Holden ‘hugely proud and honoured’ to take lead
Posted: Monday, July 6th 2020
Monday, February 19th 2018
A stunning second-half strike from Cameron Allen ensured a 1-0 win over their Cardiff City U23 counterparts at Failand.
The Development League fixture was a tight affair but the young Robins had the better of the second-half chances and found the crucial breakthrough as the Severnside Derby neared its conclusion.
The victory means consecutive wins for Luke Williams' side and their third game without defeat in all competitions.
Concerned officials pondered over whether the game should go ahead due to the thick fog but it soon disappeared and in time for kick-off too.
Gary O'Neil captained the side as he got more game time under his belt while he continues his return to full fitness. Striker Arnold Garita also marked his first competitive game of football for two months, as he returns from a hamstring injury.
The first period lacked many clear-cut chances but the Welsh visitors thought they had opened up the City defence when Mark Harris slipped in Ogo Obi, only to be greeted by a raised flag for offside.
It took City almost half an hour before getting into the match when they launched a dangerous attack down the right-wing with Peter Kioso and Opi Edwards. They couldn't capitalise when the ball was played into the box but it was a brighter spell of play for the hosts.
It was the Bluebirds who ended the first half on top however, with the home side having Harvey Smith to thank for putting off Danny Rowe as he went to shoot, before Alhaji Sesay got down smartly to deny Harris at his near post.
There were calls for a late first-half penalty though, when Tom Richards went down under pressure; O'Neil had done well to strike a fierce cross back into the box beforehand but the referee was not interested in the appeals which followed.
Garita was then played in but his shot lacked conviction and was saved by Bluebirds keeper Max Johnstone to keep the half-time score at 0-0.
Paul McKay wasted Cardiff City's best chance to open the scoring after he leapt unchallenged, as he connected with a corner but he could only place his header well wide of Sesay's goal.
Kioso was called into action as he timed a vital sliding clearance to perfection before Sesay did well again to tip a shot from Rhys Healey wide at his near post.
City weathered the storm and could have gone ahead through substitute Tyreeq Bakinson but he got his feet in a muddle when he looked odds-on to score a tap in after good work from George Nurse on the left-wing.
But City were ahead not long after, courtesy of Allen's perfectly placed strike. A deep cross was aimed towards the back post, where the ball was kept alive by Bakinson. He picked out Allen on the edge of the area who sent a delightful, curling effort into the far corner, beyond the diving Johnstone to give the Robins the lead.
Richards went close to a doubling the host's lead just one minute later but his close-range effort produced a fine save from Johnstone.
Bakinson tried his luck at the death after finding some space down the right but his low effort was tipped wide by Johnstone before the full-time whistle confirmed all three points for the Robins.
U23s head coach Williams said: "It's always good to win and we're happy as well to get two clean sheets from two games."
"Garita got game time as well as he needed to get out on the pitch to try and build up his stamina so that he can reach the full 90 minutes in the near future."
He was also pleased with the decisive goal from Allen, adding: "It was a real quality strike! He's dug that one out from somewhere and it was a quality finish."
Bristol City U23s: Sesay, Kioso, Turner-Williams, Smith, Baldwin, O'Neil (Morton), Richards, Holden, Nurse, Edwards (Allen), Garita (Bakinson). Subs: Wollacott, Akpobire.
Cardiff City: Johnstone, Coxe, Abbruzzese, Rowe, Brown, McKay, Davison-Miller, Evans, Healey, Harris, Obi. Subs: Young, Burnwood, Humphries, Sharif, Margetson.
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