Match Report – Cardiff Met v Carmarthen Town (25 September 2018)
Cardiff Met (3) Carmarthen Town (1) Nathanial MG League Cup R2
Carmarthen deservedly crashed out of the League Cup after a very disappointing performance that was a complete contrast to their impressive display of attacking football which earned them a comfortable victory in the WPL match between these sides at Richmond Park only three weeks ago.
The early stages of this match were decidedly uneventful with the play being largely confined to unproductive midfield exchanges as both sides squandered possession all too easily.
But all that changed after 8 minutes when Mael Davies initiated a slick move that carved open the Met defence. Town’s stylish midfielder, from the centre-circle, threaded the ball through to Liam Thomas who, with a slick pass, instantly set Luke Bowen sprinting forward to the edge of the penalty area where the experienced on-form striker dispatched a fierce angled drive that flew past ‘keeper Max Manson and into the far corner of the net – that was his fifth goal in the last six matches.
Yet that simply prompted the hosts to enliven their performance and they began to monopolise possession, methodically building attacks from deep positions and increasingly probing the Old Gold defence. And on 14 minutes they drew level. Will Evans on the left flank fired a huge cross to the far side of the penalty area where Dylan Rees struck a low angled shot that was smartly blocked by ‘keeper Lee Idzi – however the ball fell nicely for Rhys Thomas who had the simple task of stabbing it into the net from close-range.
The Met continued to dictate the pattern and pace of the game with the play largely confined to the visitors’ half. Yet for a spell they were unable to again pierce the Town defence very much due to the assured performance of Dave Vincent, making a rare start this season, while alongside him Lewis Baldwin impressed on his Carmarthen debut looking strong, mobile and composed under pressure.
Town could make only rare progress with occasional counter-attacks. But in the 32ndminute they went close to regaining the lead – Tyrrell Webbe, from the half-way line, made a powerful run along the left touchline before sending an inviting cross into the penalty area where Bowen struck a stunning volley that was resisted by Manson, turning the ball away with an excellent flying save.
After 38 minutes the hosts were similarly denied a goal. Chris Baker played the ball across the edge of the penalty area to Eliot Evans who dispatched a rasping strike that drew a smart save from Idzi.
But in the final minute of the first-half the Met went ahead very much due to a mix-up in the Old Gold defence. Joel Edwards, from the left-wing, sent a deep cross into the goalmouth where Idzi and Declan Carroll both fatally hesitated in clearing the danger which allowed Baker the time and space to dart in and stab the ball home from close-range.
After the interval the game became more open and fast-paced as the play switched quickly from end to end although neither side could make any real impression on the opposition defence and no early scoring chances emerged.
For Carmarthen the principal architect of their midfield progress was Mael Davies, forever looking calm and confident in possession as well as accurate and penetrative with his distribution – but with his usual midfield partners, Ceri Morgan, Greg Walters and Luke Cummings, all on the subs bench for this cup-tie he was often short of effective help in that area.
Yet both sides were unable to make much progress and it was not until the 71stminute that any decent scoring opportunity arose – and that was due to a defensive error. Vincent, on the edge of his own penalty area, allowed Tim Parker to rob him of the ball and the tall striker instantly struck a crisp shot that Idzi, stretching high, just managed to claim.
Remarkably, Town’s only notable scoring effort in a very uninspiring second-half came in the 81stminute when Bowen broke clear of the Met back-line and raced into the penalty area before releasing a fierce angled drive that Manson blocked with a smart save – the loose ball rebounded out to Carroll and he sent it across to Sean Hanbury who saw his promising strike turned past the post by Manson diving quickly down at full length.
However the hosts finished the match as the more determined and stronger side. On 86 minutes Adam Roscrow sprinted along the left touchline to reach the by-line then delivered a cross into the goalmouth where Will Evans, with time and space, wastefully fired the ball over the bar.
But moments afterwards any chance that the Old Gold might possibly stage a late recovery was effectively extinguished. Following a Cardiff Met corner Lee Surman (who had only been on the field as a substitute for 8 minutes) was sent-off, evidently for an “off-the-ball incident” involving Parker. While the resulting penalty was squandered by Roscrow, blasting the ball high over the bar, it was not too long before he helped to make victory secure by setting up a third goal.
In the second minute of added time, with Town pressing upfield in the faint hope of snatching a late equaliser, Roscrow broke free along the left-wing and into the penalty area – as Idzi advanced to challenge him he slid the ball across to Parker, completely alone, who had the simple task of firing it into the unguarded net.
A miserable finish to a generally miserable match – it seems to be a very long time ago since the Old Gold were dominating this League Cup competition, winning the trophy twice in successive seasons!!
Town must now very quickly recover and regroup since their next two matches can hardly be more challenging – on Saturday (September 29thk/o 2.30pm) they visit Connah’s Quay who currently lie second in the WPL, while the following week-end (October 6thk/o 2.30pm) they entertain perpetual League Champions and current leaders TNS.
Lee Idzi; Jordan Vickers (sub Jordan Knott sub 66); Lewis Baldwin; Dave Vincent (sub Lee Surman 79); Tyrrell Webbe (sub Greg Walters 66); Jay Woodford; Mael Davies; Declan Carroll; Liam Thomas; Luke Bowen; Sean Hanbury;
Unused subs: Luke Cummings; Ceri Morgan;
Goal: Luke Bowen (8);
Cards: (R) Lee Surman (87).