U21 Match Report | Cardiff City 4-2 Ipswich Town
The Bluebirds defeated Ipswich Town, 4-2, in U21 action on Friday.
Both sides made an even start to the game, with neither being able to fashion out many chances, and much of the action in the opening 20 minutes was taking place in the midfield.
After a tricky opening, the Bluebirds turned the screw in a frantic five minutes. After Cameron Antwi was bundled over on the edge of the box, Joel Bagan stepped up and produced an astonishing free kick which clipped off the underside of the bar to put Darren Purse’s side ahead.
They only had to wait two minutes to double their lead. The ball bobbled to Antwi, and with time and space, the number eight drove the ball home into the bottom corner.
However, City were reduced to ten men 25 minutes into the contest. Aidan MacNamara was adjudged to be the last man after a tackle on Tawanda Chirewa, leading to the referee to send the full-back off.
Despite being a man down, the young Bluebirds looked solid, restricting their opponents to only a handful of chances, and they never looked overrun at any stage, as they went into the break two goals ahead.
The Tractor Boys had more of the possession at the start of the second 45 but couldn’t create anything of note. That was until the hour mark, when a corner from Jesse Nwabueze caused pandemonium in the City box, with Tawanda Chirewa eventually bundling the ball across the line to make it 2-1.
Ipswich certainly looked the more likely to score the next goal, but City hit them on break to extend their lead. Bagan picked out substitute Cian Ashford with a pinpoint through ball, and although his first effort was saved, he scored the rebound to put the Bluebirds in control.
Two minutes later Ipswich pulled a goal back again. It was another corner, this time met by the head of Osmon Foyo, to reduce the deficit to one goal once again. Foyo could’ve bagged the equaliser for the visitors shortly after, but Joe Thomas made a good save to deny him.
Ipswich were turning the screw in the final ten minutes, but a combination of good saves from Thomas and poor finishing meant the Bluebirds were holding on to the three points.
Eli King almost grabbed a fourth for City, but Woody Williamson in the Ipswich net was at full stretch to deny him. In stoppage time Ipswich pushed for an equaliser, but a breakaway was led by Lennon Peake and his pass found Ashford, who kept his composure to secure a 4-2 win for the Bluebirds.
U21 FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 4-2 IPSWICH TOWN
Cardiff City: Thomas, MacNamara, Bagan, Denham (Semenyo 46’), Benjamin ©, King, Jefferies, Antwi, Nyakuhwa (Pritchard 59’), J. Colwill (Ashford 59’), Matondo (Peake 59’). Subs Not Used: Armstrong.
Ipswich Town: Williamson, Lavin (Manly 66’), Armin, Bradshaw, Mazionis, Foyo, Nwabueze (Olidnie-Morgan 61’), Carr (Barbrook 46’), Taylor, Chirewa, Ayinde. Subs Not Used: Cullum.
Following the final whistle, Darren Purse shared his thoughts on the result against the Tractor Boys.
“We didn’t work anywhere near hard enough against them on Tuesday, they had a little bit more quality than us in possession, and I wanted the boys to work hard, show an attitude, show endeavour and they produced all of that today. We could’ve done a lot more in possession, when you go down to ten men sometimes your mentality changes, but the boys put in a really good performance and a good shift.
“We haven’t really worked in training with having ten men, but from the side of the pitch, giving the boys the information, especially the young boys Tanatswa and Japhet pressed their full backs and dealt with their back four. They took everything that we asked of them on board, and they were understanding of how we wanted to press and how we wanted to stop them playing. That’s what got us the three points, the way we progressed through the game.
“Cian’s a lad with a real bright future and he’s struggled in the last few matches to get up to the pace of the game. But he came in today with 30 minutes to go and when the pitch opens up he’s excellent at what he does. Any chance in front of goal, he’s really composed, and he takes them. He’s been out with an injury but it’s good to have him back.”