Cardiff City’s U18 side fell to a 3-2 defeat against Sheffield Wednesday in the PDL2 National Final at Hillsborough on Friday, May 3rd.
Goals from Sheffield Wednesday’s Charles Hagan, Charlie Reaney and Elliott Vasalo condemned the Bluebirds to defeat, with Dan Griffiths and Ben Margetson scoring City’s goals in the 78th and 83rd minute respectively.
Both sides started with a positive intent, looking to test the opposing defence at every possible opportunity. Sheffield Wednesday’s Charlie Reaney made a smart run behind the City defence before attempting to test George Ratcliffe in the fifth minute. He was expertly marked by Joel Bagan and struggled to get a notable effort at goal.
Dan Griffiths would cause the hosts a number of problems with his direct running and physicality, eventually making a powerful run down the right-flank with only twelve minutes played. He would try to find Isaak Davies with an inviting cross, but it came to nothing.
Davies (who returned to the starting XI following a long-spell out with injury) forced Dawodu into a last-ditch tackle, which eventually went out for a City corner. Sion Spence would deliver a delightful ball into the box, which Ben Margetson rose highest to claim, but his effort was collected despite initial concern from the Wednesday backline.
Spence would be pushed off the ball in the box with 24 minutes, but the referee ended up giving the forward a yellow card, as the referee waved away appeals for a penalty – despite Spence going down under contact.
Eventually, the Bluebirds dominance came to a halt after a spell of pressure from the hosts towards the end of the first-half. Josh Dawodu produced a fine delivery into Charles Hagan, who finished past Ratcliffe in the 27th minute. Charlie Reaney would double the Owls’ advantage in the 42nd minute, who took advantage of some slick movement and passing from his fellow teammates and finished well past Ratcliffe on his right-foot.
Kieron Evans struck the underside of the bar with 59 minutes played, after a phenomenal effort from distance on his right-foot left Josh Render all but beaten.
City would continue to fight for an all-important goal at Hillsborough, and eventually they got what they deserved for their effort and application. Dan Griffiths would find himself in the right place to tap home from inside the Owls’ box in the 78th minute, scoring his 29th goal of the season for City’s U18 squad.
The hosts would deliver a huge blow to Cardiff City just a minute later, regaining their two-goal lead at Hillsborough through Elliott Vasalo following a swift counter-attack.
Despite this, the Bluebirds continued to fight and managed to get a goal back through Margetson. The defender headed home from a corner after an expert delivery from Spence gave City hope of forcing extra-time with seven minutes remaining.
Going into the final minutes of the game, the hosts were put under intense pressure as City fought to score an equalizer to put the game into extra time. Their efforts would be overshadowed by Griffiths and Evans being sent off in the 89th and 90th minute respectively, with both players shown red cards for a second bookable offences.
FINAL SCORE: SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 3-2 CARDIFF CITY
Sheffield Wednesday: Render, Dawodu, Ellery, Waldock, Thompson, Rice (C), Hagan (Farmer 90’), Shaw, Hammoud (Vasalo 77’), Grant, Reaney. Subs not used: Kenyon, Jackson, Brandy.
Cardiff City: Ratcliffe, C. Davies, Kavanagh, Margetson, Bagan, Patten, I. Davies (Mayembe 63’), Bowen (C), Evans, Spence, Griffiths. Subs not used: Burwood, Pinchard, Parsons, Ligendza.