U18 Match Report | Cardiff City 6-1 Ipswich Town


U18 Highlights | Cardiff City 6-1 Ipswich Town

Cardiff City's U18 side continued their excellent form with a comfortable victory over Ipswich Town at a wet Cardiff International Sports Campus on Saturday morning.

The young Bluebirds, led on the day by Dane Facey, named the same starting side that had defeated Bristol City and Watford in the PDL Cup in their past two competitive fixtures while Isaac Jefferies was welcomed onto the subs bench following a long lay-off through injury.

Five minutes in, it was the away side that had the first real chance of the encounter in the torrential rain. Defender Finn Steele met a deep ball at the back post, but he couldn't divert the effort on target at close range.

City soon got into the swing of the game and the goal scoring opportunities followed. James Crole rounded Town goalkeeper Danny Callum after nine minutes, but sadly for the in-form forward, he was already too far wide to get an effort away with the ball going out of play. A first goal of the morning did come the way of the hosts just 90 seconds later though. Morgan Wigley, who netted a hat-trick for the U18s in the recent 5-0 demolition of Bristol City, struck a brilliant drive from wide on the right that flew into the top corner of the net.

The lively Crole had the ball in the goal twice in quick succession as City took full control of the PDL clash. The forward’s first attempt, after again rounding Callum, was ruled out by a flag by the assistant referee. But that same official gave Crole a chance to score four minutes later. Rhys Schwank was taken down in the penalty box after making a darting run down the right side. While the referee initially signalled for a corner, his better placed assistant informed him of the foul, with the decision going the way of the Bluebirds. Crole stepped up and sent the 'keeper the wrong way from the spot to double the advantage.

The Bluebirds scored a third before the interval. Caleb Hughes' strike from distance against Watford last time out impressed all in attendance, but he nearly matched it with individual brilliance following a great run down the left before cutting in and striking at goal. The ball came out off the woodwork, with City's No.7 Schwank on hand to composedly divert in the rebound under pressure.

After the interval, the away side returned to the pitch determined to make an impression on the fixture. They made two half time changes and were stronger in possession once the second half began. However, it was the Bluebirds who had the first chance of the second 45'. Crole denied by a fine stop by Callum in the Ipswich Town goal.

Town went close to getting one back after 55 minutes. Emmanuel Okunowo struck the ball from 20-yards after a Tyrese Osbourne free-kick had hit the wall - with the ball hammering the bottom of the post and bouncing clear.

It was a strike from even further away that saw City score their fourth and regain control of the game. Joel Colwill took aim and hit an arrowed low strike from 25-yards that flew into the bottom corner with 65 minutes played.

Three minutes later, a big arrival occurred for the Bluebirds as Isaac Jefferies made his return to action. It didn't take Isaac long to acclimatise to the match. Within four minutes of entering the game, he'd added a fifth goal for City's U18 squad. The midfielder drove forward with the ball and slotted home in a composed fashion when one-on-one with the opposing 'keeper, with the entire team joining in the celebrations.

This intriguing game took another turn after 74 minutes as City were punished for an debatable handball from a free-kick. Away substitute Osbourne was given penalty duties, but his low strike to the right was tipped away by City shot stopper Jake Dennis.

A sixth goal for the hosts came with 11 minutes remaining as Crole netted his second of the afternoon from 15-yards, powering into the net. Defender Jac Clay went incredibly close to making it seven soon after, but his thunderbolt from 35-yards cannoned out off the crossbar.

The away side added a late consolation through Finn Barbrook, but it didn't take the shine off another strong City showing. The Bluebirds netting 15 times in their last three competitive games and conceding just once.


Cardiff City: Dennis, MacNamara, Keeping, Rippon, Clay, Hughes (Crew 77'), Schwank, Colwill, Crole, Ashford (Jefferies 68'), Wigley (Mpadi 77'). Subs Not Used: Jones, Miller.

Ipswich Town: Callum, Stephenson, Barbrook, Moodie, Steele, Cousens, Barbrook, Okunowo, Manly, Kieran (Osbourne 46'), Cook (Boatswain 46'). Subs Not Used: Bradshaw.

We spoke to Dane Facey following the match at Cardiff International Sports Campus.

"Credit must go to the boys and the staff who have been working with them over the last couple of months,” the City coach began. "The really important bits for us today were the behaviours and the way we acted and reacted to any mistakes. We really tried to respond in the right way and I thought we were clinical and a threat on the counter today, but also we showed some great moments of composure and quality while in control too.

"I thought in the second half Ipswich made it a really tough game for us. There were moments in that final 45 where they played really well. It was important for us to get that first goal after the interval to allow us to take the game beyond them.

"Our boys and their attitude though were great. They applied themselves well. The most pleasing bit is how deadly we were again in front of goal - another six today. The lads have been doing well in that aspect. I thought the front players in particular really contributed to it being a positive day today.”

It was another well-oiled performance by a City U18 side in fine form at the moment. Facey added: "The players were really comfortable in the way we want to play, and again, that's down to the coaches who have been with them throughout the season.

"One of the things we talk about a lot throughout the Academy is that you've got to be able to outrun the opposition before you can outplay them. I thought today, particularly in the first half, we applied that. We outrun and outworked them, and it allowed us to dominate the game and play it the way we wanted.”

After a long time out, Isaac Jefferies came on with 22 minutes remaining, and marked the occasion with a goal. Dane concluded: "All of the staff and all of the players were delighted for Isaac today. You could see that in the celebration when he scored. I've known Isaac since he was eight years old. Take the football element out of it for a moment - what an unbelievable person he is. He's a great lad and he's worked so hard to come back through the injuries and the setbacks and disappointments.

"To see him out there today, irrespective of the goal, just to see him playing, happy and enjoying himself - that's one of the main reasons we do it. We want these players to really enjoy being here at Cardiff City.

"The quality of the finish was truly outstanding, and the team showed that togetherness with their reaction too. It was one of the standout moments for me today to see him get his opportunity to get back out there and he did really well.”