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Report: Bristol City U23s 2-2 Cardiff City U23s

Sammie Szmodics and Rodri were on the scoresheet as City Under-23s played out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Cardiff City Under-23s in Weston-super-Mare.

Szmodics curled in a delicious opener at the Optima Stadium, before Rodri converted from close range to double City’s lead inside 40 minutes.

The visitors fought back however, as goals from Joel Bagan and Niazana Mayembe either side of half-time levelled the scores.

The two sides pushed hard for a winner in the second half, with Mayembe and Hakeeb Adelakun both hitting the woodwork.

The draw leaves the young Robins seventh in the Professional Development League, after 11 games played.

Korey Smith, on his return from a seven-month long injury lay-off, captained a strong City side which featured several first team members.

Chances were scarce in the opening stages, but the game soon kicked into life in the 28th minute, as Semenyo and Szmodics exchanged a neat one-two, before the latter cut inside and curled in a wonderful right-footed strike into the top corner.

The former-Colchester forward could have added a couple more to his tally in the following moments, failing to convert either of his two opportunities when one-on-one with Cardiff goalkeeper Matt Hall.

The Robins did double their lead on 41 minutes however, as Semenyo’s effort was parried into the path of Rodri, who couldn’t miss from a matter of yards.

Cardiff did manage to half the deficit going into half-time, as good work down the left allowed Bagan to slot home beyond Niki Mäenpää.

Callum Pearson replaced Taylor Moore at the break, but nobody could’ve stopped Mayembe, who drove at the City defence, before bending a fine strike into the bottom corner, equalising for the Bluebirds only four minutes after the restart.

Mayembe was in the thick of the action soon after too, his shot from distance clipping Mäenpää's crossbar as it sailed over.

City’s first chance of the half fell to Tyreeq Bakinson on the hour, as Semenyo weaved through several blue shirts and set up the 21-year-old, but he could only blaze over from the edge of the area.

A quiet period ensued, as City made their second change of the game; Zac Smith replacing his namesake Korey, who banked 70 minutes in his first game since April.

Adelakun’s attempt to restore the hosts’ lead almost paid off 15 minutes from time, but his effort crashed against the bar, much to City’s frustration.

The hosts, finally gathering some momentum, could’ve regained the lead soon after but Semenyo struck the ball straight at Hall from six yards out.

Rodri’s clever finish after 84 minutes looked to have given City a much-needed three points, but the linesman’s flag was raised, and the Spaniard’s goal was instantly ruled out.

City were unable to find a winner late on, despite their efforts, and remain 7th in the table.

The young Robins continue their league campaign away to Crystal Palace on Monday 18th November.

Bristol City v Cardiff City: Mäenpää, Adelakun, Harper, Towler, Baldwin, Moore (C. Pearson 46), K. Smith (Z. Smith 71), Szmodics, Semenyo, Rodri, Bakinson. Subs not used: Sainsbury, Day, Benarous.

Words: James Cox