Town's U21 side begin the new season with defeat as Velikonja and Healey win it for the Bluebirds
Two first-half strikes were enough for Cardiff to leave Portman Road with all three points, as Town’s U21 Development side kicked-off the new season in defeat.
Despite an encouraging performance, the Blues failed to put away their chances and that proved costly as Etien Velikonja and Rhys Healey punished Mark Kennedy’s side to take all three points.
Town fielded a strong side, with first-teamers Christophe Berra, Freddie Veseli, Anthony Wordsworth and Paul Taylor all starting against the Bluebirds.
After a cagey opening to the game with neither side particularly looking dangerous in the final third, it was the visitors who finally broke the deadlock, albeit in slightly fortuitous circumstances.
A neat through ball from Bluebirds midfielder Tommy O’Sullivan found Velikonja in space, whose shot was then saved by Michael Crowe before cannoning back off the striker’s stomach and into the unguarded net after 19 minutes.
Five minutes later and the Slovenian forward was turning provider, slipping in strike partner Healey trough on goal following some slack Town defending but he could only fire into the side-netting.
At the other end, Town went close themselves after Jordan Adekunle was brought down on the edge of the box by a Cardiff defender. Paul Taylor took the resulting free-kick which was smartly turned away by Simon Moore just before the half-hour mark.
Seconds later and the former Peterborough man showed neat feet to turn and run at the Cardiff defence before splitting the back-line with a superb through ball that Jack Marriott was just unable to control before the danger was cleared.
Marriott was causing the Bluebirds backline problems though as he was inches away from levelling the score after 32 minutes, after shrugging off a defender before curling an effort that came back off the crossbar with ‘keeper Moore well beaten.
Town were beginning to get a foothold on the game and soon after a surging run down the left from David October saw the left-back pull the ball back for Anthony Wordsworth, before the former Colchester man lifted his effort over the bar.
And that miss was to cost Town as the visitors doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time. Theo Wharton linked up well with Velikonja, who crossed for Healey to head home from close range.
The Blues started the second-half well and Wordsworth was unlucky to see a curled effort fly just over the bar, after showing some neat feet to jink away from Filip Kiss.
However, at the other end moments later, Crowe did well to stand tall and turn a Kadeem Harris effort behind for a corner with his legs, following an encouraging run from the Cardiff winger.
Winger Jordan Adekunle, on trial from League One side Crawley, then stung the palms of Moore with a left-footed drive, as Town looked for a way back into the game.
Mark Kennedy’s side were certainly applying the pressure and some neat work down the right from Taylor saw him escape his marker before crossing to Berra at the back-post, but the skipper’s header was well saved by Moore with 22 minutes remaining.
Akendule then went close with an acrobatic effort, the winger hooking the ball over his shoulder but also over the bar, following Wordsworth’s knockdown into his path.
The Blues continued to press as they searched for a way back into the game, but ultimately it was to no avail as Cardiff returned to South Wales with all three points.
Town: Crowe, Veseli, Berra, Fowler, October, Adekunle, Wordsworth, Dobie (Berkane 63), Winter, Taylor, Marriott. Subs: Marsden, Clarke, Leddy, Hammond.
Cardiff: Moore, Coulson, Williams, Oshilaja, Owen, Wharton, Kiss, O’Sullivan, Harris, Velikonja (Roche 78), Healy. Subs: Wickham, Richards, Southam, Bowen.