U18 Match Preview: Cardiff City vs Crystal Palace
Cardiff City’s U18 side face Crystal Palace this Saturday, looking to increase their lead at the top of the PDL2 South table.
The young Bluebirds are currently top of the PDL2 South, ahead of Ipswich Town on goal difference, but have a game in hand on the second placed side.
Entry to the Cardiff International Sports Campus is free, with kick-off at 11:00am, ahead of the first-team’s fixture against Premier League champions Manchester City.
Know Your Opponent
The Eagles currently sit fourth in the PDL2 South, having collected seven points from five games this season. The visitors come into this fixture on the back of an emphatic 4-2 victory against Watford, with attacking midfielder Brandon Aveiro claiming a hat-trick against the Hornets.
Palace finished first last season in the PDL2 South, accumulating 59 points from 29 games. It was a testament to the quality of their side that they only lost four league games during the 2017/18 season, a record which only Watford have bettered in the past five seasons. The south-London side finished the campaign on an unbeaten streak of eleven games. Despite this, they could only finish as regional champions as they fell to a 2-1 defeat against Charlton in the regional final.
The PDL2 South champions made it to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup last year, the furthest stage they have reached since 2016. They progressed past the third round against Mansfield Town, as Palace won 6-5 on penalties at the One Call Stadium on December 8th, 2017.
Palace then went on to face Newcastle United in the fourth round of the competition at Selhurst Park, with the opportunity to reach the fifth round for the first time since 2010. It wasn’t to be for the hosts though, as they succumbed to a 3-2 defeat after extra time against the Magpies.
Crystal Palace’s U18 side are currently managed by Paddy McCarthy, who has been manager since December 2016. The 36-year-old has a great deal of experience as an ex professional, who played more than 200 games for clubs including Leicester City, Charlton Athletic and Crystal Palace – after coming through the ranks at Manchester City.
McCarthy is assisted by Jack Mesure, who has been involved with the Eagles for just under a decade. He was previously U18 and reserve team manager at Vanarama National League side Sutton United.
Craig Bellamy’s side have mixed fortunes against Saturday’s visitors, winning last seasons home fixture, but losing away from home. Trystan Jones scored the only goal in a tight fixture between the two sides in Cardiff City on January 13th.
Defender Jack Bodenham scored City’s only goal in a 3-1 defeat, as the young Bluebirds were defeated against a Palace side who had only lost once in three months.