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Thursday, 15 October 2015 10:55

Goyts Go Top in the Non-Derby

SATURDAY 10th OCTOBER: Glenhafod Park, dry but chilly.
GOYTRE UNITED 3 GOYTRE FC 0 (Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Division One)

No Welsh Cup or Trophy matches this week so it's an opportunity to catch up on some league action, and there is a stand-out fixture in south Wales, with the top two sides in the Welsh League, both unbeaten, coming up against each other at Glenhafod Park. It's the clash of the Goyts, but of course it's not a local derby: Goytre FC's journey (to Goytre) is actually one of their longer ones in the league, from their base in rural Monmouthshire to the outskirts of Port Talbot. It's the sort of fixture that should draw a good attendance, especially on a weekend with no English Premiership and Championship games due to the international break. In England and Scotland, the designated "Non League Day" is a cue for clubs to try to boost attendances with offers, but it doesn't really happen in Wales - partly because "non-league" doesn't have much meaning here, but also partly because our semi-pro clubs, especially in the south, just don't really think about attracting crowds in the way their English counterparts do. Not that it would have been easy to tempt many south Walians to local football today - everyone is seemingly gearing up for a long evening in the pubs watching the Welsh rugby and football teams in vital internationals.

Published in Football
Sunday, 04 January 2015 10:02

STUDENTS HELD IN TOP-OF-THE-TABLE ENCOUNTER

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.

Published in Football
Sunday, 09 November 2014 09:08

Cornelly beat the weather - but not Goytre

SATURDAY 8th NOVEMBER: Meadow Street, wet and windy.
CORNELLY UNITED 1 GOYTRE UNITED 5 (FAW Welsh Cup - Round 2)
Returning to Wales after five days away, I find that the rainy season has arrived; heavy rain lashes south Wales on Friday evening and overnight, and early on Saturday postponements start to be listed. In the worst of the downpour on Saturday morning, I seriously doubt if any grass pitch will be playable, never mind my chosen Welsh Cup tie at Cornelly. Since the Round 2 draw I've had this game in my sights, a true "magic of the cup"-style fixture with four levels separating the two teams, and a local derby as well.

Published in Football

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