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Friday, 05 September 2014 18:52

Clouds and Silver Linings

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SATURDAY 23rd AUGUST: Cantonian High School, warm, sunshine and showers
CANTON RANGERS 2 FC TREDEGAR 1 (FAW Trophy Round One)

I had my Bank Holiday weekend mapped out months ago, but not all plans become reality, even the best laid. Instead of groundhopping in North Wales at Pwllheli, Nefyn and Barmouth today, I'm still in Cardiff. A domestic emergency meant travelling to the groundhop on Friday was impossible, but all is not lost – I can take in a local FAW Trophy game. An easy choice too, a new ground and club for me, only a few miles across Cardiff.

At lunch time I head for Cantonian High School via the city line, convinced it's an easy journey. Five minutes after leaving the train at Waun Gron Park, I can see the teams warming up on the school playing fields off Doyle Road, but they're on the other side of a fence and locked gates. I need to enter via the main entrance, but this involves a lengthy detour via Fairwater, during which I take a wrong turning and have to double back. At 2.15 I finally reach the pitch, hot and bothered. I relax a little on finding out (a) there are programmes still available and (b) nothing much has happened yet.

Canton Rangers ("the Bears") of the Cardiff & District League are entertaining Gwent County opponents – effectively ranked several tiers higher in the pyramid. It's great to see a district league club entering national competitions, even more so when they issue a good quality programme and publicise their game on social media, so I'm already pre-disposed towards the home side. So it's disappointing when they concede a slightly controversial goal while I'm copying out the teamsheets.

Despite the goal separating the teams, there isn't much between them. Rangers are playing some nice passing football at times, and some players seem to have the confidence to take the game to fhe visitors. But they also appear to lack a cutting edge and most moves break down without troubling the Tredegar goal. Half time comes and goes, the second half progresses and still the story is the same. We appear to be heading for a narrow, but definite, away win.

With a couple of minutes left, Canton Rangers are still trying to surge forward. Eventually a chance comes, Tyrrell Suleman gets a chance to shoot – and scores. Extra time then ? No, there's just time for the rampant Bears to charge again, a shot on the run as Suleman cuts in from the right, it's saved but Max Hoare follows up. His shot seems to be stopped on the line, but rebound off the visiting keeper and into the net to complete a remarkable turnaround, 2-1 to the Bears at the final whistle, which brings some exhuberant celebrations, and who can blame them. Tredegar slink away, shocked by the cruelty of football.

It might not have been how I planned to spend this Saturday, but this was a more than adequate substitute for the main event up north. Truly a silver lining.

Read 3693 times Last modified on Friday, 05 September 2014 18:57

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