U23 Match Report: Birmingham City 2-1 Cardiff City
Cardiff City’s U23 side suffered a narrow defeat to an experienced Birmingham City in the Professional Development League at St. Andrew's.
Max Watters’ fifth goal in three U23 games sadly wasn’t enough for the visitors on Monday night.
Steve Morison made five changes from last time out, including starts for strikers Mark Harris and Watters.
The Bluebirds got off to a strong start and came close after eight minutes. Forward Harris’ curler from the edge of the box was just about saved by Andrés Prieto.
With both teams hunting for the opener, the Blues were denied 13 minutes later. On loan from Southampton, Yan Valery attempted from close range, only to see his strike saved well.
One minute into first-half added time, the home side snuck the game’s first goal. Australia U23 international Riley McGree found the net from range.
After the interval, City looked for an equaliser and nearly got it with 57 minutes on the clock. Kieron Evans’ distanced strike was stopped by 27-year-old Prieto.
Cardiff City deservedly levelled the score after 72 minutes. 21-year-old Watters beat onrushing Prieto to the ball, directing it into the back of net from the edge of the box.
The Bluebirds came close to taking the lead just four minutes later. Jack Bodenham rose high to head the ball on target, only for experienced Prieto to save.
Birmingham City’s Seddon hit the crossbar with ten minutes of the 90 remaining. Four minutes later, they regained their lead through an own goal.
City pushed for another equaliser, but were unable to find it and the hosts took all three points.
U23 FINAL SCORE: BIRMINGHAM CITY 2-1 CARDIFF CITY
Birmingham City: Prieto, Valery, Clarke-Salter, Dacres-Cogley, Seddon, San José (Campbell 77’), Hurst, Simmonds, McGree, Leko (George 62’), Cosgrove (Reid 62’). Subs not used: Jeacock, Bajrami.
Cardiff City: Trialist, Pritchard, Trialist, Patten (d’Almeida 64’), Trialist, Bodenham, Davies, Tomlin, Harris, Watters, Evans. Subs not used: Reynolds, Cogman, Jones.
Speaking after the match, Steve Morison gave his thoughts to cardiffcityfc.co.uk.
“It was a really tough game,” said Steve. “They were near enough playing a first team, but the lads stood up really well, our shape was killing us in the first-half, so we changed it and got back in the game - we just couldn’t hold on, there were poor decisions and we conceded another goal.
“We’re here to learn, get better and we can learn a lot from the game: the lads have had a good test, that’s the level and environment they want to get playing at all the time.
“We had a mixed bag of U18, U23 and First Team players and just need to concentrate in those moments, being better with our clearances, passing in midfield, making the right decisions more often than not and we’ll come on from that."