Cardiff City U18’s continued their unbeaten start to the 2015/16 season with a 3-1 win over Barnsley at the University of South Wales Sports Park on Saturday, 15th August.
Coaches Matthew Bloxham and Jarrad Harvey made a tactical switch to play five at the back with wing-backs in the form of Kieron Proctor and Mark Harris and this proved decisive in their victory. The Cardiff City squad for this match saw a mix of youth and experience with second year apprentices Luke Wakeman, Sam Williams, Rollin Menayese and Lloyd Humphries joined in the team by Sion Spence, Sam Bowen and Rabbi Matondo - three Bluebirds still eligible for the U15 squad.
Indeed it was the two wing-backs who combined to give Cardiff the first real chance on 13 minutes. Proctor cutting in from the left-wing to play Harris through with a defence-splitting pass but the City number 2 was denied on this occasion by Jack Walton in the Tykes goal.
The formational change also kept the home side solid at the back with Jack Alton having Barnsley’s only chance of the first-half which Luke Wakeman smartly saved.
After a quiet 20 minutes Cardiff had a flurry of chances during which they deservedly took the lead. Firstly Lewis Baldwin went close following a penalty-box scramble. Then Mark Harris’ low shot was saved after he skilfully cut inside. And then six minutes from the interval, the young Bluebirds took the lead when centre-back Rollin Menayese rose highest to head in a Lloyd Humphries corner kick.
Taking the initiative
After the break Cardiff took control of the game. Mark Harris dragged his shot wide, the wing-backs continuing to be a thorn in the side of Barnsley, before the future City stars doubled their advantage. The second goal coming in somewhat fortuitous circumstances as Humphries’ free-kick was deflected in to his own net by Walton.
The Yorkshire side then had their best spell of the game around 70 minutes. Winger Mohamed Saeed saw his powerful strike wonderfully saved by a flying Wakeman as City were caught on the break. Then they went one better and pulled a goal back when Tom Clare volleyed in after excellent build-up down the left-hand side.
The last ten minutes of this match proved to be eventful. Mark Harris scoring a superb solo goal, weaving his way past the Barnsley defence and burying the ball in to the goal. During his run he was clipped by Liam Reilly who received his marching orders for two bookable offences.
The Bluebirds maintained possession in the final few moments, ensuring a deserved victory at USW Sport Park.
U18 FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 3-1 BARNSLEY
Cardiff City: Wakeman, Harris, Proctor, Menayese ©, Baldwin, Young, Welsh, S.Williams (Spence), Matondo (C.Williams), Humphries (Bowen), So Sani. Subs Not Used: Coughlan.
Barnsley: Walton, Wardle, Reilly, Lund (Alderton), Jeffs ©, Hanna, Rowe (Bertie), Smith, Clare, Alton, Saeed (Swinburn) Subs Not Used: Murphy.