Sunday, 20 August 2017

Cardiff Metropolitan University 3 v 1 Bangor City

Saturday 19th August 2017
Welsh Premier League
Cyncoed Campus, Cardiff
Admission: £6.00
Programme: £1.00
Attendance: 296
Match Rating: 4

A couple of months ago, I booked my latest Megabus bargain ticket from London to Cardiff for today, for £6.00 return mostly paid for with Tesco Clubcard vouchers. I had wanted to visit Cardiff Metropolitan University throughout their first season in the Welsh Premier last season, but was thwarted by many of their games not being played on a Saturday afternoon. Although it had been my firm plan to attend this game, on the coach ride down to South Wales, I was seriously tempted to head for Aberbargoed Buds in the Welsh League instead, to take in a more traditional football club and venue. Lucky I did not, as that game finished 0-0.

The Cyncoed Campus is about a two mile walk, taking about an hour, from Cardiff city centre, and visitors then snake their way pass by the halls of residence and various sporting facilities on the campus, finally walking along a narrow path around the outside of the National Indoor Athletics Centre, to reach the football ground. Admission is handed over at a window of a portakabin and then visitors pass through a full height turnstile, although the entrance was only opened half an hour before kick-off despite a fairly sizeable queue forming. Adjacent to the entrance, in one corner of the ground, is another portakabin, from which spectators can purchase hot and canned drinks, and confectionery – no hot food not alcohol is available anywhere inside the ground. Along this length, backing onto the Athletics Centre there are three rows of seating in two separate sections either side of the dugouts. Towards the farthest corner, there are three portaloos. On the opposite side, there is a fairly long metallic stand offering further seating, with a broadcasting gantry placed above. Around the rest of the ground there is just hard standing. Tall trees tightly line one end of the ground, behind the opposite length to the Athletics Centre is the former football pitch, with a small stand, whilst behind the remaining goal there is a newly constructed rugby pitch inside an running track. The Indoor Athletics Centre provides a pleasantly modern backdrop. Predictably for a university sports team playing within a campus, there is no real character about the place, with disappointingly basic facilities for a top-flight club - although these may well improve as the club becomes more established at that level. The 20 page programme was printed in colour and provided a decent preview of the match. Team sheets were also available on request.

This promised to be a decent game between two good sides, and who both started the season with convincing wins last Saturday, Cardiff Met winning 0-3 away at Cefn Druids, whilst Bangor earnt an eye-catching 5-2 home win against the usually all-conquering The New Saints. In their first season in the Welsh Premier League after winning promotion from the Welsh League, Cardiff Met finished in sixth place, whilst Bangor finished in fourth place. Today’s teams met at the end of last season to decide who would take part in the Europa League, Bangor triumphing 1-0 at home.

On an overcast afternoon, very strong gusty winds had a big influence on the game, making it difficult for players to judge the flight of the ball. Quite surprisingly, the home side dominated this game for long periods, and they always looked the likely winners after they took the lead on 22 minutes, after they had already come close on a couple of occasions. Following some passing around the box, Elliot Evans struck a shot from the edge of the area which went in off the underside of the bar. They doubled the lead thanks to a gift from the Bangor defence, a defender crazily aerially passed the ball back towards to his keeper in the air, and after the ball bounced towards him, Adam Roscrow beat the keeper to the ball in the air to head it into the empty net. Cardiff Met quite comfortably held their lead up to half time.

Bangor did threaten a little more after the break, but it was Cardiff Met who opened up a three goal lead on 64 minutes with a lovely finish by Roscrow, who connected with the ball on the volley from a corner to send the ball just inside the post from the edge of the area. Credit to Bangor, who kept on plugging away despite the scoreline, and they pulled a goal back on 77 minutes, when Gary Taylor-Fletcher bundled the ball into the net. Cardiff Met were reduced to ten men three minutes later, when Joel Edwards was shown a second yellow card for a poor, mistimed tackle, and one suddenly felt that the game was far from over, and another goal for Bangor would really make for an exciting climax. Despite doing plenty of attacking, that second goal never came, and Cardiff Met saw the game out for a deserved win.

Video highlights of this match can be watched by clicking here

No comments: