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FAW YOUTH CUP | CITY BOW OUT AT SWANSEA

20 November 2016

The young Bluebirds fell to derby defeat against FAW Youth Cup holders Swansea City, signalling an exit from the Tournament for the eight time winners.

After a typical end-to-end derby opening, the Swans took the lead through full back Aaron Lewis. After a foul on the edge of the area, Lewis stepped up to slot the free-kick home, with a superbly accurate effort into the bottom right-hand corner.

Only two minutes later, the Bluebirds almost answered in emphatic style. A flowing move ended with midfielder Sion Spence picking up the ball in a central position on the edge of the box, before firing a shot just wide of the target.

The hosts, who have won the competition a record number of times, had a penalty appeal waved away after seventeen minutes, after skipper Liam Cullen went down in the City box. In a sweeping counter attack, the Bluebirds enjoyed their best attack of the first period. Spence and fellow midfielder Jarrad Welch exchanged delicate passes, before releasing James Waite inside the box. His shot flashed wide of the far post, as the Bluebirds stepped up their search for an equaliser.

Mark Harris, who scored four goals in the Round Two fixture against Tredegar Town, had been targeted by the Swansea defence, and showed just why after 40 minutes. Excellent pressure from the striker saw him win the ball back near the by-line, before hitting a low effort, which was comfortably saved by Swans’ keeper Lewis Thomas.

A minute later, in a similar incident to the one in the Bluebirds’ box, Harris went down under pressure, but the appeals for a penalty were dismissed by referee Jack Deschoolmeester, who signalled the end of a largely equal half a few minutes later.

At the start of the second period, defender Rollin Menayese had two good chances to draw level, with free headers inside the Swansea box. On both occasions, the headed efforts couldn’t beat Thomas in the Swansea goal, though the Bluebirds looked by far the more likely to find the back of the net next. Welch came close with a free kick minutes later, though a strong hand from the Swansea stopper ensured he wasn’t beaten.

On sixty-four minutes, the Swans got their second against the run of play. A long goal kick cleared both sets of midfielders, before bouncing awkwardly on the edge of the Bluebirds box. A communications mix-up at the back allowed Swansea substitute Jordan Garrick to nip in and roll the ball into the vacant net. City 'keeper Oliver Byrne was called into action on two occasions later in the half, with excellent reflex saves denying Brandon Cooper and Causso Darame from putting the game to bed.

Unfortunately, it was Swans’ skipper Cullen who finished the game off, netting a third with twelve minutes remaining. An inside pass from Garrick was picked up by the striker, who smashed past the helpless Byrne to secure safe passage to the next round.

Despite late efforts from Welch and Rhys Abbruzzese, the Bluebirds sadly couldn’t find a way back into the match.

FINAL SCORE: SWANSEA CITY 3-0 CARDIFF CITY

Cardiff City U19: Byrne, Coxe, Abbruzzese, Young, Menayese, Baldwin, Waite, Welch, Harris, Spence, So Sani (Kelly ’79).
Subs not used: Coughlan, Kelly, Wootton, Bodenham, Madden.


Speaking after the match, Professional Development Phase (U18) coach Jarred Harvey gave his thoughts, saying: “We are of course extremely disappointed with the result today, as our performance wasn’t reflected in the scoreline. As a team, we created a number of goalscoring opportunities and I felt we were in control for large parts of the match. But frustratingly we were punished by three goals that were all avoidable.

“There are certainly many positives take from this game including a number of good performances from our apprentices. But I must mention Sion Spence, the youngest player of the pitch, who was outstanding today showing superb creativity and composure in the midfield at such a young age, and was an absolute joy to watch.

“But football does that to you, and I'm certain our youngsters will learn from their mistakes. But for me today the positives far out-way the negatives, & the players can be proud of their performances. That said, as a squad our focus now returns to the league before another huge opportunity to test ourselves next month when we face holders Chelsea in the FA Youth Cup third round."


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