Cardiff City’s Under-23 squad kicked off their Professional Development League Two campaign with a 4-1 loss against Burnley U23 at Turf Moor.
Jarred Harvey named three Trialists in a youthful starting XI and former City player, Tom Heaton started in goal for the hosts. Michael Duff included an additional three First Team players in his starting line-up – Ben Gibson, Kevin Long and Matěj Vydra.
The first opportunity of the encounter saw the hosts open the scoring after seven minutes. From an acute angle, new recruit Gibson shot on goal and the ball found its way to Daniel Agyei who slotted home.
10 minutes later, the experienced Clarets doubled their tally. 2017/18’s Championship top scorer, Vydra went one-on-one with Matt Hall and powerfully struck another.
Captain Ciaron Brown led by example to prevent a third after 29 minutes. Dwight McNeil’s effort from a narrow angle crashed off the right post and Brown put his body on the line to block the rebound.
As half-time approached, Hall was again called into action and pulled off a super save. Agyei went through on goal, and on his competitive debut the goalkeeper denied the forward a brace.
After the interval, the Bluebirds returned determined to make a comeback, and reduced the deficit to one, two minutes in. From the right flank, Trialist No. 11 sped into the area before smartly finishing into the bottom right corner at a narrow angle.
From the restart, City went fighting for an equaliser and Jack Bodenham went close after 50 minutes. From the edge of the area, the central defender’s strike took a bobble but found the target before Heaton gathered.
However, Burnley regained their two-goal lead from a ferocious attack three minutes later. Olatunde Bayode paced into the box from the right wing before powerfully launching the ball into the top left corner.
Paul McKay produced some top defensive work to prevent a Clarets fourth after 57 minutes. Agyei again went through on goal but the Scotsman strode back to tackle and deny the 21-year-old a second.
With full-time approaching, Jamie Veale did well to clear the ball off the line. However, four minutes later the hosts scored a fourth through Ali Koiki. Vydra ran one-on-one with Hall before laying off for the defender who tapped in.
That proved to be the last action of the match as the young Bluebirds took a tough but valuable experience from the encounter with the Clarets.
U23 Final Score: Burnley 4-1 Cardiff City
Burnley: Heaton, Dunne, Gibson, Long, Koiki, Bayode, Goodridge (Blair 74’), N’Guessan, McNeil, Vydra, Agyei (Massanka 87’).
Subs not used: McMahon, Perkins, Cropper.
Cardiff City: Hall, Trialist No. 2, P. McKay, Veale, Brown, Bodenham, Coxe (Trialist No. 14 74’), Evans, J. McKay (Wootton 60’), Trialist No. 10, Trialist No. 11.
Subs not used: Burwood.