Logo
Print this page
Monday, 02 January 2017 09:47

Out with the Old....

Rate this item
(2 votes)

SATURDAY 31st DECEMBER. Cyncoed Campus, overcast.
CARDIFF MET 1 CARMARTHEN TOWN 3 (Dafabet Welsh Premier League)
It's somehow fitting that the year should end with a game at Cyncoed - the ground most visited on my travels in 2016. It's a significant game too, as the first phase of the Welsh Premier season nears its climax, with both teams in contention for a top six place. Cardiff Met need just a point to guarantee that, and withj a long unbeaten run at home, that should be within their grasp. Carmarthen need to win today and probably in their final game too.

With a remarkable dearth of football in south Wales over the whole festive period, the Mets' crowd is boosted by plenty of fans of other local clubs - and even by some Cardiff City supporters, attracted by the university's reduced admission for anyone who travelled in vain to the Bluebirds' postponed game at Brighton. So, even without the normal quota of students, the official attendance reached 324.

Those of us used to seeing the students dominate visitors with fluent passing football are to be disappointed today. Despite an early setback, with Adam Roscrow scoring an opportunist goal to put the home side ahead, Carmarthen prove to be up to the task of containing them. After the first half sort of peters out in terms of excitement, the same can't be said of the second. It is played mostly in the Mets' half, as the home defence struggles to keep Town at bay. A goal is inevitable, and it comes in the 58th minute when Mark Jones is pulled down in the box, and beats Will Fuller from the spot. Two minutes later, a break on the right results in Liam Thomas firing in a second goal, and the game has been turned on its head.

A brief spell of Mets pressure sees Jordan Lam getting into good positions on the left wing, but his crosses elude team-mates in the centre and come to nought. And then hope is extinguished when Jones adds a third goal for Carmarthen, who thoroughly deserve the three points.

The result leaves the Welsh Premier table intriguingly balanced - the top six are now very likely to be decided on the final day of the first phase. Which is good for the league, but not so good for Christian Edwards and his team, who could quite conceivably slip to seventh if they don't get something out of their final game at Aberystwyth.

And, as the gloom descends on Cyncoed and the temperature drops, that is the end of my adventures in 2016. Has it been a good or bad year? Social media sites confirm most Welsh football fans agree it was an unforgettable year, and the Euros in France were a highlight - wherever you watched them. My only regret is the legacy of inflated expectations of the national team post-France and the sour atmosphere at the last, drawn game against Serbia in November - epitomised for me by the elderly Cardiff City fan just in front of the press box who spent 90 minutes abusing the visiting players as "gyppos".    

As for my own personal highlights of the past year, I particularly enjoyed the climax to 2015-16 in April and May, and I'd have to include the Champions' League trip to San Marino. So far this season, although I've really enjoyed some excellent first-time visits (Borth United and Goodwick United stand out) it's the growing interest in Welsh Premier football that is most striking. I've seen more games at this level already than I have for many a year - and while that's got a lot to do with Cardiff Met's arrival in the WPL, it's the league's quality of the entertainment that has kept me coming back for more. As indeed I expect to do in 2017 - but those thought, on what is to come in the new year, are for another day.

Read 2159 times Last modified on Monday, 02 January 2017 10:01

Related items

© Copyright 2013 Welsh Football