After losing their first three matches in new Academy set up, the Under 18’s included Development team regulars Declan John and Theo Wharton in the starting line up for this morning’s game with Brentford at Treforest and they both played their parts in helping the side secure a comfortable 3-0 victory.
Like many of the sides the Under 18’s come up against, Brentford enjoyed a significant height advantage, but in terms of ability and pace, they were distinctly second best to a Cardiff side that probably should have won by a bigger margin. Right from the outset, City were causing the visitors problems with their speed on the counter attack with winger Tyler Roche in particular featuring prominently. Roche had already caused havoc down Brentford’s left with a fifty yard run which ended with a cross which only just eluded Gethyn Hill when he again combined with the striker in the fourth minute. This time, Hill got around keeper Taylor, but his effort was cleared off the line only for it to fall into the path of midfield player Robbie Pattern who, just as he did for much of the hour he was on the pitch, had burst forward to support the lone striker and he planted a shot from about twelve yards into the corner of the net.
Within minutes Hill might have done better than head a John corner into the side netting, but with City carving out chances galore it seemed inevitable that further goals would come. Captain Jaye Bowen, Wharton, Hill, again, John and Ben Watkins all got efforts of varying quality at goal as Brentford battled to get a foothold in the game, but they they conceded again on seventeen minutes when Roche, who had switched wings with Bowen by this time, cut in from the left after being found by Wharton and beat Taylor on his near post with a shot that, in truth, didn’t seem to be too well struck.
Although Hill came close on a few more occasions and really should have scored when he was found by Roche after the Brentford defence had got itself into a right mess as they tried to play out from the back, City never really recaptured the intensity and precision of much of their early build up play – they still looked threatening on the break at times, but the final pass was not as good as it had been earlier and the visitors, who must have feared they were going to get absolutely swamped at one time were able to force keeper Liam Matthews into action a few times in the latter stages of a first half which finished with City two goals up.
The pattern continued for much of the second half and, although City always looked pretty comfortable, that situation might have changed if Brentford had been able to get the goal that they probably deserved for the way they battled back into the game. However, all of this came after Taylor had presented Hill with another chance following his poor goal kick on fifty minutes and this time he scored with a cool finish that he dinked over the advancing keeper.
City did get a few chances to add to their tally, notably when two subs combined as a superb run past three defenders by Brad Wickham ended with Dane Griffiths firing wide and when Griffiths crossed for Hill to head not too far over, but there were to be no more goals and the match finished with a three goal winning margin – there were times when it looked like it would be a lot more than that, but I’m sure City will take this after those three defeats to start with.
Finally, the Under 16’s managed to make it a winning double with a 2-1 win over their Brentford counterparts on an adjoining pitch.