Season in Review 2022-23 | Swansea City Under-18s
With the 2022-23 Professional Development League season having reached its conclusion, we take a look back over Swansea City Under-18s’ campaign, which was characterised by comebacks and high-scoring games.
The age-grade side finished sixth in the PDL south, picking up 15 points from a possible 18 in their last six games as they mirrored the first team and under-21 squad with a strong finish.
Striker Iwan Morgan finished top scorer with an incredible 28 goals to his name, and claimed four hat-tricks throughout the season.
Season round up
The under-18s kicked off their Professional Development League campaign with defeat away to Barnsley - the reigning PDL North champions - despite Morgan netting his first goal of the season.
The Swans soon found their footing as they claimed their first win of the season away to Sheffield Wednesday. Goals from Geoff Bony and Morgan secured the win as they came from a goal down to snatch the three points.
Defeats to Cardiff, Charlton and Ipswich followed, but the Swans would rebound in fine style, recording back-to-back away wins and clean sheets at Bristol City and Reading.
The under-18s rounded off 2022 with two draws, although secured in very different ways. A 1-1 draw with Watford was followed by sharing the spoils in a 10-goal thriller against Colchester, with Morgan having netted four goals in the opening half.
The New Year brought defeats to Charlton and Colchester, but again the young Swans bounced back as a second-half comeback yielded a thrilling 5-4 win at Queens Park Rangers thanks to a hat-trick from Morgan and further goals from Bony and Yori Griffith.
A draw with Millwall and a dominant 3-1 win over Reading followed, although the reverse fixture against the Lions ended in defeat, as did the second derby meeting with Cardiff.
Five of the next seven league games ended with victories, with Bristol City, Watford, Hull, Queens Park Rangers and Sheffield United all beaten.
There was a setback via defeat to Peterborough, but the strong end to the season saw the Swans finished in style with high-scoring wins over Ipswich (5-3) and Wigan (7-3), with Morgan netting hat-tricks in consecutive appearances.
Two youngsters joined the under-18s set-up this season after completing successful trials.
Sixteen-year-old Arthur Parker signed a two-year scholarship in August 2022. The midfielder spent his youth years at Fulham, and has since been an integral part of the Swans side this season.
February saw the arrival of 16-year-old Jack Fanning, after previously being on the books at Tiverton Town, where he had made his full first-team debut in October 2022 against Poole Town, scoring in the process.
The centre-back rose through the youth ranks at Exeter City, spending eight years within their academy set-up before turning his attention to non-league football.
The Swans saw their Premier League Cup hopes end following a narrow 1-0 loss to Plymouth Argyle back in November, despite a draw and a comfortable win against Bristol City and Exeter City respectively earlier in the group stage.
In the prestigious FA Youth Cup, Swansea City Under-18s travelled north to the Stadium of Light to take on Premier League 2 side Sunderland. The tie had originally been due to take place at Landore Training Ground but had been switched due to a frozen pitch.
After an entertaining first half, with keeper Ewan Griffiths saving a penalty and Josh Carey netting his first goal of the season, the Black Cats hit back in the second half to carry them through to the fourth round with a 2-1 win.
This season has seen several academy scholars represent their nations at numerous prestigious tournaments.
Swansea players represented Wales, Ecaudor, Spain and Sri Lanka.
In March, academy trio Iwan Morgan, Kit Margetson and Jacob Cook helped Wales Under-17s qualify for the Uefa 2023 European Championships thanks to a draw against Montenegro at Dragon Park, and keeper Ewan Griffiths and Cook played a pivotal role in their Elite round qualification back in November.
It marked the first time Wales had qualified for a men’s age-group tournament since 1981, and the first time the under-17s had qualified for a major tournament in their history.
Morgan, Margetson and Cook, as well as team-mate Sam Parker, will represent the young Dragons in the finals in Hungary this month.
Aimar Govea was selected in the Ecuador Under-17s' squad for the 2023 South American Under-17 Championship, and he helped his squad secure World Cup qualification as they finished second in their group.
Sixteen-year-old Govea made his international debut for the south American side back in October against Argentina. He has since earned a call-up with Spain Under-17s for a training camp in December.
Josh Carey and Dan Watts were included in Rob Edwards' Wales Under-19s' squad for an international double-header against Scotland back in March.
Meanwhile, under-18s' goalkeeper Evan Watts joined up with Matty Jones' Wales Under-21s' squad back in September for a training camp in preparation for their Uefa 2024 European qualifiers.
Defender Jada Mawongo, meanwhile, earned a Sri Lankan call-up at first team level, for their training camp in Qatar back in October.
Academy trio Seb Dabrowski, Ben Hughes and Kyrell Wilson secured their futures at Swansea City after signing their first professional contracts at the club, keeping them in SA1 until the end of June 2025.