FA Youth Cup Report | Oxford United 3-1 Cardiff City
Cardiff City’s U18 side were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup following a 3-1 defeat to Oxford United.
Will Spiers’ early stunner wasn’t enough for the young Bluebirds to cross the line at the Kassam Stadium on Tuesday evening.
The Bluebirds made one change to the starting eleven from their 4-3 win over Crewe Alexandra in the previous round; captain Joe Keeping replaced Luey Giles.
From a lively City start, Spiers’ goal came after just three minutes. A flowing move ended with the right-back’s left-footed effort from 25 yards finding the top corner.
After the Bluebirds’ opener, the game began to even out slightly, despite City having the better of the chances in the opening 45 minutes.
Tanatswa Nyakuhwa showed quick feet throughout, challenging the U’s right-back. After 25 minutes, he had a chance to double City’s lead, but his shot found the side netting from a tight angle.
Morgan Wigley and Isaac Jefferies also combined well in the first half. A good stop was needed to force a corner when the two linked up for a one-on-one chance just after the half-hour mark.
Despite entering the break with a 1-0 lead, Oxford’s impressive second half saw them through to the Fifth Round of the Youth Cup.
First team regular Gatlin O’Donkor scored a brace to spearhead the U’s victory, along with a 50th minute equaliser from Rashane Maxwell.
O’Donkor and midfielder Josh Johnson have both featured in the EFL Cup for Oxford this season, and made a cameo against Arsenal in their Emirates FA Cup tie on Monday night.
The chances continued to come for City despite the Yellows’ comeback, but the clock continued to run down until the hosts managed to see out a 3-1 win.
Final Score: Oxford United 3–1 Cardiff City
Oxford United: Barnsley, Sankoh, Maxwell, Johnson, Franklin ©, Zabeli, Elliot-Wheeler, Brenan, O’Donkor, Took-Oxley, Tiamuna.
Subs not used: Mole, Marriott, Burton, Iheanacho, Lacey, Fowler.
Cardiff City: Dennis, Spiers, Keeping ©, Lewis, Debono, Kenniford (Mpadi 71’), Fleming (George 60’), Ware, Wigley, Jefferies, Nyakuhwa (Twose 86’).
Subs not used: Barton, Thomas, Beecher, T. Jones.
Speaking after the Cup exit, U18 Coach Steve Jenkins commented: “It’s a disappointing night. We played well in patches but when you concede three goals like we did, you will find it difficult to win games.
“We started the game really well, then they came into it after we got the goal, so I think we let them off the hook a little bit.
“They were a threat. Especially O’Donkor, who’s got a lot of first team experience, but we’re better than what we showed tonight.
The young Bluebirds return to Professional Development League action on Saturday (14/1) as they host Watford at Cardiff International Sports Stadium.
Jenks added: “We’ll watch the game back, we’ll learn from it and now focus on Saturday.”