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Sunday, 04 January 2015 10:02

STUDENTS HELD IN TOP-OF-THE-TABLE ENCOUNTER

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SATURDAY 3rd JANUARY 2015: Cyncoed Campus, rain clearing.
CARDIFF MET UNIVERSITY 1 GOYTRE UNITED 1 (Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Div One)
The first Saturday of the year starts with a prolonged downpour which is more than a match for the grass pitches of south Wales. By mid-morning, despite no consolidated online information via the Welsh League, Twitter is awash with postponements and my plans clearly need to be revised - 3G being the only safe course of action. And while it's only a couple of weeks since I was at Cyncoed, their 1st v 2nd fixture today is attractive in its own right.

By 1.30, as I enter the ground, it's looking like a fair afternoon for watching football: drier, brighter and relatively mild (I was regretting my layers of clothing on the walk up to Cyncoed). Another plus, I've even got a programme this time. With everything else in Cardiff and the valleys off, you'd expect the football folk to have flocked here for a top of the table clash, but they haven't - where are they ?

Visitors Goytre United, who have impressed this season, appear depleted, at least in numbers. They have only one recognised substitute, with manager Andy Hill naming himself at 14 as well. But the same may be true of the students - I notice Jordan Lam is absent today, for one. Opening exchanges are even: although play is mostly in midfield and the visitors' half, the students are finding it hard to play their intricate passing game against a team capable to tackling and intercepting. On more than a few occasions, the Met resort to uncharacteristic long balls and hurried punts. They have a few chances, with several crosses into the box eluding the strikers, and a couple of long-range efforts close. By half time, Goytre have frustrated the home side, but not really troubled Will Fuller's goal at all.

The second half brings an early goal, a header from the visitors. This prompts the students to increase the tempo of their game, and that in turn brings more excitement for the neutral. They start to look dangerous down the left, where they have the pace of striker Adam Roscow and versatile number 3 Karl McCarthy getting forward effectively when needed.

There's no immediate reward for the more positive play, and some promising moves break down when wrong options are chosen. But eventually the pressure tells and from a corner, the ball is knocked into the six yard box and Roscow fires it over the line. He comes close after getting behind the right back, but the ball squirms along the line and is cleared, and Luke Martin's goal escapes several other times in the closing stages as Goytre hold on for a point. The result keeps the Met top in an increasingly congested title race, but it also ends my long run of one-sided wins. Rarely has a draw been so welcome.

Read 4201 times Last modified on Sunday, 01 February 2015 11:40

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