Craig Bellamy’s Bluebirds got back to winning ways in a 3-2 thriller against the Hornets at the Cardiff International Sports Campus.
Bellamy made two changes to the side that narrowly lost to Crystal Palace last Saturday, with Connor Davies and Ntazana Mayembe introduced into the fold in place of Jac Davies and Ryan Kavanagh.
The Bluebirds showed a statement of intent in the opening exchanges and thought they had been rewarded five minutes into the first period. Captain Sam Bowen’s rifled free kick was tipped onto the bar by the Hornet’s shot-stopper, before Eli King fired in the rebound, but the youngster was only to be denied by the linesman’s flag.
The Bluebirds very nearly got ahead moments later, as Connor Davies’ pin-point cross found the head of Isaak Davies, but his attempt was comfortably collected by the visitor’s goalkeeper.
Rubin Colwill was next up to test Watford’s defence, driving at their heart before cleanly connecting with an effort, stinging the gloves of the keeper who palmed his shot away to safety.
After the interval Bellamy’s side continued where they left off and were unlucky not to have broken the deadlock two minutes after the restart. Colwill belted his shot towards goal, but the youngster could only see his effort cannon back off the post.
The Bluebirds were finally rewarded with less than 20 minutes to play. I.Davies broke through before firing past the goalkeeper to give the Bluebirds the advantage.
The Hornets came back fighting and instantly replied against the run of play. Substitute Joel Bell bundled home the equaliser from close range with quarter of an hour left of the game.
Despite the instant response from the Hornets, two quick fire goals within a matter of minutes swung the game decisively in favour of the Bluebirds. Firstly, Bowen beat the offside trap and fizzed in a cross for Trystan Jones who smoothly tucked away, before I.Davies lashed home his second of the game after being teed up by Ntazana Mayembe.
The Hornets did conjure up a late consolation and reduced the deficit in the dying moments. Jayden Bennett nodded home from a free-kick, but Bellamy’s side held firm to secure the three points.
U18 FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 3-2 WATFORD
Cardiff City: Ratcliffe, C.Davies (Margeston 66’), Jones, Reynolds, Bagan, King, Mayembe, Bowen (C), I.Davies, Griffiths (Ligendza 77’), Colwill (Evans 54’). Subs not used: J.Davies, Duffey.
Watford: Baptiste, Matthews, Gordon (Rashan 46’), Maclean, Langstone, Burchell, Sankoh, Bennetts, Horsewood (Bell 71’), Hutchinson, Sanders (Conte 26’) Subs not used: Khaira.