U23 Match Report | Cardiff City 1-1 Swansea City
Cardiff City's U23 side fought back to secure a draw against Swansea City on Tuesday afternoon, thanks to Keenan Patten's second-half equaliser.
U23s Manager Darren Purse made several changes to the starting lineup that featured against Ipswich Town last time out, with First Team players Max Watters and Rubin Colwill stepping into the side.
Despite a promising opening to proceedings, the visitors took the lead in the 9th minute through Jaden Forrester's penalty-kick following a foul by Patten, which sent 'keeper George Ratcliffe the wrong way.
Under pressure for periods throughout the first half, City had few chances for themselves as they fought off the visitors' attacks. Growing in confidence as the half wore on, however, chances presented themselves for striker Watters, whose shot towards the end of the first half challenged 'keeper Nico Hansen into making a good save.
Coming back onto the pitch for the second half, City applied themselves to press on every corner of the pitch, subduing the Swans for long periods of play.
The Bluebirds were able to equalise just past the hour mark, as Patten's downwards header bounced past Hansen's reach from Kieron Evans' terrific free-kick delivery.
Five minutes later, the visitors were given another penalty-kick, this time following Ibrahim Bakare's unfortunate handball inside the area. This time, however, Ratcliffe went the right way against Forrester, and dived well to stop the shot in its tracks, denying the visitors a regained lead.
Substitute James Crole stood up well to the challenge posed by the visitors, and matched the higher tempo that the match had picked up from the moment of his introduction.
Threatening with the ball at his feet, the striker paired up well with Evans and Jai Semenyo feeding him through balls, and with five minutes left came the closest to a winner for the hosts. Taking the ball around his marker, Crole advanced quickly towards the area, but struck just wide of the far post, with the 'keeper unable to stop the effort.
Keeping up the attack for the remainder, City's last chance of the afternoon came with seconds of injury time remaining. Colwill struck from close range from Evans' corner-kick, with the ball rebounding away before cannoning off Crole's leg, going out for a goal kick.
Having upped the ante in the second half with a determined home performance, the Bluebirds added another point to their tally with the blowing of the final whistle.
U23 FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 1-1 SWANSEA CITY
Cardiff City U23: Ratcliffe, Semenyo, Bagan, King, Bakare (Jones 69'), Denham, Colwill, Bowen, Watters (Crole 69'), Patten, Evans. Subs not used: Kavanagh, Turner, Leahy.
Following the final whistle, Darren Purse spoke to Cardiff City TV to discuss the performance against the Swans:
"In the second half I thought that we stepped onto it," said Darren. "We forced them into errors at the back and showed a bit more creativity on the ball.
"Giving them a penalty kick in the first half gave them an impetus, once they'd taken the lead, demanding that we do more with the ball to get back on level terms.
"They had a few chances from counterattacking in that second half, which was to be expected when we're taking the game to them a bit more and keeping that press up as we did. George Ratcliffe's penalty save made a difference, as did another save that he pulled off just beforehand.
"Overall I'm happy with a point, but I feel that if we'd not conceded that early goal then we could have gone on to win the match convincingly, given how well we performed at times today."