Cardiff City's U19 side finished the 2014/15 season as runners up of the FAW Youth Cup, with South Wales rivals Swansea City victorious, 3-1, at Cardiff City Stadium.
Cardiff progressed past Newport via penalties in the last round with Matthew Bloxham and Jarrad Harvey drafting in three U21’s players for this U19 cup final. Thomas James was brought in to partner Ashley Baker at the back whilst Tyler Roche and Macauley Southam were favoured in midfield.
South Wales rivals Swansea seemingly had an easy time of it in their semi-final defeating Bala Town 7-0. The Swans also decided to bring in experienced players with coaches Gary Richards and Cameron Toshack picking Connor Roberts in defence whilst Alex Samuel and Thomas Atyeo took a place on the bench.
Both sides were looking to make it nine wins in this competition, having each won the competition eight times previously. Swansea went into the match as reigning champions having beaten TNS in last year’s final. Cardiff meanwhile reached their first final since the 2007/08 season.
After the national anthem and routine handshakes, this cup final got off to a slow start for Cardiff City. Kyle Copp whipped in a delightful free-kick to the far-post which unmarked Captain Keston Davies headed past Joe Massaro in the Bluebirds goal after just 75 seconds. Cardiff had their own chance from a free-kick after 18 minutes but the angle was too tight for Tyler Roche to head on target after the initial header had been blocked.
A minute later they had an even better chance to level. Abdi Noor used his pace to cross towards Elvis Menayese. His header was blocked and Roche couldn’t quite force the rebound home. Menayese almost capitalised on a defensive slip moments later but he was unable to seize on Swans ‘keeper Lewis Thomas’ miskick which had ricocheted off Noor.
Cardiff had another chance through U21 winger Tyler Roche when he cut inside and his low drive stung the palms of Thomas. However their best chance came 10 minutes from the interval when Menayese broke the offside trap and latched onto Noor’s inch-perfect through ball. Unfortunately he hesitated and pulled his shot wide with the goal at his mercy.
Towards the end of the half the young Bluebirds were on top and starting to open their rivals up. Tyler Roche’s surging run and shot fell to Menayese, who turned the ball home, but he was again flagged for offside during the last meaningful action of the half.
The Bluebirds ended the first half superbly, but were soon punished for another slow start to the period. Stephen Fallon’s driving run caused problems for the City defence. He laid it off and whilst Massaro saved the initial effort he could do nothing to prevent Owain Jones from scoring a tap in at close range.
Things died down after these chances as Cardiff pushed to get themselves back in the game. Dylan Thomas shot well over before Jamie Bird replaced Macauley Southam in City’s first change. The substitute made an immediate impact driving inside and firing over.
Twenty minutes from time Menayese had another chance but he was thwarted by a terrific one-on-one save from Thomas, diving low at the feet of the Cardiff striker, after the ball had fallen to him inside the box.
Owain Jones got his second and Swansea’s third when he dribbled into the box. Cardiff backing off and the striker was able to squeeze the ball past Massaro and seemingly all but seal victory for his side.
In the 90th minute, Cardiff did pull a goal back when Eli Phipps stretched to poke home Tyler Roche’s low cross. However it proved to only be a consolation as Cardiff finished runners-up in the 2014/15 FAW Youth Cup.
FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 1-3 SWANSEA CITY (Phipps, 90; Davies, 2, O. Jones, 48, 74)
Cardiff City: Massaro (GK), Rees, Abbruzzese, Patten ©, Baker, James, Noor (Humphries, 86), Veale, E.Menayese (Phipps, 75), Southam (Bird, 64), Roche. Subs Not Used: Coughlan (GK), R.Menayese.
Swansea City: Thomas (GK), Lewis, Roberts, Maric, Davies ©, Rodon, Fallon (Samuel, 75), Thomas, Jones (Dyson, 83), Copp, James. Subs Not Used: Atyeo, Owens, Owen (GK)
Referee: Ashley Jones