Anthony Wright over the moon to reach Nathaniel MG Cup quarter-finals

20th September 2023


Coach Anthony Wright was "over the moon" with the experience and the result for his Swansea City Under-21s' side after they reached the quarter-finals of the Nathaniel MG Cup with a penalty shootout victory over their Cardiff City counterparts.

The third-round tie had ended 1-1, with the Swans were well-deserving of their first-half lead through Maliq Cadogan's smart finish, while the visitors had Kyle Kenniford dismissed before the interval for two bookable offences.

But, despite numerous opportunities to extend their lead, the young Swans found visiting keeper Jake Dennis in inspired form and Kieron Evans finished off a counter-attacking move to level the scores with 20 minutes to go and ultimately send the tie to penalties. 

But the Swans were perfect from the spot, scoring all five, while goalkeeper Evan Watts made himself the hero when he saved Finlay Johnson's spot-kick to send the Swans into the next round.

And Wright felt the occasion, and the manner in which the game unfolded, would have given us players so much when it comes to their long-term development.

"It was a game that was going to have loads of different emotions, because of who we were playing and the fact it was at the stadium. From a development point of view for the players, I’m over the moon," said Wright.

"I spoke to their manager, Darren Purse, and we agreed what both sets of players will have taken from that game will be brilliant.

"Obviously it was a bit frustrating at times. Cardiff came with a game plan to frustrate us, sit off us and protect the middle of the pitch, and the learning for us from the first half is that we didn’t move the ball quickly enough.

"We tried to force it a few times, but we scored a goal and we could have had one or two more in the first half had we taken our chances.

"I think overall they will have got loads out of that.

Swansea City U21s win on penalties

"For us, we’ve taken a lot of learning from tonight’s game and that’s the most important thing. We’ve also won the game. 

"What the players have had out of playing against 10 men who try to frustrate us, going through on penalties, it’s all learning.

"Part of our job is to give these players these experiences so that they can be better for it.

"Playing at the stadium has been great for the players. I think the bigger pitch suits us with the style of play, so I think that’s seven or eight in a row that we’ve won here – long may that continue.

"I don’t think the game had that bit of spice that we were probably expecting, but that was probably down to Cardiff’s game plan – and there’s nothing wrong with that – they came to frustrate us and sit in a block, which does slow the game down.

"But from our point of view it was a brilliant night for our players and their development."