Welsh Football

Switch to desktop

Sunday, 20 November 2016 20:59

It's Raining Goals

Rate this item
(3 votes)

SATURDAY 19th NOVEMBER. Swansea University International Sports Village - torrential rain.
TEAM SWANSEA 9 GRANGE ALBION 1 (FAW Trophy Round 4)

When the draw was made for the fourth round of the FAW Trophy, I immediately thought this tie held particular interest. Cross-region games always have that extra dimension, the chance to compare standards. Of course, Swansea v Cardiff also adds something, although in my experience the rivalry is less intense at grassroots level than between the two cities' pro clubs. In any case, Team Swansea being a university club, it's not quite the same as if Grange were playing Penlan or Ragged.

It's a wet November weekend, wet enough on Friday to prompt an enquiry about the pitch. Positive reply, but being checked in the morning. Despite more rain, by 10.45 the news is good - game on. I set off, through Cardiff, the fans arriving for the afternoon rugby already causing delays and congestion at the station. The rain continues as I eventually travel west, then abates while I walk the mile or two along the Swansea Bay seafront out to Sketty Lane. Just as I approach the sports centre, the skies darken again and even heavier rain arrives, drenching the squads engaged in their warm-ups.

From the shelter of the arena's 200-seater stand, I am able to watch in relative comfort. It's damp, but not quite as cold as it has been. Nevertheless out on the pitch it's clearly not pleasant - the university's subs are sitting up in the stand.

The two sides are of equal standing in the Welsh football system - both in leagues just below the Welsh League Third Division. It's a hard game to predict - the home side are doing well in the Swansea Senior League, matching champions Penlan so far, while Grange are mid-table in the South Wales Alliance. As soon as the game starts, Team Swansea are on the front foot and from their first attack they win a corner on the left. It's well-delivered and Joe Palmer volleys the opening goal. Two minutes later John Roberts capitalises on some slack defending and it's 2-0, with Grange already looking as if they'd rather be somewhere else. Anywhere else. Their keeper is making no secret of his despair at the defending in front of him as Team Swansea seek a third goal, knocking the ball around confidently and playing a modern, passing style of football that you wouldn't normally expect in such soggy conditions.

We actually have to wait twenty minutes before the next goal, Farai Hwenga diving to head in a cross, but then Albion strike a blow of their own, a fine strike by Perry Johnson. This gives them a lift, but any thoughts that they might make a game of it evaporate as Ian Hughes collects a long ball from his own keeper and scores his side's fourth just before half-time.

During the brief interval, the downpour continues. Grange Albion shelter, but Team Swansea remain outside. Within a minute of the restart, the hardy students are 5-1 up - Hughes again, a deflected shot. The remainder of the game - played in improving weather conditions - brings further regular punishment for the dispirited visitors, though it has to be said they create a few chances of their own, all kept out by the home defence. Meanwhile Hughes completes a quick hat-trick with his best goal of the day, Noble scores the simplest with a tap in, Joe Palmer smashes a free-kick in for number 8 and in stoppage time John Roberts adds a ninth.

I certainly didn't see that coming: Team Swansea were impressive in the style of their play, their application in awful weather conditions, and the quality of their finishing. Grange Albion? Well, let's just say this wasn't their finest hour. Maybe 9-1 is a harsh scoreline, maybe they deserved a couple more goals, but they have been very well beaten today.

Read 1953 times Last modified on Sunday, 20 November 2016 21:06

© Copyright 2013 Welsh Football

Top Desktop version