U21 Match Report | Wigan Athletic 1-2 Cardiff City
Cardiff City's U21 side returned to winning ways with a well-earned victory against the Latics on Monday afternoon.
Taking the lead against a Wigan Athletic side which featured seven first team players in their starting eleven, the young Bluebirds took the lead at 15 minutes thanks to Jack Leahy, before the hosts levelled the score at the half-hour mark.
Starting the second half on level terms, City held out resolutely in defence before Xavier Benjamin headed home in the 90th minute to claim a dramatic late winner in Wigan.
Jack Leahy's early opener saw the winger net with a composed finish, with City almost doubling the lead moments later through Isaac Jefferies, whose headed effort from Morgan Wigley's cross was met by 'keeper Owen Mooney.
The hosts drew level as they pulled a goal back with half an hour played, as Ashley Fletcher fired home following a Wigan corner-kick.
Though up against pressure from the hosts following the interval, City held out well and came close to scoring their second on several occasions.
Cian Ashford, who had troubled the Latics defence throughout the encounter, was disappointed to see his ambitious free-kick from over 25 yards out bounce off the post.
The forward would go on to claim an assist for the visitors with seconds of normal time remaining, as his cross whipped in delightfully for City skipper Benjamin to head home from close range.
Defending well throughout injury time, the Bluebirds secured an impressive three points on the road, having defeated a senior opposing side.
FINAL SCORE: WIGAN ATHLETIC 1-2 CARDIFF CITY
Wigan Athletic: Mooney, Lloyd, Carragher, Pearce, Bennett, Adeeko, Cousins, Edwards, McHugh, Aasgaard, Fletcher. Subs: Adams, Chentouf, Stones, Mitchell, Brennan.
Cardiff City: Turner, Semenyo, Keeping, Trialist, Benjamin (Capt), Antwi, Colwill, Ashford, Wigley, Leahy, Jefferies. Subs: Davies, Dennis, Hughes, Crole, Conte.
Following the final whistle, U21s Manager Darren Purse discussed the result:
“To a man, we were excellent,” began Darren. “We worked so much harder than we had in the last couple of games, and they’ve set a level that they now need to reach on a game-by-game basis. The workrate and effort was exceptional, and some of the play that we produced was really good, so they need to keep to those levels going forwards.
“It was great to see the togetherness in the squad. When Xavier scored the winner, you could see what it meant to everyone in the squad, including the subs who came on to do their bit for the team.
“It was a great performance; the boys had clearly taken on board everything that Matthew Bloxham and myself had said to them with how we wanted to play this one out, and it was a thoroughly deserved result.”