Cardiff City U21s 1 Bristol City U21s 0: Highlights as eight senior players feature

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How events unfolded at Leckwith Stadium as Bristol City Under-21’s made a losing return to action

Nigel Pearson and his coaching staff were in attendance as they glanced over the eight senior Bristol City players involved in the Under-21’s match against Cardiff City. The Robins played their first Professional Development League match in two months as they resumed their league campaign, following their involvement in the Premier League Cup.

Three players that came on the weekend against Swansea City in the FA Cup started; Joe Williams, Mark Sykes and Sam Bell. Out-of-favour Han-Noah Massengo was also involved, as his exile from the first-team continued. Andy King, Jay Dasilva, Dylan Kadji and Omar Taylor-Clarke meanwhile were unused substitutes and this was their chance to impress the boss.

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As expected, Ali Hines’ side started on the front foot and were dominant in possession, with Massengo going near with a shot from just outside the box. Sam Bell then had several opportunities, first forcing a save from Lewys Benjamin from a tight-angle, before scuffing a shot in a crowded box.

Cardiff bided their time for an opportunity but Stefan Bajic was at last called into action with Jack Leahy forcing him to palm away his shot. The hosts threatened in another attacking phase with Bajic blocking with his body to deny Dakari Mafico who tried to tuck his attempt past him.

Bell and Seb Palmer-Holden forced Benjamin into more problems, as he twice had to save their attempts. Palmer-Holden headed down from Dasivla’s cross, which he expertly saved before denying Bell, who had cut inside and shot from an acute angle from a Williams pass.

Cardiff started the second-half on the front foot and carved several opportunities out of the City defence. The home sides best chance was when Mafico was denied for a second-time, with Bajic blocking his run in at goal.

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King, Williams and Dasilva were all withdrawn after the hour-mark and their exit from the game gave Cardiff their first goal. Leahy played a delightful ball own to Daley-Campbell, who chipped the onrushing goalkeeper.

Despite the withdrawl of three of the senior players, Massengo remained on the pitch with the French midfielder unlikely to get minutes for the first-team. Massengo was dispossesed in the centre of the pitch on several occasions, and had lost his spark that he had shown in the early knockings.

It was an unlargely uneventful second-half, and despite getting into Cardiff’s box, the visitors could not find their way back in to the match. Cardif’s victory is just the second league defeat this season for the young Robins, but remain top with Millwall’s match against QPR postponed.

Bristol City: Stefan Bajic, Omar Taylor-Clarke, Jay Dasilva (Elijah Morrison, 63), Dylan Kadji, Jamie Knight-Lebel, Andy King (Ben Acey, 63), Joe Williams (Harry Leeson, 63), Han-Noah Massengo, Seb Palmer-Holden, Mark Sykes, Sam Bell.

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