On a rainswept afternoon in Cardiff we sent along @therovingsheep to witness the return of Welsh Premier League football to the capital.
Keen to bounce back after an opening defeat away at Airbus UK Broughton FC 1-0 the Met were ready for the challenge of Bala Town FC who earned a 0-0 draw away at Newtown on the opening day of the season. Not since the days of Cardiff Grange Harlequins had we seen top flight Welsh football in the capital and on an afternoon that saw grey skies turn into rain, an eager crowd gathered to watch how the game would unfold.
The early exchanges were end to end and Jordan Lam went close for the Met early on firing a shot just wide of the goal. Bala Town however responded and on the 10th minute nearly came close to scoring themselves only to be denied by a super tackle by Emlyn Lewis for Cardiff Met. Several minutes later the Met surged down the field with some nice football resulting in a free kick which saw Eliot Evans unlucky not to score with a great effort. Bala replied nearly straight away and a minute later we saw Fuller pull of a tremendous save to deny Bala Town at the other end.
Bala were pressing forward and knocking the ball round quite well in the early stages and on the 15th minute mark were awarded a free kick after a late challenge from the Met. Bala couldn’t capitalise on the free kick and the ball was skied well over the crossbar. However minutes later, a dubious penalty was given much to the dismay of the home supporters after an Emlyn Lewis mistimed tackle brought down a Bala striker who was clean through on goal. The ball was slotted home superbly by Stephens giving the home keeper no chance.
Some good two touch football saw Bala create a good opportunity on the 25th minute but the ball was blazed over and the scored remained at 1-0. At this stage tackles were flying in as both teams asked for no quarter to be given, and on the 28th minute Sheridan and Connolly looked bemused at some of the decisions that appeared to be going against the away team. Met were up for the challenge and certainly had Bala Town rattled and having to give it 100 per cent to maintain their lead.
The Met created a superb opening on the 36th minute as the ever lively winger Lam supplied a superb ball into the box and a powerful downwards header was saved superbly from Ashley Morris who denied the home team. Lam continued to terrorise the Bala defence and on the 44th minute went on a surging run which resulted in a corner to the home team but which came to no end result.
No sooner had the game restarted, there was a nasty collision involving two Bala players who were chasing the same player but ended up colliding with each other. Fuller was having to be wary in the Met goal, as whilst not creating too many opportunities, the Met were getting caught out by some long ball over the top and the Met goalkeeper was brought into action to pull out a good save on the 52nd minute.
The game was certainly good value for the crowd which looked to be around 250 or possibly more and included some travelling supporters who had made the journey down from North Wales.
The game ebbed and flowed and Corsby on the 57th minute for the Met after some great play down the flanks put in a superb ball into the Bala penalty box but the Met were unable to capitalise and the score remained at one each. A few minutes later Eliot Evans trying to redeem himself from the earlier error came close with a good effort on goal but blazed the ball over the crossbar.
Incredibly, Bala Town somehow missed an opportunity from a yard out in the 63rd minute in one of those scenarios where you would likely to see the effort replayed on a question of sport and the score heading into the 70th minute remained at 1-0 to the visitors. The rain by now was driving in and as spectators huddled in the stands both teams now knew that the last 15 minutes would need a big effort and keep going in the ever worsening conditions.
It was Bala who came closed on the 71st minute a wonderful move saw a glancing downward header go narrowly wide but the linesman had already flagged for offside much to the relief of the home fans. However, it was to be the Met who looked the better team in the closing stages as they were throwing the kitchen sink at the visitors defence and in the closing minutes had several opportunities and forced a corner with the crowd urging them to grab an equaliser even including a hand ball penalty shout.
The game finished 1-0 and it was a thoroughly entertaining affair resulting in the three points heading to North Wales.