City’s development side continued their resurgent away form with a fine 2-1 win over Millwall at the New Den.
A first away win of the campaign came for Kevin Cooper’s side in their visit to South Wales rivals Swansea City in their last game out and an early Etien Velikonja goal helped to ease any nerves on their trip to the English capital. Some nice build up play between Joe Ralls and Rhys Healey, with the former Farnborough midfielder releasing Velikonja with just two minutes on the clock and the striker showed a clinical edge in poking the ball home.
While City dominated the encounter, it took them seventy two minutes to grab a crucial second goal. Former Welsh Premier League striker Healey released full-back Luke Coulson down the right hand side and with Slovenian forward Velikonja awaiting the ball, Coulson tricked the Millwall defence and goalkeeper Wellham by firing in at the near post.
This second goal didn’t kill off the home side and they pulled a goal back just three minutes later. Fred Onyedinma showed real determination in beating the City defence and poking the ball underneath Elliott Parish to give the Lions hope of a point. This goal was just to be a consolation for the home side as City re-assumed their control of the game to see out a hard fought win.
Cardiff started the game in a determined manner, putting the home side on the back foot from the off. Former Gap Connah’s Quay striker Rhys Healey was the first to try his luck, but home ‘keeper Tom Wellham held his shot.
City weren’t to be denied and they opened the scoring after just two minutes with Healey playing a crucial part in the game’s first goal. Healey nodded the ball down in the centre of midfield to the feet of Joe Ralls, and the left footer hit a perfectly delicate pass through the Millwall defence and onto the run of Slovenian International Etien Velikonja, the forward nonchalantly poked the ball past Wellham to give his side an early advantage.
GOAL! MILLWALL DVP 0-1 CARDIFF CITY DVP (Etien Velikonja, 2 mins)
Despite the display of experienced defensive midfielder Tamika Mkandawire, the away side’s dominant start to the game continued after their first goal and they went close to increasing the lead through Healey, Ralls and Adedeji Oshilaja. A somewhat awkward team move nearly gave Cooper’s side a second goal just before the half hour mark. A scuffed pass in the middle of the pitch from Velikonja ended up at the feet of ‘keeper Elliot Parish, whose clearance again scuffed onto the head of Oshilaja. The centre-back's header ended up at the feet of Kadeem Harris and the winger sprinted forward through the middle of the park before playing in Ralls. The central midfielder then attempted curling the ball past Wellham, but the keeper saved well to deny City an incredible goal.
Moments later the away side had a goal disallowed by referee John Pike. The impressive Healey was judged to have moved slightly early before slipping the ball into the back of the net from the left hand side of the box. Millwall nearly managed to score a fine equaliser before the break when Jack Sammoutis crossed for Fred Onyedinma at the back post only for the winger to bundle the ball wide of Parish’s post.
HALF TIME: MILLWALL DVP 0-1 CARDIFF CITY DVP
The second half began with City edging towards a second goal, and the combination of Velikonja and Harris nearly gave them the opening they needed. A cross/shot from Harris was inches away from being poked into the back of the net by Healey. Harris himself nearly got on the score-sheet from an obscure angle on the hour mark. The former Wycombe Wanderers man struck the ball from the wide on the left with his right foot that had Wellham scrambling to tip over the bar.
A fantastic slide tackle from Josh Yorwerth on seventy minutes proved crucial for City when they scored a second goal four minutes later. Etien Velikonja passed the ball through to Healey on the right hand side and the forward released the over-lapping Luke Coulson who managed to fire the ball through the ‘keepers inside post to give City a two goal advantage.
GOAL! MILLWALL DVP 0-2 CARDIFF CITY DVP (Luke Coulson, 74 mins)
Cardiff’s lead though was halved just three minutes later when Fred Onyedinma managed to breach the away defence for the first time and slip the ball underneath Elliot Parish to give the Lions real hope of gaining something from a game they had struggled to gain a foothold in.
GOAL! MILLWALL DVP 1-2 CARDIFF CITY DVP (Fred Onyedinma, 77 mins)
Cooper’s men managed to pick themselves up and regain composure after the home side’s goal and it was the away side who looked most likely to score a fourth goal of the game. Winger Harris again attempted to score from an acute angle before Velikonja threatened to score again, this time from distance, only to be denied by Wellham.
The Welsh capital’s side saw out a fine team performance in the final minutes to take all three points from London.
FULL TIME: MILLWALL DVP 1-2 CARDIFF CITY DVP
Cardiff City: Parish, Coulson, Owen, Oshilaja, Yorwerth, Ralls, Kiss, McPhail, Harris, Healey, Velikonja. Subs Not Used: Matthews (GK), Bowen, Bell, Wharton, O’Sullivan.