Cardiff Metropolitan University 3-2 Cardiff City – Former Bluebird Murray haunts old side with late winner
Cardiff Metropolitan University bounced back from their League Cup final defeat, by defeating City rivals Cardiff City in dramatic fashion.
It keeps the gap at five points as the league season with the Archers winning their penultimate home game, before they host Caernarfon Town next week, knowing victory would put them in good standing in their title charge.
Wales international Claire Skinner who was named as a substitute at St Mary’s on Friday evening in which Wales secured a heroic draw made her debut for Cardiff City.
She was tested early on as Erin Murray shot but put her effort over the bar. Skinners’ first involvement was to pick the ball out of the back of the net after she was beaten by former Bluebirds forward Murray. She escaped the challenge of the defenders and scored with a tidy finish, slotting her shot into the corner of the goal.
The goal was an indication of Met’s early dominance and they nearly doubled their lead. Lucy Brown crossed the ball into the box and Kitty Wells saw her looping header saved by Skinner. Up the other end, Lucy McDonough crossed the ball into the box but Sara Moreira was there to come out and collect.
The Bluebirds evened things up though in the 20th minute after pacey winger Alana Murphy swapped flanks and beat Moreira with an audacious strike outside the box, as her strike thundered into the net.
After the goal, Cardiff City had more structure about them and this was highlighted when Kelly Bourne made a good tackle to deny Murray the chance to shoot. Captain Lucy Thomas was also there to deny Kitty Wells as she tried to break into the box.
The Bluebirds then went up the other end with Jordan Guard swinging in a good free-kick, to find Amy Wathan, but Moreira did enough to put her off from shooting. As the game approached half-time, City went on the breakaway with Murphy winning a free-kick in a good area after a handball. Guard opted to shoot but Moreira wasn’t tested.
Both sides opted to make changes in the second half, Lucy Brown came off for Met as she was replaced for Chloe Tiley, whilst Joel Hutton brought on Kanisha Underdown for the second half.
Met had the best opportunity early on, the influential Murray broke into the box but she put her shot wide from close range. City were under the cosh again, when substitute Chloe Tiley showed a burst of space to break into the box, pulling a shot off and forcing Skinner into a save. Archers captain Tija Richardson was dealing well with the pressure of Cardiff City, clearing the ball as it came to her on multiple occasions.
The Archers had a penalty appeal turned down as Tiley went down under the challenge, but it wasn’t given. With a win needed to keep them ahead of Swansea City, as they lead Llandudno Ladies.
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Dr Kerry Harris made her second substitute of the day, with youngster Jasmine Simpson replacing Kitty Wells as they looked for a new dimension going forward. However, it was the Bluebirds who went in front. Moreira caught McDonough in the box after losing possession and up stepped substitute Kanisha Underdown to place the ball into the goal for a shock lead.
Inspired to get her side back into the game, Richardson headed over from a corner to level things up, whilst Murray strayed her shot just wide of the goal. The Bluebirds had the chance to double their lead when McDonough was played in, but Moreira forced the ball behind, City were looking good on the counter-attack.
Five minutes remaining and the Archers searching for an equaliser, Stacey Ayling saw her palmed away for a corner by Skinner. Met did have their equaliser too, the corner was put in and there was Rebecca Mathias to hit a shot through a sea of bodies and into the net for an equaliser.
Four minutes later, the game turned completely on its head. Murray broke into the box and took it around the keeper to put it home into an empty net, sparking wild celebrations as Met completed the turnaround in quick fashion, in a game that could very nearly have been lost on them. Met held out for the victory and now prepare themselves for Caernarfon Town at home, whilst City prepare for their FAW Women’s Cup Final with South Wales rivals Swansea City.
Cardiff Metropolitan University Ladies
Scherschel, Mathias, Richardson (C), Turner, Walker-Smith, Brown, Ayling, Wells, Murray, Townsend
Cardiff City Women
Skinner, Jones, Broadley, Bourne, Thomas (C), Guard, McDonough, Owen, Davies, Wathan, Murphy