U18 Match Preview: Burnley vs. Cardiff City
The young Bluebirds continue their 2019/20 PDL campaign as they travel to face the Clarets at the Barnfield Training Centre on Saturday afternoon - kick-off at 1pm.
Burnley’s U18 side finished their 2018/19 PDL campaign in fifth place on the North Division’s league table, with 49 points taken from 28 fixtures played. The Clarets won 15 matches that season, including a four-game winning streak at the start of 2019, when the young side defeated Bolton Wanderers, Crewe Alexandra, Barnsley, and Leeds United, eventually extending an unbeaten run to nine league matches.
Saturday’s match will be played at the Barnfield Training Centre, where Burnley’s First Team spend their time training. The centre opened in 2017 following a year of development, and features several pitches as well as indoor training facilities.
The last time the young Bluebirds faced Burnley’s U18 side was in April 2019, as City were pushing to eventually win the PDL South Division at the end of the 2018/19 season. Goals from Sam Bowen, Connor Davies, Kieron Evans, Dan Griffiths and Siyabonga Ligendza helped City to their 17th win of the season.
The young Bluebirds started the game well, with Griffiths going close to putting his side ahead only five minutes into the game. The forward made a great surging run, but his effort was caught by the Burnley ‘keeper.
Griffiths would continue to cause the Clarets’ defenders a plethora of problems with his direct runs and tenacious attitude. He hit the post with nine minutes played, but it wouldn’t have counted anyway as there was an offside in the build-up.
Despite falling behind with 10 minutes played, City responded well to the setback, eventually drawing level in the 33rd minute through skipper Sam Bowen. Ntazana Mayembe made a great run down the left flank, before finding Bowen on the edge of the area with a pin-point cross and the midfielder made no mistake in firing home for his seventh goal of the season.
Shortly after, Connor Davies put the young Bluebirds ahead in the 39th minute with a good finish from close-range on his right-foot, after making an excellent run down the right-flank.
Kieron Evans fired home just a minute after Connor Davies gave the hosts the lead, with Ntazana Mayembe registering another assist.
Griffiths was given the chance to score his 27th goal of the season with a penalty kick in the second half, and the Wales U19 international made no mistake in firing past Burnley’s trialist ‘keeper from Mayembe’s cross.
Substitute Siyabonga Ligendza seemed to have scored his first goal for the U18 side this season and City’s fifth. Mayembe registered his fourth assist of the game with 71 minutes played, but replays showed that it was an own-goal, taking the final touch off a Burnley defender.
In the Hot Seat
Burnley’s U18 Head Coach is Tony Philliskirk. A former Bluebird, Philliskirk made 61 league appearances for Cardiff City between 1995-98, scoring five goals for the club in his time at Ninian Park.
Tony also played for the club where he now coaches in the 1994-95 season, where he scored nine goals in 40 matches, having previously played at clubs such as Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield United.
Collectively throughout his 15-year career in the professional game, Tony made 410 league appearances, scoring 113 goals in the process.