Cardiff City's U18 side bowed out of the FA Youth Cup, with Liverpool progressing to face Nottingham Forest in the Fifth Round following a tight match at Tranmere Rovers' Prenton Park.
The home side began strongly in this tie, but the weren't given an inch of space by the Bluebirds side throughout the opening quarter-of-an-hour. City looked to break in behind their opponents, with Aidan Chappell-Smith ruled offside as he bared down on goal after 14 minutes.
It was the English giants who took the lead, three minutes later. Ben Woodburn breaking in behind the Cardiff defence to lob the ball over City 'keeper Luke Wakeman. Referee Peter Gibbons ruled the ball had crossed the line, after Wakeman had recovered to clear Woodburn's effort before the net could bulge.
This goal didn't change the mentality of the Cardiff City youth team, with their best chance of the first half coming ten minutes later. Mark Harris showcased his pace and close control to beat his defender before playing a superb reverse ball through to Chappell-Smith. The young City forward's shot blocked by the Liverpool defence as he looked destined to level the match.
Bluebirds shot stopper Wakeman pulled off a fantastic save with 35 minutes on the clock to deny Brooks Lennon as the game opened up. A competitive first period finished in disappointing fashion for the young South Wales side, conceding a second goal as Corey Whelan's run evaded all, with young defender composedly slotting in at the far post. It was an undeserved set back for Matthew Bloxham and Jarred Harvey's team, who had more than matched their opponents throughout the first 45 minutes.
The second half continued in a similar vein, with both teams pushing forward and attempting to open up their opponents with killer passes. The Bluebirds went close on two separate occasions inside the opening fifteen minutes of the period, as Jamie Bird threatened from distance. The young City stars will wonder how the ball stayed out of the net on 70 minutes, following Humphries' superb corner kick. The ball stuck to the floor in the penalty box, with three separate attempts blocked by Liverpool. The Reds' goal somehow surviving this onslaught unscathed. Elvis Menayese's powerful drive on 77 minutes was held well by LFC 'keeper Shamal George.
As Cardiff pushed further forward with the final whistle approaching, Liverpool added a fortunate third goal. Substitute Toni Gomes' scuffed effort was tapped home at the back post by Lennon, who appeared to be standing in an offside position when the initial ball was played. City exit the FA Youth Cup at the fourth round stage, but will undoubtedly take heart from matching a strong Liverpool team for the majority of the match.
U18 FINAL SCORE: LIVERPOOL 3-0 CARDIFF CITY
Liverpool: George, Alexander-Arnold, Owens, Masterson, Whelan (Johnston, 63), Phillips, Kane, Ejaria (T. Gomes, 75), Woodburn (Dhanda, 86), Alves, Lennon. Subs Not Used: Kelleher, Lewis.
Cardiff City: Wakeman, Coxe, Abbruzzese, Humphries, R. Menayese, Williams, Harris (Welch, 55), Bird, E. Menayese, Waite, Chappell-Smith (So Sani, 82). Subs Not Used: Coughlan, Young, Kelly.