Under-18s Report | Cardiff City 1 Argyle 1
Argyle’s Under-18s shared the points with Cardiff City as they played out a 1-1 draw in the PDL Cup on Saturday morning.
Caleb Roberts scored a late penalty to ensure the Young Greens came away with a point in what was a tight contest between two evenly matched sides.
Trey George scored Cardiff’s only goal of the game inside the opening ten minutes when the Bluebirds won the ball high-up the pitch and the forward picked out the bottom-corner well.
Jamie Lowry made four changes to the starting line-up that lost away at Newport the previous weekend in the Youth Alliance League.
Sam Lord, Jensen Ireland, Joe Hatch and Cole Fisher dropped out of the team with Harry Shield, Jack Matthews, Fin Wilkes and Freddie Issaka replacing them.
Cardiff came flying out the blocks creating a plethora of chances early on in the game. Eventually, one of these chances was converted and the hosts took the lead on six minutes.
Skipper Tanatswa Nyakuhwa won the ball back for his side inside the Argyle half before sliding in his teammate George who did well to pick out the bottom-right corner, evading the outstretched arm of Dan Holman.
The hosts probably should have doubled their lead in the 12th minute when George stung the palms of Holman, who was only able to spill the ball into the path of Japhet Matondo, whose effort scuffed wide from yards out, fortunately for Argyle.
As the half continued, the young Greens battled their way back into the game, putting Cardiff under pressure as the half drew to a close.
Argyle’s best chance of the half came in the 31st minute after Roberts and Josh Bernard harassed the Cardiff midfield and forced them into a mistake, turning the ball over.
Roberts stormed up the pitch with the ball at his feet before sliding in Issaka, whose effort curled past goalkeeper Armstrong and onto the outside of the right upright, inches away from making it level.
Cardiff nearly stole a second goal just before half-time when Holman was dispossessed well outside of his area by the lively George. However, Argyle’s stopper made amends immediately when he heroically threw his body in front of the shot to deny what seemed to be a certain goal.
Argyle were trailing at the interval but after an initial slow start, the Greens had grown into the game and looked to be gaining the upper hand.
In the 58th minute, the Pilgrims struck the woodwork for the second time in the game when Joe Hatch made an instant impact after coming off the bench just minutes prior.
Hatch chased a long ball into the channel before taking it down elegantly. He turned his man and let rip from the corner of the 18-yard-box. His shot flew through the air and ricocheted off the underside of the crossbar.
Lowry’s side used this as momentum and kept improving as the half ensued, with Issaka being the next to come close, emarking on an impressive solo run but was unable to hit the target with his shot.
With just eight minutes to go, Kieran Edworthy had the best chance of the game to bring Argyle level.
The ball was worked well from inside the Bluebirds’ box and out to the right wing before it was chipped in towards Edworthy who was waiting in the six-yard-box. His header looped over Armstrong but also over the bar, and the Greens continued to trail.
Minutes later Roberts had the chance to level when he was played one-on-one with Armstrong but was only able to curl his effort the wrong side of the post.
The decisive moment came in the last minute of the second half, when Hatch chased a long ball into the Cardiff box. The young striker poked the ball around Armstrong who missed it, instead bringing down Hatch, forcing the referee to award a spot-kick.
Roberts stepped up to take the pressure kick to bring his side level. He placed his penalty down the middle, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way and scoring the equaliser that Argyle deserved.
Not long afterwards, the referee blew his whistle for the final time meaning the game finished 1-1 with both teams picking up a point in the PDL Cup group-stage.
With this result Argyle now have four points from two games in the group stages, with Swansea City still to play next month.
The Pilgrims’ attention will now turn back to the league with a short turnaround before the next Youth Alliance League fixture against Oxford United on Tuesday, 24 October.
Argyle: Dan Holman, Lewis Colwell, Harry Shield, Fin Wilkes, Jack Matthews, Joel Sullivan, Josh Bernard, Caleb Roberts, Kieran Edworthy, Tegan Finn (Joe Hatch 56), Freddie Issaka. Substitutes not used: Jensen Ireland, Cole Fisher.