U21 Match Report | Cardiff City 3-5 Queens Park Rangers
Cardiff City’s U21 side were defeated by the R’s at CCS on Friday night.
A James Crole brace and a spectacular Caleb Hughes free-kick put City on the scoresheet, but the three goals were not enough to secure a result against the R's.
The hosts’ youthful side started strongly with Ollie Tanner creating chances early on in the game, as Jac Clay’s headed effort nearly putting the Bluebirds ahead inside six minutes.
On 10 minutes, Crole opened the scoring with a remarkable, powerful header from a Tanner corner at the near post, getting City off to the perfect start.
Following opener, QPR started to come out the blocks a bit more with positivity being shown from the first team experienced Olamide Shopido and Sinclair Armstrong, with both getting the ball in attacking areas but unable to convert early on.
Five minutes from the interval, George Thomas assisted Rafferty Pedder, who struck home into the top corner to equalise for his second goal in as many matches for the R’s.
The visitors took the lead on 44 minutes through an attack down the right; Aaron Drewe drilled a low cross to Armstrong, who netted his first of evening. Armstrong stuck again a minute later, heading home from close range.
Following the break, Darren Purse’s men started the second half as they did the first. Positive forward moves including a massive chance early on in the half saw Crole find the ball at his feet for a one-on-one chance to double his goal tally of the evening, though it trickled past the post.
Awarded a penalty-kick at the other end moments later, QPR man George Thomas stepped up but was met by an incredible low save to Matt Turner’s left, the ‘keeper denying the visitors from 12 yards.
However, with less than 20 minutes remaining, Armstrong secured his hat-trick as he finished from a tight angle at the near post.
City continued to push to close the gap, as substitutes Hughes and Cian Ashford linked up around the R’s box to eventually draw a foul which resulted in Hughes' terrific free-kick cannoning over the goal line off the post.
Drewe responded quickly by adding QPR’s fifth, staying onside from a rebounded effort to tap home.
City continued to fight right until the very end and scored the final goal of the encounter, as Crole’s composed finish in a one-on-one reduced the deficit and secured the striker his second of the night.
FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 3-5 QUEENS PARK RANGERS
Cardiff City: Turner, Leahy (Semenyo 78'), Davies, Clay, Benjamin, Antwi, Colwill, Conte (Ashford 57'), Crole, Jefferies (78'), Tanner (Wigley 80'). Subsitutes: Trialist.
QPR: Walsh, Drewe, Hamalainen, Rendall, Gubbins, Aoraha, Thomas, Trialist, Armstrong, Pedder, Shodipo. Substitutes: De Silva, Trialist, Ajoje, Pritchard, Hawkins.
U21s Manager Darren Purse spoke following the final whistle:
"QPR came in with a bit more experience than us," began Darren. "We're all competing at U21 level and it's no excuse to say that you have a younger side.
"They've got to learn to match the opposition; tackles, physicality and competing against other sides. If you look at the last two matches, around 12 minutes of football in total have resulted in use conceding three goals in each game, right before half-time.
"It's about managing games when we're on top, and not conceding one goal that turns into three. We've got a lot to brush up on during the international break.
"It's great to see Croley back on the scoresheet, and Jac Clay came in at short notice and did well. You can't fault the play that we showed at times today, but sometimes you've got to have heart and use your head."