Gillingham secure impressive 1-0 win over Cardiff City in the second qualifying round of the Premier League U21 Cup

Gillingham have advanced to the next round of the Premier League U21 Cup after a 1-0 victory over Cardiff at the Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Aidan Blanchard’s 75th minute effort gave the visitors a fantastic win over the Bluebirds, having defeated Plymouth Argyle in the first round.

Mark Patterson fielded a very young side, although he did have experience between the sticks with Glenn Morris starting in goal.

Josh Hare and Aaron Millbank being the only other players to have had first team experience.

Kick-Off had been delayed by 15 minutes due to traffic problems, but once the game got underway it was Cardiff who nearly broke the deadlock inside the opening couple of minutes – a close range header being gathered by Morris in the Gills goal before Anthony Bell drilled a left foot shot wide.

Brad Williams also had a shot off target before the visitors created their best opportunity of the match on 27 minutes. Charlie Webster delivered a teasing cross from the right hand side and Millbank was unlucky not to find the net after sending his effort just beyond the post.

Morris had to be alert shortly after to deny a great effort from Javi Guerra. The forward looked odds on to beat the keeper from a few yards out but the Gills number one made himself big and thwarted the effort.

Five minutes later and Morris was on hand again to deny the same player. A cross from Bradley Wickham was met by the forward and the keeper palmed the effort onto the bar before catching the rebound.

Bell had the final chance of the half with a curling effort which whistled beyond the far post.

H/T: 0-0

Morris continued to frustrate the Cardiff attack, first denying Eli Phipps before recovering from a tangle with his own player Mahlon Romeo to deny Declan John.

However the save seem to come at a cost with Morris having to be replaced by Tom Hadler, but only after Gillingham had taken the lead with just 15 minutes to play.

Blanchard tried his luck from 20 yards out and placed his effort well to beat keeper Ben Wilson. The Gills taking their chance well with Cardiff having had several attempts themselves to try and seize the advantage.

The hosts were far from finished though, they scored themselves five minutes after the re-start but Williams’ effort was ruled out for offside before John fired a free kick just wide of the post.

Despite having four minutes of injury time to try and force an equaliser, Gillingham were well organised and held out to secure a brilliant win.

F/T: 0-1

Cardiff: Wilson, Wickham, John, Williams, C Watkins, Turner, Bell, Patten, Guerra (Baker 67), Daehli (Noor 46), Phipps.
Subs: Horton, Rees, Burridge

Gillingham: Morris (Hadler 75), Hare, Romeo, Staunton, Bent (Ibbertson 65), Dickenson, Webster, Blanchard, Millbank, Freiter, Sellens.
Subs: Emptage, Stannard.