U23 Professional Development League
Team: Dieng, Petrasso, Robinson, Finney, Wallen (Chair), Paul, Bowler (Clarke), Rowe, Oteh, Eze, Hamalainen (Williams)
Sub Not Used: Herdman
The first batch of team sheets included the Charlton Athletic line-up for some reason, but the correct player’s details were distributed soon after.
Captain for the day was No.4 Josh Wallen, and it was good to see that Jack Robinson was in the starting line-up. No Reece Grego-Cox unfortunately, but in his place at centre-forward was a trialist (?) Aramide Oteh.
Cardiff keenly pressed us from the outset, but the R’s patiently stuck to their game plan with good movement, spraying the ball around nicely, looking for the gaps, but not resorting to hoofing the ball upfield.
The first Rangers goal came after 7 minutes when Aramide Oteh seized upon a through ball and slotted the ball home.
A very dangerous, long, over-the-top ball sent a Cardiff player to the bye-line who then squared the ball into the box. Tim Seny Dieng parried the first shot and the follow-up was well blocked by a defender.
Mark Harris, the Bluebirds centre-forward, suffered a gash to his head close to us near the touch-line. He was down for some time and his wound required a bandage. Before returning to the field, the referee made a point of telling him that the challenge had been accidental.
Josh Bowler went on a run down the right-wing, before cutting in and firing his shot just over the crossbar,
The visitors went close to an equalizer after a misunderstanding between the Rangers keeper and Chris Paul, which resulted in Harris knocking the ball just wide of the far post.
Following a corner, Luke O’Reilly managed to save Michael Petrasso’s effort from close range with his legs. Half-time: 1-0.
One of the best moments of the match came seconds after the break when the impressive Eberechi Eze took off on an outstanding run through midfield.
Beating players en route and despite being fouled (and well done to Mr. Rathbone for waving play on), the ball fell to Danny Rowe, whose exquisite dummy in the box left the Cardiff defender on his backside. He then coolly placed his shot wide of the keeper!
Following a great move down the right flank, Josh Bowler fired a shot low across the face of the goal which appeared to clip the outside of the far post.
A like-for-like switch was made after 62 minutes when Jack Williams came on for Niko Hamalainen.
Tim Seny Dieng wasn’t being troubled too much, but he was forced into making a superb one-handed flying save from a curling free kick.
After 71 minutes Josh Bowler made way for Ruudi Clarke and 3 minutes later Paul Hall introduced 19-year-old attacking midfielder llias Chair at the expense of Josh Wallen. Chair was previously with Lierse SK and was signed up at the end of January.
Chris Paul ‘s superb long-range 30-yarder bounced down from the underside of the bar and momentarily looked as if the referee had awarded a goal.
Michael Petrasso didn’t always look comfortable at full-back, but I was really pleased to see Jack Robinson get 90 odd minutes under his belt. Generally it was a very good all-round team performance.
Mick Harford was spotted and as for the Harlington Crew they included; Dec and Kell, Keith Davies, Ron Hill, Sammy and Roger Stokes.