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U21s Come From Behind to Win at Cardiff
Tuesday, 5th Mar 2024 15:04

Ipswich Town’s U21s came from a goal down at half-time to beat Cardiff City 3-1 at the Cardiff International Sports Stadium this afternoon with Jacob Mazionis, Rio Oudnie-Morgan and Tom Taylor on the scoresheet.

Leon Ayinde should have put the Blues in the lead after only two minutes having been sent away on the right of the box, but the former Cork City youngster shot across the face and wide.

On nine, Republic of Ireland international Callum Robinson, making his return from injury and playing the first 45 minutes, forced Town keeper Charlie Binns to turn the ball behind with a sharp stop at his right post.

And a minute later, the home side went in front. After Daniel O’Connor had lost possession on the edge of his own box, the Blues repeatedly failed to clear and Joel Colwill exchanged passes with Raheem Conte and shot across Binns from the edge of the area to the right, finding the far the corner of the net.

Binns saved from Robinson again on 13, the former Preston and West Brom man having been played in on the right of the area before hitting a low shot which the keeper saved with his feet. The linesman’s flag had been raised in any case.

The home side, with the experienced Robinson causing more than a few problems, continued to take the game to the Blues and on 22 Conte curled over from the edge of the box.

Three minutes later, full-back Daniel Babb, who joined the Blues from League of Ireland UCD in January, cut inside from the right but his shot lacked power and Cardiff keeper Luke Armstrong claimed with little fanfare. Moments later, Conte scuffed an effort wide from just outside the area having found space.

As the game reached the half-hour mark, Cardiff broke quickly and Luey Giles cut back from the left to Colwill, who shot over under pressure from Babb.

On 35, Colwill curled a shot only just wide of Binns’s left post after a slick passing build-up from the Bluebirds.

Town were forced into a change in the 39th minute when Matty Roberts was replaced by Oudnie-Morgan.

Three minutes later, Jai Semenyo blazed over after the Blues had given the ball away in their own area as they sought to pass their way out following a Cardiff attack. It was a decent chance that the full-back would rue.

A minute for the break, Emmanuel Okunowo did well to create a chance for Town number nine Taylor but the Blues’ U18s captain’s shot was blocked.

The Blues were ending what overall had been a disappointing half more brightly and shortly before the whistle, Ayinde cut back to Oudnie-Morgan, but the Northern Ireland U19 international’s first touch was too heavy and Armstrong was able to close down and block his shot.

The 1-0 half-time scoreline was a fair reflection of the game at that stage with the Bluebirds having had enough chances to increase that lead.

However, Town got back on terms two minutes after the restart. Oudnie-Morgan won a free-kick on the right, 30 yards out, and sent the set piece into the box and centre-half Mazionis nodded home from close range.

And two minutes later, Town went in front. Ayinde sent Oudnie-Morgan away on the left, the forward broke into the area, cut onto his right foot and hit a low shot past Armstrong and into the net.

The Blues had turned the game around in the first four minutes of the second period and on 57 Oudnie-Morgan curled a brilliant effort from the edge of the area to the right off the crossbar.

Town hit the woodwork again in the 62nd minute, Okonowo, again impressive in the Blues midfield, picking up a loose pass and bringing the ball forward before hitting a low 20-yard effort beyond Armstrong but off the foot of the post.

The Blues had been on top since their quick-fire double just after the break but on 63, Cardiff sub Tanatswa Nyakuhwa found space on the right of the box but saw both his first and second efforts, the latter from a very tight angle, blocked.

On 71, after Morgan Wigley had been booked for a foul on Oudnie-Morgan, Jesse Nwabueze replaced Matt Ward for the Blues. Moments later, Taylor hit a low shot from the edge of the box but too close to Armstrong.

Town were forced into another change in the 76th minute when Ayinde limped off having undergone treatment on the pitch and Chuks Uzor-Greey took over.

Two minutes after the change, the Blues made it 3-1. A looping ball was played over the top for Oudnie-Morgan, it struck the Town forward as he battled with two defenders and then fell to Taylor, who stabbed home via a deflection.

In the penultimate scheduled minute, Colwill exchanged passes with Giles and broke into the left of the box but scuffed his shot through to Binns.

That was the last action before the referee ended an entertaining game, the Blues having turned the game around via their two goals soon after the break.

Oudnie-Morgan was instrumental in that pivotal period of the game having come close soon after coming off the bench at the end of the first half, assisting one and scoring the other, while Taylor battled away up front and took his chance when it came, Oudnie-Morgan having again played a part.

Having been second best in the first period, the Blues, who are coached by John McGreal and David Wright, upped their game in the second and deserved their victory.

The U21s are next in action when they take on Watford at University College London in 10 days’ time.

Town: Binns, Babb, H Barbrook, Mazionis, O’Connor, Turner, Ward (Nwabueze 71), Okunowo, T Taylor, Roberts (Oudnie-Morgan 39), Ayinde (Uzor-Greey 76). Unused: Iorpenda, Fleischer.

Photo: Matchday Images

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