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Wednesday, 21 September 2016 09:01

It's Been 11 Years

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TUESDAY 20th SEPTEMBER: Cyncoed Campus, a fine evening.
CARDIFF MET 2 NEWTOWN 1 (Dafabet Welsh Premier League)

I've been up to Cyncoed more times in the past month than the whole of last season. Such has been the lure of Welsh Premier football in Cardiff, plus a couple of UEFA games. But I haven't yet seen Cardiff Met win a Welsh Premier match - in fact no Cardiff team has won a national league fixture in the capital since October 2005 (that was the ill-fated Grange Quins).

But there is hope: Cardiff Met actually won away on Saturday (at Llandudno) and clearly have a chance tonight against visitors Newtown. The university, with its students now back on campus, has promoted this game and is hoping for a big attendance. Half an hour before kick off, it seems they are going to be rewarded - a fair turnout of regulars, neutrals, officials plus some students, and the latter group start to arrive in bigger numbers as 7.45 approaches. At one point a queue is even spotted [the attendance is later confirmed as a ground record, 428].

Cardiff Met begin in customary fashion: plenty of quality possession, intricate passing, but few attempts on goal. The tendency to over-elaborate and to pass rather than shoot has contributed to a lack of goals from open play and it is this that mostly occupies my thoughts in the first half - is the pattern of recent games repeating itself? This looks more likely when the Mets lose concentration in defence and concede the opening goal to Jason Oswell. By half time, the home side are coming back into the game, with one superb finger-tip save by Jones in the Robins' goal denying them an equaliser.

The second half brings a gradual shift in the balance of play: Cardiff Met are looking more threatening, adopting a slightly more adventurous approach. This should be enough to get the crowd cheering them on, but for 400-plus it's pretty quiet. Perhaps students don't do chanting.
Nevertheless, even if it's not the atmosphere getting to them, Newtown do seem to be clinging onto their lead. Another familiar pattern though - lots of crosses, dead ball situations, but always just eluding the important final touch in the box. I wonder if it's going to be another desperately unlucky defeat for the university side. But just as I'm thinking this, they get just the stroke of luck they need: a fast, positive move, partially cleared, leads to a perceptive header aimed at Adam Roscrow on the right. He fires across goal and gets a vital deflection past Jones. He's credited with the goal, although there's some debate on the sidelines whether it's technically an own-goal. But neither Roscrow nor the visitors will be inclined to argue.

The goal has lifted the confidence of the home side, and Newtown's defence continues to look under pressure at times - although they have their moments at the other end too. Both sides going for the win, which makes for an entertaining last twenty-five minutes. Then, with six minutes left on the scoreboard, a moment of magic - and willingness to have a go - is rewarded with the winning goal: Will Evans, inside the box, takes a couple of touches despite close attention and fires low and hard past Jones. At last, a home win in the WPL is on - but now it's the Mets who must hang on as Newtown push up hard to salvage the game. Again, they come close, and may go home feeling they deserved something, but it's not their night - it's Cardiff's.

 

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