Cardiff City named seven changes to their side that hosted Ipswich Town last time out. Included in the lineup were eight U18 players, who took to the pitch at Sparrows Lane on Monday, 21st January 2019.
The hosts enjoyed the majority of possession in the opening periods and almost broke the deadlock after 10 minutes. Following a corner, the unmarked Dean Ager saw his curled effort glance narrowly wide of the far post from 15 yards out.
The Bluebirds responded with persistent pressure on the hosts which was rewarded with an opening goal shortly after the half hour mark. For his first goal for Cardiff City, former The New Saints full-back Ryan Pryce took advantage of a scramble inside the area to powerfully hammer home on the volley.
Colchester United attempted to draw level moments later but were superbly denied on two occasions in a matter of minutes by the alert Warren Burwood. The young shot-stopper dived at full-length to keep out Diaz Wright’s deflected effort; sending the ball out for a corner. From the resulting set-piece Callum Jones’ curled shot was saved by the in-form Burwood once more.
However the home side get back on level terms, four minutes after the restart. Louis Dunne’s low shot found the back of the net from 10 yards after being set up by Jones.
The U’s then began to see a greater share of possession and almost took the lead following several close half chances. Todd Miller came closest on the hour mark, but the winger couldn’t direct his shot on target after controlling well inside the area.
After applying increasing pressure on the Bluebirds' defence, the hosts took the lead after 73 minutes. Substitute Tyrique Hyde saw his header take a deflection off Ben Margetson to make it 2-1.
As the match approached the final 10 minutes, Laurence Wootton almost levelled the score. The midfielder headed directly into the hands of the ‘keeper following a pin-point delivery from Sam Parsons.
City continued to push bodies forward and came agonisingly close to equalising in stoppage time. Daniel Martin took aim from range but the ‘keeper dived at full length to keep the effort out. This was the last opportunity of the game before the final whistle.
Cardiff City’s U23 side will now travel to face Severnside derby rivals Bristol City in their next league clash on Monday, 28th January 2019 – 1pm kick-off.
U23 FINAL SCORE: COLCHESTER UNITED 2-1 CARDIFF CITY
Colchester United: Coulter, Bakary, Clampin, Wright, Agboola, Kensdale, Gondoh (Sims 23’), Dunne, Jones (Hyde 70’), Ager, Miller (Charles 82’). Subs Not Used: Collins, Forino.
Cardiff City: Burwood, Pryce, Martin, Humphries (Parsons 46’), Margetson, Bagan, Wootton, McDonald (Warnock 60’), J. McKay, Spence (J. Davies 85’), Bowen. Subs Not Used: Hall, Jones.