City’s development side completed their pre-season campaign with a comprehensive 5-0 win away at Gap Connah’s Quay on Tuesday evening.
Former Nomad’s striker Rhys Healey started the game for Kevin Cooper’s side and the young forward received a rapturous applause from the watching crowd as he made his first return to his former club.
In-form winger Kadeem Harris struck first for the away side. A fantastic pass from Healey released the young winger who beat his man before firing past Terry McCormick to give City the lead after thirty four minutes.
The former Wycombe Wanderers winger troubled the home side throughout and scored his second goal of the game, and seventh goal of pre-season after the break. Keeper McCormick’s attempted clearance was blocked by Slovenian International Etien Velikonja with Harris receiving the ball wide on the left. Kadeem took full advantage of this available time and space, picking his spot and curling the ball into the far corner much to the delight of his coaches and teammates.
Cardiff added a third goal after sixty eight minutes, with a familiar face scoring at the Deeside Stadium. Former Nomads favourite Rhys Healey with the perfect finishing touch to a fine City move involving full-back Luke Coulson and the impressive Jaye Bowen.
Last season’s development top scorer Velikonja got in on the goal action himself in the final fifteen minutes with two well taken finishes. Velikonja took full advantage on a defensive mistake after seventy eight minutes to beat substitute keeper John Rushton to tap in, and ten minutes later he slotted home again. Winger Bowen assisting the striker with a brilliant low cross with Etien tapping past Rushton.
This fifth win on the bounce finishes off City DVP’s pre-season campaign, with Cooper’s side winning every single game – including a wins over Conference side Hereford United and two strong Welsh Premier League teams – Port Talbot Town and Gap Connah’s Quay.
Former Nomads fans favourite Healey started for City’s development side against their Welsh Premier League opposition on Tuesday evening.
The visitors came close to opening the scoring in the first minute with a fine team move resulting in a shot for Theo Wharton. The Welsh U21 International started the move in the middle with an impressive long pass to Bowen on the right. Bowen’s low pass to Tommy O’Sullivan met the run of the attacking midfielder perfectly with O’Sullivan setting the ball on the edge of the penalty area for his central midfield partner Wharton to strike just wide of the post.
The home side’s first real chance came with eleven minutes on the clock, a touch of luck about Michael Hayes’ touch in the City penalty area resulted in the legendary Welsh Premier League forward having a clear sight of goal. City’s defence though covered well with Brad Williams and Deji Oshilaja combining to clear the chance before Hayes could trouble Dave Richards.
In-form winger Harris shot drifted wide of goal for City after twelve minutes before a Velikonja shot from distance troubled McCormick as Cardiff began to take full control of the encounter. Velikonja went close to scoring for Cooper’s side on two more occasions in the opening half before Cardiff finally took the lead with thirty four minutes gone.
Home town favourite Healey freed Harris with an exquisite pass. The winger showed his keen eye for goal, choosing to take his time instead of rushing the opportunity, beating the last Nomads defender before slotting into the bottom corner to give City a well-deserved advantage.
GOAL! GAP CONNAH’S QUAY 0-1 CARDIFF CITY (Kadeem Harris, 34 mins)
Harris nearly added his and Cardiff’s second goal of the game two minutes later, cutting in from the left side before striking the ball with real power right footed. McCormick in the Nomads goal to see this shot slip just over the crossbar with the goalkeeper looking on. City’s own keeper was in action on thirty nine minutes following a brilliantly struck free kick from Paul Mooney. The midfielders left footed shot looked destined for the top left corner of the goal before Cardiff keeper Richards somehow tipped the ball around the post to keep his side ahead at the break.
HALF TIME: GAP CONNAH’S QUAY 0-1 CARDIFF CITY
City returned from the interval with the same eleven that finished the opening half, Harris went close to adding to his team’s advantage early in the half, shooting just wide of McCormick’s right hand post. The goals second goal finally came with fifty five minutes gone with the experienced Cardiff attack fully capitalising on a rare error from Nomads keeper McCormick.
The host’s keeper struck a seemingly routine kick straight into the head of City forward Velikonja with the ball landing fortuitously at the feet of winger Harris. The in-form Cardiff man confidently picked out the far corner of the goal with a fantastic curling effort that left McCormick stranded to give the away side a two goal lead. It was Harris’ seventh goal in just five pre-season games this term.
GOAL! GAP CONNAH’S QUAY 0-2 CARDIFF CITY (Kadeem Harris, 55 mins)
Harris was just inches away from sealing a second match ball of pre-season four minutes later. The London-born winger stepped up to fire a thirty yard free kick towards the Nomads goal, the curling effort hitting the side netting with home side Connah’s Quay changing goalkeepers moments later, John Rushton given the uncompromising task of stopping Harris from grabbing the match ball.
The hosts nearly halved the deficit on sixty four minutes, finally finding a way past City keeper Richards. Experienced Welsh Premier League forward Mike Hayes with a curling shot that beat Richards, but not his far post with the ball bouncing off the upright to safety much to the anguish of the home fans. The away side used this close call as motivation and they continued to dominate the game, adding a third goal soon after.
A dangerous driving run on the right side from winger Bowen troubled the home defence, Bowen met the run of roaming full-back Coulson perfectly with a deft pass, the former Manchester City man’s low cross from the by-line was tapped into the empty net by former Connah’s Quay striker Healey to further increase Cardiff’s lead.
GOAL! GAP CONNAH’S QUAY 0-3 CARDIFF CITY (Rhys Healey, 68 mins)
New Nomads signing Mooney will look to trouble many Welsh Premier League defences this term with his accurate set pieces and Mooney went extremely close for his new side again after seventy minutes. Mooney fired a brilliant free kick towards the top corner of Richards’ goal for a second time with the Cardiff keeper diving superbly to palm the ball to safety and maintain his clean sheet.
The away side were in control of the tie throughout, with their opponents tiring towards the end it seemed only a matter of time before Cardiff added another goal. This came on seventy eight minutes with last season’s development top scorer Velikonja beating substitute keeper Rushton before tapping into an empty net to increase the lead to four goals.
GOAL! GAP CONNAH’S QUAY 0-4 CARDIFF CITY (Etien Velikonja, 78 mins)
Substitute Filip Kiss should have grabbed a goal on eighty four minutes by the midfielder struck over the crossbar under pressure before teammate and clinical goal-scorer Velikonja finished off the scoring with two minutes left on the clock. Bowen’s rasping cross was pushed to safety on eighty seven minutes before the influential winger was in action again moments later, crossing low for Velikonja to slot the ball into the empty net as Cardiff City DVP finished off pre-season with a flourish.
GOAL! GAP CONNAH’S QUAY 0-5 CARDIFF CITY (Etien Velikonja, 88 mins)
FULL TIME: GAP CONNAH’S QUAY 0-5 CARDIFF CITY
Teams – Gap Connah’s Quay: McCormick (Rushton, 61), Sharples (Wynne, 83), McGregor, Dobbins (Tinsley, 86), Lampkin, C.Jones (Rowlands, 76), Edwards (Lane, 86), Mooney, Evans, Everall (L Jones, 83), Hayes.
Cardiff City: Richards, Coulson (Amondarain, 76), Williams, Oshilaja (Petric, 76), Owen, O’Sullivan (Kiss, 71), Bowen, Wharton, Velikonja, Healey, Harris. Subs Not Used: Matthews