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Sunday, 08 February 2015 09:12

Carmarthen survive the siege of Ely

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SATURDAY 7th FEBRUARY : Cwrt-yr-Ala, cold.
CAERAU (ELY) 0 CARMARTHEN TOWN 4 (after extra time) (Welsh Cup Round 5)
The last sixteen of the Welsh Cup involves not one, but two attractive ties in Cardiff, so the question has always been which one to choose. By my reckoning, Caerau (Ely) are more likely than Cardiff Met to cause an upset against Welsh Premier opposition, so for me it's a mid-day bus journey through the city centre and out to Cwrt-yr-Ala. Now regular readers will know I rarely have anything positive to say about international rugby, but on this occasion I'm grateful the Wales v England Six Nations game was brought forward to Friday evening from its usual Saturday slot - otherwise my four mile journey would have been a huge challenge today.

Sunday, 01 February 2015 11:37

ABERGAVENNY TOWN MARCH ON IN TROPHY

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SATURDAY 31st JANUARY: Pen-y-Pound Stadium: sunny but very cold.
ABERGAVENNY TOWN 4 SPORTING MARVELS 0 (FAW Trophy Round 5)
Although I had planned to go north again this week for my FAW Trophy action, the wintry weather has been worse up there and I have to play safe and watch one of the south Wales ties: of the three options, Abergavenny is the least exposed to the fierce northerly wind, and so a first visit to Abergavenny Town in their new home of Penypound Stadium (which I visited nearly six months ago when the venue's other tenants, Monmouth Town, moved in).

Sunday, 01 February 2015 11:32

HONOURS EVEN AT WEPRE PARK

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SATURDAY 24th JANUARY: Wepre Park, dry but chilly
FC NOMADS OF CONNAH'S QUAY 2 SALTNEY TOWN 2 (Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) Premier Div)
It's been a very long time, too long in fact, since I travelled north for a game. Various things, including the weather, are to blame for that, but when the Welsh winter rains subside for a few days, I seize the opportunity.

With several north Wales clubs on my 'visit soon' list, there are options, and although I had half a mind to watch FC Nomads in next week's FAW Trophy game, the knowledge that their local derby in the league is definitely on proves enough: I'm on my way to Wepre Park.

Monday, 19 January 2015 19:50

HARD LESSON FOR STUDENTS

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SATURDAY 17th JANUARY: Cyncoed Campus, cold, wintry showers.
CARDIFF MET UNIVERSITY 0 CAERAU (ELY) 2 (Welsh League Division 1)
The weather wreaks havoc on the football programme again, with practically all the grass-pitch fixtures in south Wales lost to waterlogging, snow or ice. But in truth, this simplifies things today - I had other options in mind, and having watched the Mets twice recently, I was minded to go slightly further afield, but this top of the table game was always the stand-out fixture today. I am not at all sorry to have it emerge as the only sensible choice today.

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.

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