Report | Swansea City Under-21s 1 Cardiff City Under-21s 1 (5-3 penalties)
Swansea City Under-21s sealed their place in the quarter-finals of the Nathaniel MG Cup by beating 10-man Cardiff City Under-21s on penalties at the Swansea.com Stadium.
The Swans were well-deserving of their first-half lead when Maliq Cadogan finished smartly at the near post and, when Cardiff's Kyle Kenniford was sent off for two bookable offences just before half-time, looked to be well on top.
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 of their penalties, while Evan Watts made himself the hero in goals when he saved Finlay Johnson's spot-kick to send the Swans into the next round.
There were two changes to the Swans starting XI, with Ben Lloyd and Cameron Congreve replacing Zane Myers and Richard Faakye. The latter missed out on the squad through injury while Myers took up a place on the bench. Filip Lissah was named captain for the first time.
The Swans got off to the better start without creating many clear-cut chances. They kept the ball well around the edge of the Cardiff box, but the visitors presented a well-organised unit and carried a threat on the break.
Lissah made a vital touch to prevent a through-ball releasing James Crole, before a last-ditch sliding interception from Kai Ludvigsen prevented Vontae Daley-Campbell’s cross from reaching the two Cardiff players waiting to tap in at the back post.
The Swans took the lead midway through the half when Liam Smith’s delicate through ball found the run of Cadogan. The forward initially looked like he’d taken too heavy a touch, but produced a deft finish over the keeper from a very narrow angle.
And the Swans had chances to extend their lead. Congreve was brought down just outside the box which earned Kenniford a yellow card and gave Mitchell Bates the chance to drill an effort at goal. He forced visiting keeper Dennis into a very good stop down to his right.
Lloyd’s cutback was almost turned in by Kyrell Wilson, before a Wilson cross was almost turned in by defender Joshua Beecher.
Sam Parker’s first-time effort after meeting a drilled corner delivery was narrowly over the crossbar, while Cardiff’s best chance came with captain Joel Colwill, who put the ball wide while sliding in at the back post.
Kenniford then earned his marching orders right on half-time when he lunged in on Wilson to up a second yellow.
With the man advantage, the home side dominated much of the second half, creating chance after chance but frustratingly unable to find the back of the net.
An inch-perfect cross-field pass by Congreve released Cadogan who, after a couple of stepovers, unleashed an effort which was blocked behind for a corner.
The resulting corner fell to Congreve, who blasted an effort towards the near post, but a combination of Dennis and the woodwork kept the ball out and sent it spinning along the goal line before Freddie Cook managed to hook it away.
Smith’s deflected shot from the edge of the box was well-stopped, and Lloyd put the ball agonisingly over after meeting another excellent chipped pass by Congreve at the back post.
Dennis then produced another fantastic stop to deny Wilson’s effort with his head from point-blank range.
With 20 minutes remaining, Cardiff hit the home side on the break. Crole played a smart pass into the path of Evans who curled beyond Watts.
In the closing stages, Lissah headed wide from Congreve’s free-kick while, at the other end, Cian Ashford sliced wide from the edge of the box.
The Swans had the best of the possession but they weren't able to find the all-important winner, and the tie went to penalties.
The Swans were perfect from the spot, converting all five of their efforts, while Watts dived the right way to deny Cardiff substitute Finlay Johnson and send the Swans through to the quarter-finals.
Swansea City Under-21s: Evan Watts, Sam Parker, Kian Jenkins, Mitchell Bates, Filip Lissah (captain) (Harry Jones 90+3), Kai Ludvigsen, Liam Smith, Cameron Congreve, Kyrell Wilson (Kristian Fletcher 67’), Ben Lloyd (Joe Thomas 67’), Maliq Cadogan.
Unused Substitues: Ben Hughes, Zane Myers, Ruben Davis, Dan Watts.
Cardiff City Under-21s: Jake Dennis, Vontae Dale-Campbel, Joshua Beecher (Cody Twose 45’), Luey Giles, Malachi Fagan-Walcott, Freddie Cook, Cian Ashford, Kyle Kenniford, James Crole, Joel Colwill (captain) (Finlay Johnson 90+7’), Kieron Evans.
Subs: Joe Thomas, Will Spiers, Tanatswa Nyakuhwa, Dakarai Mafico, Daniel Barton.