U18 Preview: Cardiff City vs. Charlton Athletic
Cardiff City’s U18 side face Charlton Athletic this weekend, with the Bluebirds looking to get back to winning ways and maintain their unbeaten home record at Cardiff International Sports Campus, this Saturday, 12:30pm kick-off.
Know Your Opponent
The Addicks are currently sat in second place, having made a blistering start to the season – winning four of their opening seven games, accumulating fifteen points. In fact, the London outfit are the only team in the U18 Professional Development League to remain undefeated at this stage.
Last season, the visitors finished sixth in the U18 PDL South, having registered ten wins from twenty-eight matches. Despite coming into the 2018/19 season as national champions, the Addicks endured a six-game losing streak, lasting from the start of February until late March.
The visitors were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup at the first time of asking in the third round of the competition, as they were defeated by Preston North End on penalties following a 2-2 draw after extra time on December 4th, 2019 at Deepdale.
Charlton Athletic’s academy manager is Steve Avory, who has spent seventeen years at the club and has overseen a fruitful period at the club, with over 40 first-team graduates having played for the club during his tenure.
The U18 side are managed by the duo of Hamza Serrar and Sergei Baltacha, who lifted the U18 PDL National Title in 2018 with the club.
Baltacha is an ex-professional who turned out over 300 times for Russian Side Dynamo Kiev as a no-nonsense defender. He also enjoyed a spell at English side Ipswich Town for two years, before deciding to move into coaching.
Hamza Serrar has been at the club for over five years, having previously assisted the Algeria U20 team, before moving on to Charlton as Professional Development Phase coach
Last Time Out
City’s last meeting against the Addicks at home was December 8th, with the Bluebirds claiming an emphatic 5-1 win after a five-star performance at Cardiff International Sports Campus.
Dan Griffiths netted the first goal for City after two minutes, setting the tone for the match as the Bluebirds recorded an astounding victory.
Following a prolonged period of dominance, Kieron Evans received a pin-point cross from Ntazana Mayembe before Evans produced a fine finish to double the advantage with sixteen minutes played.
Jac Davies scored City’s third with an unconventional effort, with his attempted cross drifting into the back of the net at the far post. Evans and Griffiths would both net their second goals of the game in the 38th minute and 62nd minute respectively, before the visitors netted a late consolation as City claimed all three points in an enthralling encounter.
Article: Will Pritchard