Cardiff City’s U21 development side returned from the English Capital City triumphant on Monday evening after defeating Millwall 2-1 in a battling encounter at Dartford FC.
The Bluebirds fell behind on 62 minutes, as John Marquis strike evaded the dive of City shot stopper Ben Wilson via a deflection. Nilton Terroso’s valiant side were level within a minute, with Jazzi Barnum-Bobb cutting the ball back from the bye-line for forward Danny Johnson to fire under Tom King in the Lions goal.
While the challenges flew in, City maintained their composure and took the lead for the first time on 76 minutes, Gethyn Hill’s flicked header forced Lions defender Sid Nelson to react with the towering number five slipping leaving Danny Johnson with a clear sight of goal. Johnson’s initial shot was saved well by King, the forward though making sure with a powerful second shot.
City DVP are currently two points behind PDL2 South leaders Swansea City, with three games in hand.
Nilton Terroso's travelling Bluebirds side had a youthful look about it, with goalkeeper Ben Wilson and Austrian midfielder Guido Burgstaller the only two overage Cardiff City players.
A tight match from the opening whistle, Cardiff had the first real opportunity of the match ten minutes in as the ball ricocheted off Burgstaller into the path of Danny Johnson. The Middlesbrough-born striker hasn't long returned to the Welsh capital following a loan spell with Tranmere Rovers, and has continued his goal-scoring exploits in recent weeks but his shot was well saved by Tom King in the Lions goal on this occasion.
Cardiff continued to threaten the hosts early on, Thomas James with a superbly struck set piece from 35 yards forced King into action once more, the rebound eventually headed just over the crossbar by Johnson after 14 minutes.
James made his mark again within a minute, this time in a defensive situation, blocking Kyron Farrell's rasping effort which looked destined for the back of the net.
Young Lions forward John Marquis has also been involved in first team football recently during a loan spell with Cheltenham Town, and the attacker headed wide of goal for Millwall on 18 minutes. Fellow front man Alfie Pavey almost made Cardiff pay during a swift counter attack on 24 minutes, with Ben Wilson performing a five diving save low to his left.
The home side continued this strong spell of possession, and would have taken the lead going in at the interval but for Cardiff skipper Tommy O'Sullivan. The young playmaker led by example to fire clear off the goal-line with keeper Wilson beaten with half time on the horizon.
HALF TIME: MILLWALL 0-0 CARDIFF CITY
Experienced Austrian midfielder Guido Burgstaller had the first shot at goal four minutes into second half, with King once again alert to the Bluebirds threat.
A positive December for winger Kadeem Harris as he pledged his future to Cardiff until 2017, signing a new contract. The skillful London-born man almost celebrated with a second goal in two games after 56 minutes with a curling effort from 20 yards but King once again proving a hard man to beat.
This U21 development match seemed to come to life in the second half, with both teams showing desire and battle, which eventually brought about in a number of tough challenges.
Substitution - Millwall: Kyron Farrell replaced by Kris Twardek (61 mins)
Neil Harris' Lions broke the deadlock just after the hour mark in somewhat against the run of play. Aiden O'Brien's deft pass evaded the outstretched leg of Brad Wickham, with Marquis striking the ball past Wilson from just inside the penalty area via a minor deflection.
GOAL! MILLWALL 1-0 CARDIFF CITY (John Marquis, 62 mins)
Terroso's side didn't let this set back deter them, and managed to force a leveler within a minute of going behind. Neat work from midfielders Theo Wharton and Macauley Southam aided the City cause, with Southam finding the run of full-back Jazzi Barnum-Bobb down the right. Barnum-Bobb cut the ball back from the bye-line superbly into the path of forward Johnson who stroked the ball into the back of the net with his right foot, beyond the reach of King.
GOAL! MILLWALL 1-1 CARDIFF CITY (Daniel Johnson, 63 mins)
Wharton was involved as City looked to take the lead on 71 minutes, finding Harris with a defence-splitting pass. Kadeem's shot from an acute angle tested King, but the goalkeeper managed to keep the ball out.
Double Substitution - Cardiff City: Guido Burgstaller and Macauley Southam replaced by Gethyn Hill and Tyler Roche (72 mins)
Substitute Gethyn Hill was soon involved as Cardiff took the lead for the first time with just quarter of an hour remaining. Keeper Wilson's long clearance was met by Hill, nodding the ball towards goal. Defender Sid Nelson and forward Danny Johnson enjoyed a battle throughout the match, and Nelson will have wanted to forget his slip with Johnson's first effort well saved, before he composedly struck home the rebound.
GOAL! MILLWALL 1-2 CARDIFF CITY (Daniel Johnson, 75 mins)
Kadeem Harris continued his strong showing, and could have scored twice inside a minute with two long range shots, one with his left and a second with his right foot. The Lions tried to find a way back into the match, but Ben Thompson's shot from 25 yards went well wide of goal with just four minutes remaining.
Theo Wharton could have added a little gloss to the result late on with a low effort from outside the box, the ball drifting inches wide of goal. While this third goal wasn't meant to be, it was a strong showing from Terroso's side in hard conditions to seal victory.
FULL TIME: MILLWALL 1-2 CARDIFF CITY
Millwall FC: King, Siafa, Casey, Thompson, Nelson, Wood, Webb, Farrell (Twardek, 61), Marquis, Pavey, O'Brien. Subs Not Used: Girling, Rylah, Philpot, Peter.
Cardiff City FC: Wilson, Barnum-Bobb, John, James, Wickham, Wharton, Harris, Southam (Roche, 72), Johnson, O’Sullivan, Burgstaller (Hill, 72). Subs Not Used: Horton, B Watkins, Bowen.