Cardiff City's Development side got back to winning ways at Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday night with a 2-0 win over Charlton Athletic.
After a goalless first half, Michael Smith and Bradley Jordan hit the post for the away side soon after the restart.
But the first goal of the game came on fifty-nine minutes as Craig Conway finished a beautifully worked move. Declan John played the ball down the left for the Scot to run onto and he lightly chipped the ball into the top right hand corner of the goal.
Conway repaid the incredible ball and assisted John in a goal of his own just five minutes later. The Scottish International played the ball down the left for John who, instead of following his team mate's footsteps and chipping the ball, drove it powerfully past Charlton 'keeper John Sullivan.
The experienced faces of Joe Mason, Rudy Gestede, Ben Turner, Craig Conway and Joe Lewis all started for City's Development side. Both Gestede and Turner were returning from injuries, while Joe Lewis was introduced in goal after Elliot Parish's emergency short-term loan to Wycombe Wanderers.
The game began with an early chance for the Bluebirds. Captain Ben Nugent, Gestede and Mason combined to play the ball out to Craig Conway who started the game on the left wing. The Scotland International then glided with the ball past three away defenders before unleashing a great shot from just outside the penalty area that was well saved by John Sullivan.
The combination of Conway, Mason and Gestede continued to cause Charlton trouble with Joe Mason this time getting a shot away that looked destined for the back of the net only to be deflected wide for a corner.
The away side though were dangerous on the attack themselves with former Bristol City striker Danny Haynes leading the forward line. Spanish midfielder Ruben Bover delivered a great ball into the box for Michael Smith, only for Declan John to intercept before the forward could shoot. John not only stopped a clear opportunity for the away side but he played the ball off Smith for a goal kick.
It was another Bover delivery that nearly gave the Addicks the lead; this time he played Haynes through on goal, only for Nugent this time to perform a miracle tackle and stop the striker from scoring. Haynes had an even better opportunity to give Charlton the lead just minutes later, but his low volley from ten yards was incredibly well saved from Joe Lewis.
It was the home side that had the next chance to take the lead with Conway, Gestede and Mason really linking up well. Mason played the ball out to Conway on the left and his cross was volleyed by Gestede towards goal only for a combination of Sullivan and his defence to clear the ball for a corner.
The best chance of the first half fell to the away side on thirty five minutes when Michael Smith hit the post from the edge of the penalty area. A low, rasping drive from Smith beat Lewis but couldn't find the back of the net as the ball cannoned off the bottom of the post and clear.
HALF TIME: CARDIFF CITY 0-0 CHARLTON ATHLETIC
Substitution Cardiff: Darko on for Gestede (45 mins)
The Addicks started the second half strongly and again almost opened the scoring only for the post to defy them. This time it was Bradley Jordan who struck the ball low to Lewis' left and the woodwork again saved Cardiff from going behind, the away side were soon made to pay for their missed opportunities as the Bluebirds took the lead on fifty nine minutes.
Declan John has impressed for the Development side this season from the left back position, at the age of just seventeen his pace and distribution has been fantastic in the previous games. This was no different against Charlton as he played a fantastic through ball down the left for Craig Conway to run onto; Conway then ran with the ball to the by-line and dinked it into the top right hand corner of Sullivan's net.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 1-0 CHARLTON ATHLETIC (Conway, 59 mins)
It was the brilliant team work of Conway and John that also gave Cardiff their second goal on sixty four minutes. Conway repaid John with a fantastic through ball of his own, picking the ball up in the centre and releasing John down the left wing. Declan then did the rest himself with the defender running forward and firing an unstoppable shot past Sullivan from just inside the penalty area.
Substitution Cardiff: Sainte-Luce and Bowen on for Turner and Mason (60 mins)
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 2-0 CHARLTON ATHLETIC (John, 64 mins)
Charlton hit the post for the third time late in the second half with substitute Joe Piggott firing against the woodwork when clear in the box. Another good chance for the away side to score that came back off the post.
The impressive Craig Conway almost added to his goal with four minutes remaining. The winger stung the finger tips of John Sullivan from a free kick that the keeper had to tip over. That was the final real attempt either side had on goal with a hard fought win for the Bluebirds.
FULL TIME: CARDIFF CITY U21 2-0 CHARLTON ATHLETIC U21
Cardiff City Development Side vs Charlton: Lewis, Oshilaja, John, Wharton, Nugent, Turner (Bowen, 60), Jarvis, Ralls, Gestede (Darko, 45), Mason (Sainte-Luce, 60), Conway. Subs not used: Owen, Matthews.
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