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LATE PLAY-OFF FINAL HEARTACHE FOR 'CITY

11 May 2013

Two late extra time goals for Charlton helped the London side to victory over City’s young development squad on Saturday, with a 3-1 final score in the Professional Development League Two final.


Snapshot:A stellar crowd at Cardiff City Stadium saw ‘City take on Charlton Athletic in the Professional Development League Two final. The away side came flying out of the blocks and with less than a minute on the clock were ahead - former Newport County loanee Michael Smith fully capitalising on a defensive mix up between Ben Nugent and Deji Oshilaja to fire the Addicks ahead.


Despite this early set back, Kevin Cooper’s side soon began showcasing their professionalism and determination, illustrated as a Joe Ralls corner on fourteen minutes was brilliantly diverted into the back of the net by Filip Kiss to level the tie.


It was a tight game with both teams exhibiting their composure and skill on the ball; and following some fantastic City defending and Elliott Parish goalkeeping, the game was level after ninety minutes – a first for City’s development side this term.


It took until the twenty fifth minute of extra time for the games third goal, with Charlton top scorer Joe Pigott striking the crucial blow on the volley from five yards out. The Addicks then made sure their name was on the PDL2 trophy for this season a minute later when substitute Ade Azeez beat the offside trap to poke the ball past Parish.


Although the City youngsters will have been disappointed not to finish their season with a trophy, Cooper’s men will look to push on next year with the thirteen of their match day squad still within the correct age bracket to play development football again. 


Chronological Report:City began their final game of the campaign with the same squad that defeated Leicester City in their play-off game at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday. Semi-final hero Deji Oshilaja continued at centre half alongside Championship medal-winning Ben Nugent, while Josh Yorwerth again deputised for the injured Luke Coulson at right back.


It was a mix up in City’s defence that lead to the game’s opening chance with just over fifteen seconds on the clock. The experienced Nugent and Oshilaja collided just outside the penalty area to give Charlton striker Michael Smith a free run at goal. The forward, who has recently spent time with promoted Welsh side Newport County made no mistake in curling the ball low past Elliott Parish and into the bottom left corner. It was an incredible start to the Professional Development League Two’s final game.


GOAL! CARDIFF CITY 0-1 CHARLTON ATHLETIC (Michael Smith, 1 mins)


Kevin Cooper’s men didn’t let this early goal distract them from what was a clearly set out game plan to control the game against their dangerous London opponents. A goalkeeping slip from Charlton keeper Nick Pope almost gave City a leveller after four minutes. The pace and skill of full back Declan John troubled the away defence and the seventeen year old defender unleashed a powerful shot that Pope failed to hold at the first attempt. The ball bouncing out of Pope’s hands and towards the goal line, the former Bury Town keeper was extremely fortuitous that the opportunity came with no City forwards around him, with Pope just managing to dive on the ball before it slipped over the line.


Following this John chance, City continued to pressure the Charlton goal and Joe Ralls put the ball in the back of net on seven minutes. The goal was however ruled out with defender Nugent adjudged to have fouled his marker in the build-up. The former Farnborough midfielder was heavily involved in City’s attacking play in the afternoon and it was an exquisite cross from Ralls that nearly fell perfectly for former Connah’s Quay forward Rhys Healey. The Charlton defence covering the chance well, clearing the ball away from Healey’s outstretched boot for a corner.


It was this corner though that did lead to the games second goal. Ralls involved again as his left footed corner from the right side bobbled around in the box before Slovakian midfielder Filip Kiss turned on the volley and fired the ball into the top corner to the delight of the watching Cardiff fans.


GOAL! CARDIFF CITY 1-1 CHARLTON ATHLETIC (Filip Kiss, 14 mins)


The focal point of the first half was the battle between the two team’s midfields. Charlton’s goal-scoring hero Bradley Jordan looked to be occupying a deeper role against City while Diego Poyet looked to pull the strings for the Addicks in a similar fashion to the way his father used to play for Chelsea while Ralls and Kiss were joined in the Cardiff midfield by Academy maestro Theo Wharton. The lengthy contest between these two sets of players somewhat restricted the game to long shots for the majority of the opening period.


Roaming Charlton full back Morgan Fox was the next man to try a shot at goal on thirty one minutes, with the left sided players shot sailing well over Parish’s crossbar. City’s own roaming full back Merthyr-born John’s darting run and shot on thirty seven minutes earned his side a corner before a similar opportunity came for the same man two minutes later with John’s shot going over the crossbar this time.


