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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Thursday, March 29th 2018

Report: Swansea City U23s 4-2 Bristol City U23s

City’s Premier League Cup run has come to an end after a 4-2 last-16 defeat against Swansea City.

The Swans struck three quick goals in the minutes before and after half time, with a fourth making the tie a much tougher contest for City at the Landore Training Ground.

Luke Williams’ side staged a late fightback, courtesy of an own goal and substitute Cameron Allen’s strike but it came too little, too late.

Winger Callum O’Dowda was named in the starting XI, getting an hour under his belt to mark his first competitive appearance since damaging his ankle on first-team duties against Hull City in November.

A BRIGHT START FOR BOTH TEAMS

And the Republic of Ireland international started brightly in a fast-paced opening to this knockout fixture, showing some nice touches in the early stages before he fired a free kick narrowly off target.

Swans striker Botti Biati posed a constant threat and should have put the hosts ahead when he guided the ball wide.

Jojo Wollacott then did well to deny the forward from close range, while at the other end the referee rejected calls for a push on Rory Holden, just inside the penalty area.

George Dowling saw a well-struck free kick parried away by Swansea keeper Gregor Zarbet before defender Tin Plavotic drilled a follow-up cross which the hosts had to clear.

SWANS DOUBLE

Just when it appeared City would go into half time all level, the Swans struck two goals in as many minutes. First, Biabi latched on to Aaron Lewis’ throw down the right before darting into the box and curling a strike low, beyond Wollacott. The tournament’s defending champions then made it 2-0 as Kenji Gorre dispatched a 20-yard free kick into the far corner.

And Biabi completed his brace shortly into the second half. The official on the far side lifted his flag to indicate a free kick but the referee played the advantage to Swansea and Biabi steered the ball beyond Wollacott.

While City would have been frustrated by the manner of the third goal, the fourth converted strike was well-worked by Daniel James on the right, whose cross was turned home by Adnan Maric.

CITY FIGHT ON

It meant City faced a much more difficult test in the final 25 minutes but they refused to go down without a fight.

An own goal sparked the start of the mini comeback as Allen’s free kick picked out the boot of Swansea’s Ben Cabango, who steered the ball beyond Zabret.

The development squad then halved the deficit as Allen danced into the area before getting his shot away. It clipped off the keeper and the post before crossing the line, as a defender ran close to hooking it away.

City piled on the pressure in the closing minutes and given another ten minutes or so, it felt they could have been looking at taking the game to extra time.

But it was not to be as Swansea welcomed the full-time whistle to secure their spot in the next round.

City Under-23s: Wollacott, Ali, Smith, Parsons, Plavotic (Day 75), O'Dowda (Akpobire 60), Bakinson, Richards, Holden, Nurse, Dowling (Allen 75). Subs not used: Carey, Harrison.