U21 Match Report | Cardiff City 4-2 Crewe Alexandra
Cardiff City's U21 side concluded their 2022/23 season with a convincing 4-2 victory against the Railwaymen on Tuesday afternoon.
A brace from captain Owen Pritchard, along with further goals from Cian Ashford and Japhet Matondo, secured the three points for City despite a first-half fight back from the visitors.
U21s Manager Darren Purse named a youthful side to start on Tuesday afternoon, with several young Bluebirds stepping up from the U18 side to represent the older age group.
City got off to the perfect start with less than 90 seconds played, as Owen Prtichard struck home wonderfully from 20 yards with his first touch. The visitors responded not long afterwards thanks to Muhammad Jatta's tap in, however.
Looking the more composed in attack, City again pressed to re-establish a lead, with Joel Colwill and Isaac Jefferies both seeing good efforts be denied. Before the half-hour mark, Ashford netted deservedly from James Crole's laid off pass, after the latter was in the right place at the right time to receive a loose backpass at the edge of the Crewe area.
However, right before the interval, the visitors struck again through Jatta, who latched onto a loose ball after it rebounded off the post. City would have to work to take the lead once again in the second half, if they wanted to finish the campaign with a sought-after victory.
The Bluebirds started the second half in the same vein as they did the first, with good intensity shown in attack. Josh Beecher delivered several dangerous crosses early on in the half, which created narrowly-missed opportunities for his teammates inside the area.
Colwill played a vital part in the hosts' eventual third goal, driving the ball around the area before crossing low for Pritchard to instinctively fire home at close range, as the skipper bagged a brace.
Substitute Matondo would double the lead 15 minutes after his introduction; played through beautifully by Colwill, the forward didn't waste his chance when put in a one-on-one with the 'keeper, and struck well to ensure the victory on home ground.
Having controlled for the vast majority of the second half, City dug deep to defend their well-earned lead for the remainder, seeing out a few late threats from set-pieces to maintain a two-goal cushion, eventually concluding the afternoon with a deserved victory.
FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 4-2 CREWE ALEXANDRA
Following the final whistle, Darren Purse spoke to Cardiff City TV to discuss the result:
"I think it's a good way to end the season, really," Darren began. "I think that going forwards we showed some good bits of quality; we scored four and maybe could've gotten more as well.
"On the back end of that, we've conceded two sloppy goals, but that's a learning curve for the young back four that we had. You look at that back four, and three of them are First Year Scholars, so from that point of view you look at it and you think that the future is bright.
"Overall we had some really good bits of possession that I was pleased with, and it's nice to end the season with three points whilst giving some experience to some young scholars that should now be looking to push on and be involved with the U21s next year."