HALF TIME: CARDIFF CITY 1-1 CHARLTON ATHLETIC


The away team again started off the half as the stronger side and top scorer Joe Pigott’s shot from the right side of the penalty area was well held by Parrish. A similar chance fell to Callum Harriott, with Parish again coming to City’s rescue to deny Harriott’s rasping drive.


Wales U21 international Wharton broke through down the left side for City, with his deflected cross on sixty seven minutes really troubling Pope in the Addicks goal following some incredible build-up play. Kevin 


Cooper’s side showing fantastic composure and control while on the ball and Wharton’s cross was held by Pope at the second attempt.


Charlton goal-scorer Smith very nearly added a second goal of the game on seventy three minutes. The forward broke into space but his deflected shot was again pushed away by the impressive Parish. City again had their on-form goalkeeper to thank with five minutes remaining as the dangerous Pigott broke free in the box after beating Oshilaja. The strikers curling effort towards goal from ten yards out was beautifully tipped around the post by Parish to safety. The forward very nearly scored a last minute header to seal the win for Charlton, only for the former Aston Villa keeper to deny him a further time, Parish pushing Pigott’s looping header over the bar moments before the referees full time whistle.


END OF NORMAL TIME: CARDIFF CITY 1-1 CHARLTON ATHLETIC


The first opportunity in extra time fell to City’s former Wycombe Wanderers man Kadeem Harris, the speedy young winger beat his marker down the left side before curling the ball towards goal with his right boot. Harris unable to add to the goal he scored against Barnet in the regular season’s final game, with the ball curling high over the crossbar.


While neither side showed any hesitation in shooting during the first added on fifteen minutes. The was a distinct lack of work for both goalkeepers to do with Harriott for Charlton firing the ball well over before Ralls did exactly the same thing for City on ninety six minutes. It was the combination of Oshilaja and Yorwerth that stopped Harriott from breaking through on ninety seven minutes with the experienced forward being replaced by Ade Azeez just after the hundred minute mark following a yellow card.


Substitution CHARLTON ATHLETIC: Ade Azeez replaces Callum Harriott (101 mins)


Welsh Premier League forward Healey’s deflected shot on the one hundred and five minute mark was well held by Pope to keep the scores level.


EXTRA TIME - HALF TIME: CARDIFF CITY 1-1 CHARLTON ATHLETIC


The end-to-end game continued after the break with both sides searching for the crucial third goal of the game that could not only finish the encounter but also win them the Professional Development League Two trophy. Wharton’s low drive was deflected wide for City while Parish was again performing heroics, denying substitute Azeez down low at his near post from fifteen yards out.


The game’s third goal finally came on the hundred and twenty five minute mark with Addicks danger man Pigott finally finding a way past keeper Parish. The forward met the ball beautifully before lashing the ball past the City keeper from five yards out on the volley.


GOAL! CARDIFF CITY 1-2 CHARLTON ATHLETIC (Joe Pigott, 115 mins)


Substitution CHARLTON ATHLETIC: Harry Lennon replaces Harry Osborne (126 mins)


Any hope of a City rally in the final five minutes was somewhat put to rest when substitute forward Azeez broke clear of the fatigued Cardiff defence and after beating Oshilaja the young man’s shot trickled past Parish and into the back of the net to give his side a two goal cushion.


GOAL! CARDIFF CITY 1-3 CHARLTON ATHLETIC (Ade Azeez, 116 mins)


Substitution CARDIFF CITY: Jesse Darko replaces Theo Wharton (117 mins)


Although Charlton pushed for more goals in the final few moments against a clearly physically and mentally tired City side, the determination and will of Cooper’s side denied them another goal. Oshilaja with a last ditch challenge in the hundred and eighteenth minute to frustrate Azeez while Parish got down low to stop the former Leyton Orient loanee again on the final whistle in a one-on-one situation. It was a hard fought final between two teams who worked as hard as they could over the hundred and twenty minutes with both sides fully deserving of their place in the final.


FULL TIME: CARDIFF CITY 1-3 CHARLTON ATHLETIC


Congratulations to Charlton Athletic’s development side, Professional Development League Two champions 2012/13.


Cardiff City: Richards (GK), Owen, O’Sullivan, BellSubs Not Used:Parish, Yorwerth, John, Nugent, Oshilaja, Kiss, Wharton (Darko, 127), Ralls, Velikonja, Healey, Harris.


Charlton Athletic: Phillips (GK), Sho-Silva, Holmes-Dennis.Subs Not Used:Pope, Osborne (Lennon, 126), Fox, Ajayi, Feely, Jordan, Cousins, Poyet, Pigott, Harriott (Azeez, 101), Smith.


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