Draws for both academy teams

Last updated : 06 September 2004 By Michael Morris
Review from Paul Evans

The under 16s and under 18s played at the same times on pitches nearly 100 yards apart so it was really a case of watching one game or the over. We chose to watch the Under 18's and when there was a break in play I would look over to see what was happening in the other match.

Both matches finished 1-1 and followed a similar pattern with us taking the lead and Palace clawing back an equaliser around a quarter of an hour later. I was lucky enough to see both of the goals in the Under 16 match as well as those in my "main game" in the Under 18 match.

Michael Hartley finished a fluent move down the left hand side seconds before half time to put the Under 18's into the lead, while the Under 16.s scored a messy looking goal which, from my view miles away, seemed to come about when the Palace keeper fumbled a corner into his own net. Worryingly, the two equalisers came from the traditional Cardiff City inability to defend crosses - to be fair to the Under 18's mind, Palace's goal did come from a high quality cross from their right which meant that Craig Attard in goal was powerless to stop a header from six yards out, whereas the Under 16's allowed a free header from a corner to be directed to another unmarked player who nodded home from point blank range.

I can't comment about the Under 16's, but a draw was a fair outcome for the Under 18 game. After a very quiet first 25 minutes or so, the City got slightly on top to just shade the first half. The second half was more open and entertaining - although City certainly had their chances to add to their goal, Palace struck me as a little better than us after the break.

I had seen four of the City team play for the reserves, but it was enlightening to see them play against players of the same age. To give two examples, I have seen Ryan Morgan (who captained the team yesterday) come on to play as a sub at right back for the reserves and, to be frank, I have not been too impressed. However, at this level, he looked a dominant, confident and commanding centre back who seems to have a good future in the game. On the other hand, Joe Ledley has been able to show some of his quality when playing for the reserves and he certainly did again yesterday, but the difference I saw in him was a physical one in that, where he looks a fairly slight and not that tall figure playing for the reserves, yesterday you saw that, for his age, he is pretty tall and strong.

To mention a few individuals besides those I have done already - I thought the best thing about the City team was their defence where Dominic Dwyer at right back (don't think he was any relation - he certainly didn't look like Joe!) did a good job and central defender Lloyd Jenkins was a no nonense performer who made one excellent clearance off the line.

However, If I had to name one player that really impressed me (particularly in the first half) it was the composed Joe Jacobson at left back. He first impressed with his constructive passing and his good anticipation, but, as the game went on, you could also see that he had strength and could tackle and the fact that he was willing to have a couple of shots from thirty yards out (with no great success mind!) suggests he can hit a ball as well. Perhaps he tired a little, but Jacobson wasn't quite as good after the break, but he and Ledley certainly did enough to show why they had trained with the first team when so many of the squad were away on International duty a few weeks ago.

One last thing, the facility at Treforest was very impressive with plenty of excellent and well maintained pitches. Looking at it made me understand why Robbo in particular has gone on so much about the club needing their own training ground.