U18 Match Report | Cardiff City 2-1 Reading
Cardiff City’s U18s returned to winning ways on Tuesday afternoon as they defeated Reading 2-1, thanks to a brace from Tanatswa Nyakuhwa.
Steve Jenkins elected to make two changes from the team that lost to Barnsley on Saturday. Louis Philips and Josh Beecher came into the starting eleven, with Trey George and Troy Perrett making way.
City were looking to set the record straight after defeat against Barnsley on Saturday, and got off to the perfect start. Luey Giles hung a cross towards the back post, and Tanatswa Nyakuhwa rose highest to nod home.
The early phases would be dominated by the Bluebirds in terms of possession, but Reading almost hit back through a shot from captain Boyd Bearcroft, which fortunately cannoned back off the post.
As the Royals were getting themselves into the game, City’s job became harder as they were reduced to ten men. Luke Armstrong brought down forward Jack Timberlake, leaving the referee no option but to go to his back pocket.
Armstrong’s replacement, Joe Thomas, was called into action straight away to deal with the free kick Armstrong had given away. Tyler Field unleashed a powerful effort, but Thomas was equal to it and managed to tip the ball over the bar.
Eight minutes before the break, the Bluebirds were handed a golden opportunity to double their lead, as Philips was bought down in the box, resulting in a penalty kick. Up stepped Nyakuhwa, who guided his effort into the top corner, sending City into the dressing room two goals up.
The visitors started the second half brightly and were themselves awarded a penalty five minutes after the restart, with Cole Fleming bringing down Tyler Field. Substitute Denim Nnamudi dispatched his penalty down the middle to reduce the deficit.
Reading controlled more of the ball in the second half as they sought to exploit their numerical advantage, but they were limited to half chances by a sturdy City defence.
Dan Barton was always an outlet for the Bluebirds; his paced caused problems for the Royals defence, but nobody in a blue shirt was able to turn home one of his several dangerous crosses.
The best chance of the half for City came with six minutes remaining, as Josh Beecher skipped through the Reading defence, but his finessed effort went just the wrong side of the post.
Even with ten men for over an hour, City held on to the win.
FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 2-1 READING
Cardiff City: Armstrong, Spiers, Giles, Lewis ©, Lawlor (Fleming 15’), George, Philips, Matondo, Nyakuhwa (Mafico 59’), Twose (Thomas 30’), Beecher. Subs not used: C. Jones.
Reading: Rhone (Mawer 46’), Bearcroft ©, Field, Sackey, Goulding, Nditi (Jones 46’), Tambang, Murray (Nnamudi 46’), Timberlake (Source 67’), Coke-Miles-Smith, White. Subs not used: Harrison.
After the game, Steve Jenkins spoke to us about his side’s performance.
“It’s been a great three or four days for the boys. Saturday was a tough game against a really good team in Barnsley, they pressed us and went man for man, and it was hard. They were one of the best teams I’ve seen in the last few years.
"We had asked the boys for a reaction, and they showed it today. We dealt with the disappointment of going down to ten men, and to get through that and get the win is fantastic and shows a great mental attitude.
“It’s three games in six days for the boys, with all the travel too, so it’s really tough for any young player. They showed a great mindset mentally, but the physical output today was brilliant. To do over an hour with ten men today was excellent.”