Cardiff City U18 5 - 1 Man Utd U18
The lure of Manchester United probably had as much as anything to do with a crowd that was at least three times bigger than any other I had seen at Treforest for an Academy turning up on a beautiful morning (it was so hot that the players had a break in either half to take on drinks) to see City gain what must be their most prestigious win since they joined the Academy system.
However, they didn't look likely winners in a first half which saw United take the lead with a header from a corner and hold on to their advantage pretty comfortably before having another goal disallowed for offside.
It was a different story after the break though as James Upcott and Jon Brown switched positions. I have only ever seen Brown play in wide positions before today, but he changed the game when he switched to a striking role. Brown ran the United centrebacks ragged and this played a part in City establishing a dominance in the early stages of the second half. it took a while for the equaliser to come, but it was worth the wait with Brown scoring a lovely solo goal as he beat two defenders before firing past the keeper.
Ten minutes later City were in front when their sub no. 16 (don't know his name I'm afraid) scored from close range and, frankly, after that it was one way traffic as City could have ended up with more than the five goals they did get.
The third goal came from a Jack Carlisle penalty as Brown was brought down by a wild hack from a defender who may have been annoyed by a shout from the crowd that Brown had got the United defenders by the bollox (whoever shouted it was right though!) and, within minutes, captain Brad Middleton had headed in a corner gained after the rampant Brown had forced a great save from the United keeper.
James Upcott completed the scoring with a close range goal and the final whistle was greeted with loud applause from the big crowd most of whom (there were a fair few United shirts present!) had enjoyed a great win for the City lads.
I would not usually pick out individuals after such a fine win, but mention has to be of Jon Brown (again!) who, on this evidence, looks like he could have a fine future as a striker.
Speaking after the game Utd's coach Paul McGuinness told MUTV
"I'm very disappointed. In the first half we were totally in control and looked like we should have had more goals. But in the second half we folded. It was a very poor performance."
"I don't think it was the weather. It was the attitude of our players - they showed a lack of character. It was a big disappointment and those performances put doubts in everyone's minds.
"They'd better improve. If they continue folding as easily as they did in the second half then they won't have a career in football.
"They need to know [the levels they showed today] are not the standards required to be a professional footballer... certainly not at Manchester United."
Well done City.