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Kick off 19:00 (UK)

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03 May 2019 Venue Hillsborough Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

Sheffield Wednesday
3 - 2
Cardiff City
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Match Reports

Owls Under-18s complete the double!

3 May 2019

The Owls Under-18s claimed their second piece of silverware of the season with a thrilling 3-2 win over nine-man Cardiff in Friday night's National play-off final at Hillsborough.

First half goals from Charles Hagan and Charlie Reaney had fired the Owls into a commanding position at half time before a Cardiff fightback saw them halve the deficit through Daniel Griffiths.

Just moments later, though, Wednesday restored their two-goal cushion when substitute Elliott Vasalo scored with almost his first touch before Ben Margetson netted another for the Bluebirds, setting up a tense finale.

But the visitors were to finish the game with nine men as both Griffiths and Kieron Evans were sent off late in the game for second bookable offences.

Following the 1-0 success over Ipswich in Saturday's semi-final, manager Andy Holdsworth made two changes to his starting line-up. Striker Eyad Hammoud and Reaney came into the side, meaning Lewis Farmer and Vasalo dropped out.

The first chance of the contest fell the Owls' way when Liam Shaw's outstanding first-time pass out to the right sent Josh Dawodu scampering free, he sent over a cross for Reaney but the midfielder could not quite make the connection.

It was the hosts that were enjoying the better of the early exchanges and they squandered a golden chance to take the lead on 14 minutes, when Shaw headed over from Dawodu’s centre.

After a slow start, the Bluebirds began to grow into the contest and full back Keenan Pattern had the first chance when he headed straight at Owls goalkeeper Josh Render from a corner.

But on 27 minutes, it was the Owls that drew first blood.

The dangerous Dawodu played a superb ball through the Cardiff backline to pick out Hagan and the pacey forward took a touch before finishing calmly beyond George Ratcliffe in the Bluebirds goal.

Cardiff responded almost immediately when Conor Davies went on a bursting run from deep, only to be blocked off by Declan Thompson at the vital moment.

Nevertheless, it was Wednesday that doubled their lead three minutes before half time.

Liam Waldock won possession back in the middle of the park, Hammoud then slipped in Reaney and the midfielder fired a powerful effort beyond Ratcliffe at the near post.

Desperate to get back into the contest, it was the visitors who started the second half the brighter. First, Issak Davies brought a good save out of Render and Kieron Evans went even closer, seeing his venomous effort strike the underside of the crossbar from distance.

The Owls then went inches away from making it 3-0 when Hagan's scuffed effort from close range deflected off Margetson and onto the post.

The encounter was now proving to be end-to-end as Cardiff captain Sam Bowen headed straight into the arms of Render from six yards out after connecting with Conor Davies' centre from the right.

And the visitors’ second half persistence eventually paid dividends on 78 minutes when striker Griffiths stabbed the ball home from close range.

That sparked a hectic few moments at Hillsborough as Wednesday almost instantly restored their two-goal advantage when substitute Vasalo pounced on a defensive error and buried the ball beyond Ratcliffe.

But in what was an action-packed second half, Cardiff hit back once more, this time through a Margetson header from a corner.

And that was not to be the end of the drama, as Griffiths was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 89th minute and Cardiff were reduced to nine men in stoppage time, as Evans was also sent for an early bath, once again for a second yellow.

Owls: Render, Dawodu, Rice, Thompson, Ellery, Waldock, Hagan (Farmer 90), Shaw, Reaney, Grant, Hammoud (Vasalo 79)

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