U21 Match Report | Haverfordwest County 0-4 Cardiff City
Cardiff City’s U21 side secured their spot in the Third Round of the Nathaniel MG Cup on Sunday afternoon, following a dominant performance against Haverfordwest County.
Cian Ashford’s double brace proved the difference between the two sides in Pembrokeshire, with the forward netting two in each half.
City started on the front foot and never let up their pressure on and off the ball, creating chances early on and frequently afterwards. Caleb Hughes shot from the edge of the area tested the ‘keeper early on, before Josh Beecher’s strike went wide of the far post.
On the quarter-hour mark, Cian struck home for his first of the afternoon. Morgan Wigley’s dangerous low cross wasn’t quite cleared, and rose high inside the area. Striking the ball in the air, Ashford’s effort flew between the ‘keeper’s gloves and into the back of the net, putting City deservedly ahead.
The hosts had their biggest chance of the match in the minutes following, as a loose pass was pounced upon inside City’s half. However, skipper Xavier Benjamin did well to cut out the threat quickly, tackling, and regaining possession before passing the ball away from danger.
Ashford bagged a brace with the visitors’ next chance, finishing well following a quick counter beginning at the halfway line. Moments later, his shot from a throughball went just wide of the post, denying him a hat-trick within the first 30 minutes of the match.
Before the half was out, both Joel Colwill and Kyle Kenniford came close to netting, with shots just about being kept out by the hosts.
City made an immediate impact following the interval, as they extended their lead once again. Colwill drove forwards with purpose before sliding through a terrific pass for Ashford to latch onto. Retaining his focus in a one-on-one, the forward picked his spot well and sent his shot home to secure his hat-trick.
The double brace was earned with 25 minutes remaining, who once again finished well from a dangerous Wigley cross.
With substitute Cody Twose’s crossbar-bound strike coming the closest to adding a fifth in the remainder, City controlled their lead well throughout, holding the hosts to minimal time on the ball and securing a clean sheet on their way into the Third Round of the Nathaniel MG Cup.
FINAL SCORE: HAVERFORDWEST COUNTY 0-4 CARDIFF CITY U21
Cardiff City: Thomas, Semenyo, Beecher (Barton 64’), Kenniford (Mafico 73’), Benjamin, Giles, Jefferies (Johnson 64’), Colwill, Wigley (Nyakuhwa 64’), Ashford, Hughes (Twose 73’). Subs not used: Armstrong.
Following the final whistle, U21s Manager Darren Purse shared his thoughts on the result:
"I'm happy with the performance," Darren began. "I thought that our patterns of play and movements between box-to-box were excellent, and we should've finished the match with more, from the amount of opportunities that we had around the penalty area.
"We've got plenty to work on, but we're happy to be through to the next round. We entered the Welsh Cup to give the boys experience playing against more physical sides, and to be a test for them. Today wasn't at the level that we may have expected, but we're happy to get through.
"We played some really good stuff today, and now it's up to the boys to take this into our PDL fixtures and against other Cup opposition in the next round, trusting the process that we're putting them through at the moment."