Cardiff City’s U18’s side fell to a late defeat to South Wales rivals Swansea in a topsy-turvy game at Cardiff International Sports Stadium on Valentine’s Day.
The Young Bluebirds lead 2-1 up until the last minute but goals from Liam Cullen and Kyle Copp meant the three points headed back down the M4.
After a goalless first-half the match burst into life 45 seconds into the second when Cullen opened the scoring with a powerful effort. City replied with goals from Ashley Baker and a scramble in the area which saw the ball squeeze past Swans ‘keeper Lewis Thomas, Eli Phipps with the final touch. The home side looked to be on course for a deserved victory but two late goals secured victory for the Swans.
It was a feisty opening to this Derby game and Jamie Veale’s heavy challenge on Dan James set the tone for the encounter.
Swansea had the first chance of the game as Joseph Rodon powered his header over from the game’s first corner.
City were restricted to long-range efforts early on with Lloyd Humphries volleying well wide before Eli Phipps shot straight at Thomas. However they didn’t have to wait long for their first real opportunity as first Phipps and then Ellis Bellamy missed an Abdi Noor’s cross.
The visitors had another chance on 22 minutes but Liam Cullen couldn’t turn home Stephen Fallon long distance half volley. Four minutes later City stopper Joe Massaro acrobatically pushed away Fallon’s teasing cross.
Winger Dan James was causing City all sorts of problem down the left as he continually found space. Firstly his angled shot was deflected behind then he flashed a ball across the face of the goal. He also fired over on 38 minutes after good build-up play from the away side.
4th placed Swansea then had the best chance of the game so far on 38 minutes. Liam Cullen fired wide from Aaron Lewis’ cross when he really should have scored.
Massaro was called into action twice before the half-time whistle, first to superbly save Fallon’s strike which looked destined for the top corner. He then had to keep his focus as he pushed away Lewis’ dipping effort.
HALF-TIME: CARDIFF CITY 0-0 SWANSEA CITY
Cardiff made a change with Elvis Menayese replacing Lloyd Humphries at the break. However it couldn’t prevent Swansea from taking the lead just 45 seconds after the restart. Liam Cullen blasted the ball past Massaro after an excellent cross field pass set James free out wide.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 0-1 SWANSEA CITY (Liam Cullen, 45)
Top scorer Eli Phipps had a golden opportunity to equalise but his close range shot was tipped onto the underside of the bar and Menayese couldn’t turn it home but he was flagged offside.
On 62 minutes, Massaro was beaten for a second time, but defender Ashley Baker was on hand to clear the ball off the line and keep the deficit to just one goal.
Baker was rewarded for his efforts with the equalising goal. He was on hand to turn Jamie Veale’s corner into the net at the back post.
GOAL!! CARDIFF CITY 1-1 SWANSEA CITY (Ashley Baker, 62)
Captain Robbie Patten led by example by expertly tackling Dan James just before he could get his shot away and keep the scores level.
3 minutes later City took the lead for the first time in the game in fortuitous circumstances. Menayese, influential since coming on, whipped a cross in and a goal-mouth scramble, led by Phipps, eventually led to the ball rolling over the line amid Swansea protests for a foul on ‘keeper Thomas.
GOAL!! CARDIFF CITY 2-1 SWANSEA CITY (Eli Phipps, 71)
Massaro was once again called upon to save low from James’ shot after he had cut inside.
It was a fast-paced end to this Derby and Swansea got back on level terms when Cullen grabbed his second of the game from eight yards out.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 2-2 SWANSEA CITY (Liam Cullen, 89)
Abdi Noor almost restored City’s advantage but he blazed a good opportunity over the crossbar. The young Bluebirds were made to pay for this chance as Kyle Copp stole victory in stoppage time as the Swans broke from a Cardiff attack. Copp was put through one-on-one and finished coolly past Massaro. It was a harsh end to the match for the young Bluebirds, who looked destined to come away with a deserved victory.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 2-3 SWANSEA CITY (Kyle Copp, 90+2)
FULL TIME: CARDIFF CITY 2-3 SWANSEA CITY
CARDIFF CITY: Massaro, Baker, Rees, Patten, Parry (Bird, 62), Williams, Bellamy, Veale, Phipps, Humphries (Menayese, 45), Noor. Subs Not Used: Burridge, Wakeman, Chappell-Smith.
SWANSEA CITY: Thomas, Lewis, Sherman, Latham (Maric, 72), Davies, Rodon, Fallon, Thomas, Cullen, Copp, James. Subs Not Used: Dyson, Griffiths, Gilchrist, Owens.