirty-seven minutes after being brought down in the box by Manuel. Jesse Darko stepped up and made no mistake from the penalty spot to give City the lead.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 1-0 BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION (Darko, 37 mins)
HALF TIME: CARDIFF CITY 1-0 BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION
Kadeem Harris was replaced on 59 minutes by Gethyn Hill. Both sides U18s played the same fixture on Saturday morning, with the Seagulls coming out on top in that fixture with a 2-1 win. Hill actually scored a penalty for the Bluebirds in that game and after impressing he earned a place on the bench and half an hour of game time in the Development Side fixture.
After controlling the majority of the game, the young Bluebirds were nearly gifted a second when Brighton defender Glenn Rea headed the ball against his own crossbar after a Kevin Sainte-Luce cross. The home side though were not to be denied as they scored a superb second goal a few minutes later.
Gethyn Hill picked the ball up in the middle of the pitch and fired home a superb 30 yard drive with his right foot and over the head of Brighton keeper Dan East and into the back of the net. A second goal for Hill against Brighton & Hove Albion academy sides in five days - and this time a goal that will rival any scored at Cardiff City Stadium this season.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 2-0 BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION (Hill, 88 mins)
The match though wasn't quite finished there as Brighton skipper George Barker grabbed a consolation for the away side in injury time. Barker cut in from the left and fired low past Parish, this happening just a few moments after Dekel Keinan for Cardiff had had a header disallowed for offside. This though was only a consolation as the referee blew for full time soon after. It was a controlled and composed performance from Kevin Cooper's side and a deserved three points.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 2-1 BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION (Barker, 90 mins)
FULL TIME: CARDIFF CITY 2-1 BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION
Cardiff City DEV: Parish, Oshilaja, Keinan, Nugent (C), John, Sainte-Luce, Wharton, O'Sullivan (Bowen, 82), Harris (Hill, 59), Jarvis, Darko (Owen, 82) Subs not used: Matthews.