U21 Match Report | Cardiff City 4-2 Millwall
Cardiff City’s U21 side returned to winning ways with a terrific 4-2 victory over league leaders Millwall on Tuesday afternoon.
Taking the lead early on thanks to Mark Harris’ solo goal, the visitors equalised just before the break, with the score level at half-time.
Following the interval, City created plenty of good scoring opportunities and rightfully extended their lead, through Cameron Antwi and Owen Pritchard. A late response from the Lions wasn’t enough to seal a comeback, however, as Chanka Zimba netted in the final few minutes to help City secure an important three points in Leckwith.
City started on the front foot, and Zimba very nearly put the hosts ahead with five minutes played. Running through on goal, he was tackled well by Frankie Hvid, who dispossessed the striker inside his own area.
Moment later, the Bluebirds were deservedly ahead thanks to Harris, who cut into the area before taking a shot which flew in low and the far post, evading the ‘keeper and defenders with perfect placement.
With Millwall changing their shape quickly afterwards, City were forced to adapt to the alteration and conceded the majority of possession, holding fast under increasing pressure from the visitors. Jake Dennis was called into action to deny a series of headed efforts, tipping shots over the bar or rushing to claim wayward crosses. However, with the visitors continually threatening from set pieces, they eventually found an equaliser when Hvid broke free of his marker to head home, levelling before the whistle brought in half-time.
Following the break, City found themselves off to a dream start as Cameron Antwi found himself in the right place at the right time. Latching onto a loose clearance from the ‘keeper, the midfielder burst forwards with a touch before lofting a shot over his opponents and into the back of the net, with less than 60 seconds of the half played.
With City continuing to threaten, Antwi turned provider as the hosts doubled the lead 20 minutes later. Zimba held the ball up well and laid the ball off to his teammate, who picked out substitute Owen Pritchard. The midfielder turned and faced goal, and from 20 yards out struck sweetly, with the ball flying in the bottom left corner of the net.
As the half wore on, the visitors’ pressure increased steadily as it had in the first half. Dennis pulled off another terrific save with 10 minutes remaining to stop a dangerous counterattack, though Seb Drozd reduced the deficit with a good finish only two minutes later.
However, it was the Bluebirds who were to score the final goal of the afternoon, when they responded through Chanka Zimba. Goalscorer Pritchard played the striker through wonderfully inside the area, with Zimba able to take the ball around the ‘keeper before shooting well from a tight angle, all but securing the three points for the hosts.
With the final whistle blown, City had bounced back with a resolute team performance against the league leaders.
FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 4-2 MILLWALL
Cardiff City: Dennis, Campbell, Bagan, MacNamara (Semenyo 75’), Benjamin, King, Harris (Nyakuhwa 63’), Antwi, Zimba, I. Davies (Jefferies 63’), R. Colwill (Pritchard 63’). Subs not used: Thomas
Following the final whistle, U21 Coach Matthew Bloxham spoke to Cardiff City TV:
“We’re really happy with how aggressive we were on the play, how we tried to play from the back,” He began. “I think for large periods of the game we controlled the play, and Millwall’s direct threat.
“In the second half, for large periods Millwall tried to put us under pressure, but we handled that pressure today. I think we’ve learned from previous games and we’re more than capable of getting the goal as well.
“It’s always a good feeling to win a game. After the derby last week, we were happy to get a point but disappointed with our performance, whereas today we’re delighted to get a win but also a performance that we can build on going into Charlton Athletic.”
Goalscorer Cameron Antwi also reflected on a good team performance, adding:
“It was a good win after a few defeats. The team gelled really well, we played out from the back and we did what we’ve done on the training ground, so it was a good performance.
“We stuck together as a team and defended well. It was a bit scrappy at the end but I thought that we defended it well, to see it out.
He concluded: “Hopefully we can get back to back wins now, especially with next week being at home. It will be another good test.”