The key things we learnt as Cardiff Met edge extra-time victory against Pontypridd Town
Cardiff Metropolitan University progressed to the next round of the Nathaniel MG Cup after 2-1 victory over Pontypridd Town on Tuesday evening, but what did we learn from the game?
Cardiff Met saw Pontypridd Town come to the Cyncoed Campus this evening on what promised to be an eventful encounter in the second round of the Nathaniel MG Cup. Pontypridd currently sit in the third tier of Welsh Premier League football, narrowly missing out on promotion in the previous season by just a single point in a highly contested affair between themselves and Cwmamman United.
The sides previously met in August 2016 where Pontypridd came out victorious in a 4-1 win over Met in a pre-season friendly, so the game had all the makings of a thrilling match up.
Pontypridd provide stern opposition despite lower league status
The Dragons have always given Met a tough challenge whenever these two sides meet, and this game was certainly no different. Pontypridd opted to go for a 4-3-3 formation from kick off, meaning the Dragons were always likely to be deadly from the wings.
This was a fact which Cardiff Met quickly discovered, when in only the 9th minute of play they were caught out by a quick ball over the top, which resulted in a penalty for Pontypridd that was calmly converted by Danny Hooper to give the visitors an early lead.
From this point, Pontypridd often sat deep whenever Met had the ball, becoming incredibly difficult to break down as they changed to a more defensive 4-5-1 that saw the Cardiff side often struggling to find an answer to a well regimented Pontypridd defence throughout the game.
Eliot Evans provides creative outlet for possession dominant Cardiff Met
Eliot Evans gave a standout performance for Cardiff Met, as his pace, trickery and creativity gave the Pontypridd defence the most problems throughout the game. The wide man was always an effective option for a Met side that often struggled to break down at times what appeared to be an impenetrable Pontypridd team.
Often in good attacking positions however, Adam Roscrow’s performance saw him take home the Man of the Match award after a solid outing throughout the game, as his brace helped Met to a 2-1 thriller at Cyncoed Campus. Credit also has to be given to Jordan Lam, who often beat his defender on the left-hand side to get in behind the Pontypridd defence.
Failure to take chances proves to be Met’s downfall at Cyncoed Campus
Despite a dominating performance in terms of possession throughout the game, a lack of a number of any real clear-cut chances meant that Cardiff Met struggled to cause Pontypridd any major problems, as the killer final ball always seemed to be lacking whenever Met found themselves in any real attacking positions.
Pontypridd were comfortably able to deal with almost anything Met would throw at them, and appeared perfectly happy to sit deep, soak up the pressure and hit Cardiff Met with quick, counter attacking football.
After Met were finally able to break through and get the equalising goal, the chances came quickly for Met who not long after saw an effort slam against the crossbar, finding themselves unlucky not to be in front.
Ultimately, Met would have been disappointed not to have put the game away sooner considering the amount of possession and chances they created, especially within the final 15 minutes of the game.
David Allen stands out for Pontypridd with defensive showing, but will be disappointed with late straight red
David Allen gave a brilliant performance in the back line for Pontypridd against Cardiff Met, with an evident display of leading through example after being first to every ball, and not allowing any of his matchups any breathing room.
Allen showed aerial dominance all the way through the affair, and will undoubtedly feel disappointed to concede against Cardiff Met after defending superbly for 78 minutes before their equaliser.
His leadership was also excellent, as he could clearly be heard directing team-mates to their correct positions and providing solid covering runs when needed. However, his sending-off near the end of the extra time period will ultimately be a disappointing memory in an otherwise terrific display.
Will Evans stakes his claim for starting place
Will Evans had an immense impact for Cardiff Met after coming on as a substitute in the 65th minute of the game, and provided a definitive spark that at times Met appeared to be lacking. This will undoubtedly provide a headache in terms of selection for Met manager Dr. Christian Edwards, as the player has let the manager know with his performance that he his hungry for a starting position, and it is inevitable that he will get one if his play continues to stay at this standard.
(Featured Image: Matthew Lofthouse)