U18 Match Report | Cardiff City 1-1 Plymouth Argyle
Cardiff City were held to a 1-1 draw by Plymouth Argyle in their second group stage game of the PDL Cup.
For much of the game, it looked like Trey George’s early goal would be the winning one, but a 90th minute penalty scored by Plymouth’s Caleb Roberts meant the points were shared.
Tom Hutton elected to make three changes from the team that defeated Ipswich Town before the international break. Will Spiers, Troy Perrett and Jac Thomas made way for Alyas Debono, Josh Beecher and Joseff Edwards.
The game was only six minutes old when City broke the deadlock. Captain Tanatswa Nyakuhwa robbed the ball deep in the final third, before driving into the box. He slid the ball to Trey George, who managed to squeeze his strike into the bottom corner.
Only a handful of minutes later, George chanced his arm again with a good turn and shot, but it stung the palms of the keeper before being cleared away.
For the majority of the first half, City bossed every facet of the game, but in the final phases of the first period, it was the Pilgrims who looked the more likely to score. Tegan Finn found space in the box, but his effort was blocked tremendously by Dylan Lawlor.
Plymouth would go even closer before the break, as Caleb Roberts saw his strike cannon back off the post. Despite a late surge from the visitors, it was the Bluebirds who found themselves ahead at the break.
For all of City's first half dominance, the Bluebirds found themselves under the cosh for the vast majority of the second half.
Almost all of Argyle’s chances came through substitute Joe Hatch. His first involvement saw him hit the crossbar, his second saw a shot from close range saved by Luke Armstrong, whilst a side footed effort went narrowly wide of the post.
Freddie Issaka also went close, but the ball flashed across the face of goal, and no one in a green shirt was able to convert his cross.
Late on, Armstrong produced a magnificent fingertip save to deny a Plymouth head from levelling the tie. Roberts was the next to go close, but as he raced on goal, enough City bodies got back to make sure his shot went wide.
As it looked like the Bluebirds would take all three points, they were dealt a bitter blow. Hatch danced his way into the box, before being brought down by Armstrong, with a penalty given. Roberts stepped up, and while Armstrong got his feet onto the ball, it went into the roof of the net.
With the game ending in a draw, City have one game left in the PDL Cup, away against Bournemouth.
FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 1-1 PLYMOUTH ARGYLE
Cardiff City: Armstrong, Edwards, Debono, Lawlor (Lester 46’), Beecher (Thomas 63’), Barton, George, Mafico, Matondo (Perrett 41’), Phillips, Nyakuhwa © (Talbot 74’). Subs not used: Jones.
Plymouth Argyle: Holman, Colwell ©, Shield, Wilkes, Matthews, Sullivan, Bernard, Roberts, Edworthy, Finn (Hatch 55’), Issaka. Subs not used: Ireland, Fisher.
After the game, Tom Hutton said: "There were a lot of positives in the first half about the way that we played. We controlled large parts of the half, we dominated possession.
"In this particular game, it was more because of the defensive strategy the opposition wanted to implement. But the message at half time was that we wanted to be a bit more purposeful with the ball, make sure our movement was spot on, particularly in the wide areas to make things clearer cut. We talked a lot about the basics, and we challenged them to do them better, but what we got was probably the opposite.
“We were forced into some key changes, but that’s not really the reason. Players have to understand the demands of the game. At this level, if you’re not sound with the basics, you’re going to find yourself in tough moments, and that’s the disappointing thing for us. Although we weren’t as clinical as we wanted to be, we were in control, and we relinquished that to the opposition in the second half.”