Cardiff City’s young Bluebirds wasted too many chances and crashed out of the FA Youth Cup last night.
They played a lot of good football and created openings, but lost 1-0 against MK Dons to a goal scored three minutes from the end.
Sam Bowen, Sion Spence and Isaak Davies all went close before centre-half Tommy Hope fired a stunning late winner at MK Stadium.
Cardiff were left to reflect on what might have been at the MK Stadium, while Dons now play Colchester United or Crewe Alexandra in the fourth round.
The Bluebirds will now focus on their bid to win the Welsh Youth Cup and they play Aberystwyth Town at home in the quarter-finals.
Spence shot narrowly wide from six yards after 12 minutes, while Bowen’s beautifully struck free-kick from 35 yards was saved at full stretch by goalkeeper Alfie Jones.
Davies fired low across goal from close range after 51 minutes, while Cardiff carved out two quickfire chances. A Ryan Reynolds header was beaten away before Spence had a shot blocked.
The same player then had his effort cleared off the line, while Sam Parsons was denied by a superb Jones save.
Bowen delivered a dangerous cross into the middle, but nobody could get a touch, while Spence volleyed over following a corner on Cardiff’s right.
The tie was close to going into overtime when Hope fired home from a half volley after 87 minutes. Dons were awarded a free-kick for a foul on Kasumu and it was taken by Bradley Bell.
The ball fell for Hope, who sent a superb half volley over Bluebirds goalkeeper Ratcliffe and in off the bar.
Cardiff were without injured defender Ben Margetson, while Dons were missing top scorer Dylan Asonganyi.
Both sides enjoyed spells of possession, but Cardiff created the better opportunities and will feel they missed a chance to make progress.
MK Dons: Jones, Ackom (Hourican-Harvey 74), Tapp (capt), Hope, Sorinola (Wright 80), Pattison, Kasumu, Bell, Bird, Sole, Martin (Evans 59). Subs not used: Rose (GK), Brennan.
Cardiff City: Ratcliffe, Reynolds, Jones, Bodenham, Parsons (Evans 85), Patten, C. Davies, Wootton (Williams 85), I. Davies, Spence, Bowen. Subs not used: Sharif, Burwood (gk), J Davies.
FAW Youth Cup quarter-final draw (ties to be played Sunday, February 11): Cardiff City v Aberystwyth, Llandudno v Airbus UK Broughton, Swansea City v Newport County, Carmarthen Town v Connah’s Quay Nomads.