A young Bluebirds squad fell to defeat at the hands of an experienced Bristol City team in an Under 23’s Severnside Derby, with goals from Jonny Smith and Diego de Girolamo sealing the win for the Robins.
With five U18 & five U16 players featuring in the final home match of the under 23’s season, the Bluebirds faced a stern test in the form of Alex Ball’s Bristol City. The attacking strength of the visitors was clear as early as the first minute, when George Dowling fired over from the edge of the area.
Another impressive player for the visitors was Jonny Smith, who forced an excellent save from City goalkeeper George Ratcliffe a few minutes later. However, with fourteen minutes gone, the Robins took the lead. Smith picked up the ball on the right, drove past Rhys Abbruzzese and into the box, before delivering a fine finish past Ratcliffe to open the scoring.
Despite being inferior in terms of age, the young Bluebirds were never lacking in spirit, and played some flowing football across the midfield and into the attacking thirds. Intricate passes between the midfielders built up Bluebirds pressure, with the option of the long Crossfield ball always available.
Although, the Bluebirds’ attacking intent did not stop the Robins building their own offensive play, with Smith creating another chance on the half-hour mark. A pass from Dowling found his teammate on the counter attack, whose shot deflected against Matthew Makinson and against the City post.
After the break, three major events in three mad minutes all but sealed the result of the match. With sixty-four gone, a looping cross from Dowling cleared his teammates, but also almosy caught out Ratcliffe too – only for the ball to crash against the far post and away to safety. Almost immedtiately, Cardiff’s Cameron Coxe had a golden chance to level the scores. The wing-back beat his man and evaded the offside trap to burst into the box, only to fire his effort just wide of the mark.
A minute later, Bristol doubled their advantage through former Sheffield United and Cheltenham Town first-teamer Diego de Girolamo. The attacker collected the ball and drove into the box, before adjusting his footing and firing into the top corner of Ratcliffe’s net.
The game became more open and even as it entered the final stages, with an attempt from Jamie Veale coming close, whilst the visitors looked to add a third on the break. However, there was to be no further goalmouth action, with the Robins taking the tie 2-0. The final whistle signalled a disappointing yet valiant end to the home season for the young Bluebirds, who have the opportunity to go out with a win against Watford on May 3rd.
Cardiff City: Ratcliffe, Young (Williams 77’), Abbruzzese, Wootton (Margetson 77’), Bodenham, Makinson, Coxe, Humphries (Blaise 64’), Waite, Veale, Spence.