Cardiff City’s U18 side fell to their first defeat of 2019 following a spirited second half comeback from the hosts at Ipswich Town Training Centre on Saturday, March 2nd.
The young Bluebirds started the game strongly, looking to open the scoring early on. Jac Davies had a half-chance in the 7th minute when he tried to test Toby Egan with a powerful strike; however, his effort was blocked, and nothing came of the subsequent corner.
George Ratcliffe would be called into action just four minutes later, and the City ‘stopper was forced into another sublime save with 14 minutes played to prevent the hosts from scoring a dangerous header.
Ipswich Town were awarded a penalty just a minute later, but Ratcliffe made another superb save, this time down low to his left-hand side to keep the scores level.
Kieron Evans had a shot blocked with 20 minutes played, but it was blocked by the determined Ipswich backline, before Sam Bowen saw a free-kick drift wide of the post from the edge of the box just shortly after.
Sam Bowen would eventually be rewarded for his attacking efforts in the first half, opening the scoring with 34 minutes gone. The midfielder made no mistake in converting a rebound to put his side ahead on the road.
Both sides battled out the remaining ten minutes, but the young Bluebirds remained strong to go into the interval with a one goal lead at the break.
Neither side could create any stand-out chances in the opening stages of the second half, with both defences holding strong. Bowen almost got his second goal of the game on the hour mark, as City’s number eleven hit the post after a swift counter-attack.
After three months out through injury, Isaak Davies finally made his return to the pitch in the 61st minute, replacing Dan Griffiths. It would only take a minute for the dangerous forward to make his mark on the game, attempting to beat Egan from close-range, but his effort was blocked.
However, the hosts would draw level against the run of play shortly after Lounes Foudil beat Ratcliffe with a looping header from close-range in the 65th minute.
Zac Brown would put his side in front just five minutes later, as Ipswich capitalised on a short over the young Bluebirds. The Tractor Boys’ forward beat Ratcliffe one-on-one and calmly slotted home his effort to score his side’s second goal.
Brown would later be shown a yellow card, and then was sent off by the referee in the dying moments of the game. Despite having a numerical advantage during stoppage time, City couldn’t find a vital equaliser and fell to a narrow defeat in Norfolk.
FINAL-SCORE: IPSWICH TOWN 2-1 CARDIFF CITY
Ipswich Town: Egan, Viral (Wyss 53’), Vega, Alexander, Fehrenbach, Henderson, Ruffles, Gibbs, Brown, Foudil, Simpson (Reed 59’). Subs not used: Alley, Clifford, Baker.
Cardiff City: Ratcliffe, J.Davies, Margetson, Reynolds, Bagan (Colwill 80’), Patten, Evans, Pinchard, Griffiths (I. Davies 61’), Spence, Bowen (C). Subs not used: Duffey, Parsons.