Cardiff Metropolitan University’s strength in depth could end European heartbreak
It’s early days, but two wins out of two and two different performances, have seen Cardiff Metropolitan University start the season well.
A dogged performance against Newtown on the opening day, where the Archers were forced to sit back for most of the game and invite the Robins attack on to them. They did their job well, grinding out for the victory.
Fast forward a week, the Archers ran out comfortable winners against Aberystwyth Town, who also won on the opening day.
The victory takes in their stride, putting four goals past Aberystwyth Town, with three goals before halftime. On the scoresheet, one of their newest summers recruits Sam Snaith, signed from Llantwit Major, having previously had trials with Newport County.
Snaith’s smartly taken goal, making the most of a defensive error and the Archers clinical display at Park Avenue is an example of how Met are now able to call upon more players.
Met have been forced to deal with long-term injuries to Bradley Woolridge and Will Fuller, whilst frontman Adam Roscrow has yet to make an appearance this season.
At times, Cardiff Met’s strict player recruitment policy of only playing students at the university has been their downfall.
They’ve been forced to work with their hands tied behind their back, whilst other clubs have strengthened. For example, Bangor City’s demotion has seen a number of players move around the Welsh Premier League.
But the smart acquisitions, of hungry players, has helped equip Christian Edwards with a squad capable of going just that extra step further this season.
They’ve suffered Europa League play-off final defeats over the last two seasons, but there’s a feeling Met could do it this season.
They’re not going to be fancied for it and have earned themselves a plucky underdog tag for the way they’ve gone about their business, after all, there isn’t a financial incentive that the Archers can offer, just a unique footballing experience.
Alex Lang, who has been extremely unfortunate to not keep a clean sheet in his opening two games, shows how Met strengthened in a position they’ve needed to. Keeper Will Fuller has been the main man between the sticks this season, but a quad injury has seen him ruled out.
Replacing a keeper of Fuller’s stature is no mean feat, but former Swansea City goalkeeper Alex Lang can do that.
A string of good saves on his debut, whilst a moment of brilliance undone him against Aberystwyth, Fuller may find it hard to win the number one jersey, once he resumes full fitness.
The prime example of how Met have improved this season is the addition of AFC Bournemouth youngster Matt Neale. Neale has excelled in his last two outings. Two assists, as well as a part in Eliot Evans’ second goal, shows he’s enjoying life in the Maroon of Met.
Jordan Lam has gone now, having joined Vanarama National League North side Hereford, so it’s Neale’s season to shine, in the absence of Lam. That’s not to say, Football Manager icon Harry Owen won’t have a say though.
(Featured Image: Matthew Lofthouse)