City’s Development side succumbed to their first defeat since December on Monday, with a 4-0 loss to Charlton Athletic.
The physically imposing home side took the lead on thirty-nine minutes when towering forward Michael Smith managed to toe poke the ball past City keeper Elliot Parish after the goalie had previously managed to push away a shot from Joe Pigott.
The final result could have been very different if Kadeem Harris’ low drive early in the second half had found the bottom corner, though the winger's right footed drive from twenty yards skipped across the surface and just wide of Nick Pope’s right hand post.
The Addicks took a two goal lead with their next opportunity. Forward Callum Harriott showed real composure and skill in beating three City players before unleashing an unstoppable drive that flew past Parish and into the back of the net off the inside of the post.
A penalty for the home side gave them a three goal lead on seventy-four minutes, with referee Andrew Dine deeming Smith was brought down in the penalty area. The Charlton target-man stepped up and sent Parish the wrong way for his second goal of the game.
The final goal of the game came with just two minute remaining. Parish firstly performed heroics to keep the ball out after a dangerous Charlton corner, only for the next corner to land perfectly on the head of Kevin Feely whose low header found the back of the City net.
City made three changes from the side that defeated severnside rivals Bristol City at Cardiff City Stadium the previous week, Josh Yorwerth coming into the team to replace Ben Nugent who played the full ninety minutes against the Robins' first team on Saturday. Theo Wharton and Tommy O’Sullivan also came into the starting eleven for Kevin Cooper’s men, while new signing Rhys Healey began the game on the substitutes bench, the forward looking for his first involvement in a development game since signing from Gap Connah’s Quay in January.
In a highly competitive game from the start, it was the away side who managed to get the first shot of real note on sixteen minutes. Creative midfielder Joe Ralls took a well taken free kick to set the ball for Slovenian International Etien Velikonja on the edge of the penalty area, the forward with a left footed curling drive that was extremely well held by Addicks keeper Nick Pope.
The physical presence of Charlton strikers Michael Smith and Joe Pigott started to take effect and a Pigott pass to Smith probably should have lead to the Newcastle-born forward giving the home side the lead on twenty minutes. Smith received the ball five yards out of goal but wide to the left and he couldn’t get the ball out of his feet enough to curl the ball into the back of the net, his shot going into the side netting.
Impressive City full back Luke Coulson was causing the home side issues with curling crosses from the right hand side, but it was his striking ability that almost opened the scoring on twenty one minutes. A thirty yard strike from Coulson had Charlton keeper Pope scrambling to push the ball over the bar.
The strong Addicks strike partnership soon forced their way through again and this time they managed to hit the back of the net. Pigott’s strike was well pushed away by Elliot Parish, only for Smith to react first and poke the ball past the City keeper to open the scoring going into the break.
GOAL! Charlton Athletic DVP 1-0 Cardiff City DVP (Michael Smith, 39 mins)
HALF TIME: CHARLTON ATHLETIC DVP 1-0 CARDIFF CITY DVP
The second half began in a similar manner to the first, with both sides attacking and playing flowing football. City’s best chance of the game up to that point came with four minutes of the second half gone. Wales U17 International O’Sullivan received the ball twenty yards from goal and set it perfectly for Kadeem Harris to strike. The former Wycombe winger struck the ball low towards Pope’s bottom right hand corner, but his attempt slipped just wide.
Despite City continuing to pressure the home goal in the search of the all important equaliser, it was Charlton who managed to grab the crucial second goal of the game. Tricky forward Callum Harriott managed to beat three Cardiff players before unleashing a fine left foot shot from the edge of the area that managed to beat Parish and hit the back of the net with help from the inside of the post on sixty eight minutes.
GOAL! Charlton Athletic DVP 2-0 Cardiff City DVP (Callum Harriott, 68 mins)
Substitution Cardiff City DVP: Jesse Darko replaces Tommy O’Sullivan (71 mins)
After scoring a fine second goal the home side took full control of the game and managed to score a third from the penalty spot after seventy four minutes. Towering forward Smith picked himself up after being brought down in the penalty area and sent Parish the wrong way with his spot kick to all but confirm the win for the Addicks.
GOAL! Charlton Athletic DVP 3-0 Cardiff City DVP (Michael Smith, 74 mins, pen)
Substitution Cardiff City DVP: Rhys Healey replaces Kadeem Harris (88 mins)
Despite the three goal deficit the away side continued searching for a consolation, but when the fourth goal did come it was another for Nathan Jones’ team. Strong centre back Kevin Feely’s downward header from a corner kick putting the gloss on Charlton’s fine performance and condemn City to a first league loss since December 3rd.
GOAL! Charlton Athletic DVP 4-0 Cardiff City DVP (Kevin Feely, 88 mins)
FULL TIME: CHARLTON ATHLETIC DVP 4-0 CARDIFF CITY DVP
City’s development team’s first opportunity to bounce back from this defeat will come against South Wales rivals Swansea City on Tuesday 26th February. Kickoff at Stebonheath Park in Llanelli is at 7pm.
Cardiff City DVP: Parish, Coulson, John, Oshilaja, Yorwerth, Kiss, Wharton, Ralls, Velikonja, O’Sullivan (Darko), Harris (Healey). Subs Not Used: Richards (GK), C Watkins, Williams.