Cardiff City’s U18’s came from a goal behind to defeat Crystal Palace 2-1 in the first of two games in two days.
Substitute Jamie Bird scored a late winner in a hard-fought game at the Cardiff International Sports Stadium after Eli Phipps had cancelled out Michael Phillips’ penalty for Palace early in the second-half.
City now have the chance to make it two wins in as many days as they travel to Cambrian and Clydach FC in the second round of the FAW Youth Cup on Sunday afternoon.
City started brightly in the opening couple of minutes with plenty of pressure and possession but couldn’t turn this into chances. Palace meanwhile looked dangerous on the counter-attack especially through the lively Corie Andrews, who created the first real opening when he got behind the Cardiff defence, but his cross from the by-line was tame.
Palace then had an even better chance two minutes later but were denied a certain goal by a Cameron Coxe block who then injured himself in the process.
The hosts had their first chances through forward Jake Watkins, whose shot flashed across the face of goal, only needing a touch from a City player to turn it home. Watkins went closer still when he cut inside, beat two men, but fired his shot straight at ‘keeper Oliver Pain.
Then came the talking point of the first-half, a long ball forward saw Andrews through one-on-one but there was a coming together between him and onrushing City ‘keeper Luke Wakeman. The challenge left Andrews in a heap on the floor and the referee decided to give the foul Cardiff’s way.
Jamie Veale then came closest when his curling shot hit the bar from 30 yards on 34 minutes. City then had a penalty shout of their own when they thought defender Christian Scales handled inside the area, but protests for a spot kick once again fell on deaf ears. Just before the break Tom Pearson headed Watkins’ cross just wide, with the match still goal-less going in at the break.
HALF TIME: CARDIFF CITY 0-0 CRYSTAL PALACE
It was an action packed start to the second half with Palace taking the lead two minutes in. Jake Watkins brought down his man in the box after a quick free-kick by the visiting team and Michael Phillips stepped up to put his side ahead.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 0-1 CRYSTAL PALACE (Michael Phillips, 47 mins)
City didn’t have to wait long for the equaliser, Eli Phipps continued his fine form this season, smashing the ball home after good work by Jamie Veale and it was all square again after just five minutes.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 1-1 CRYSTAL PALACE (Eli Phipps, 52 mins)
The game then opened up following these quick goals. Palace substitute Jaydon Thorborn’s strike was blocked whilst City full-back Rhys Abbruzzese fired over after running from halfway.
The away side then thought they had taken the lead again but Andrews’ finish was ruled out for offside.
Jamie Bird, on for goalscorer Eli Phipps, shot over from a tight angle and Andrews pulled his shot wide before City found what turned out to be the eventual winner. Rhys Abbruzzese curled a fine cross into the box which Bird gratefully volleyed in to give Cardiff City the lead for the first time in the match.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 2-1 CRYSTAL PALACE (Jamie Bird, 82 mins)
The young Bluebirds were able to survive the last eight minutes, but on Halloween week, it wasn’t without its scary moments. Kiye Martin hit the side-netting and Wakeman saved superbly from Andrews’ volley to give City the win. It was a good performance by our U18 side who showed real character to fight back from a goal down.
FULL TIME: CARDIFF CITY 2-1 CRYSTAL PALACE
Cardiff City: Wakeman, Coxe, Abbruzzese, Patten ©, Menayese, Baker, Watkins, Burridge, Phipps (Bird ’55), Veale (Humphries ’72), Pearson. Subs not used: William, Taylor, Lavery.
Crystal Palace: Pain, Hogan (Thorborn ’56), George (Akiotu ’72), Hoare, Howlett-Mundle, Scales, List (Coker ’62), Martin, Andrews, Berkeley ©, Phillips. Subs not used: Comins, Mohammed.