Cardiff Draconians 3-2 Canton Liberal: Dracs edge out Liberal in fiercely contested Derby
Cardiff Draconians bounced back from their weekend defeat to Sully, with victory over City rivals Canton Liberal.
The Dracs lost 3-2 to Sully Sports at Llydstep Park on Saturday, whilst the Liberal were on a high after victory over Grange Albion in front of a boosted crowd on Friday.
Two goals for the returning Liam Williams, as well as a second-half winner from Leighton James, gave Layton Maxwell’s side victory over their City counterparts.
Goals from Andre Phillips and Christopher Quick weren’t enough for the Cardiff West side.
In the opening stages of the game, James Cotterill forced Jake Gammond into a goal-bound block.
Cotterill then lofted a free-kick to Dale Lewis, but Callum Meyer collected his header.
Liam Williams, back on set-piece duty upon his return from suspension, hit a free-kick past the ball, forcing Aaron Fettah to fumble, but the Liberal keeper collected it to stop a rebound.
Dracs had an early chance to go in front. Joey Morrelli’s shot rattled the crossbar after he beat the offside trap.
Shaun McCarthy then played it to Leighton James, but Fettah blocked James’ shot well with his body.
Just over the half-hour mark, Liberal took the lead. Christopher Quick chased a ball over the top and took it round Meyer who came off his line, slotting it home.
The lead was short-lived, however, as the tricky Ieuan Llewellyn earnt a penalty, after going down in the area. Liam Williams stepped up and hit a powerful penalty into the corner of the goal.
The two sides went into the break level in what was an evenly contested first half.
Just a minute of second-half action, Dracs were undone by a long ball, as Andre Phillips was found unmarked from the pass and he stabbed the ball home, to restore Liberal’s lead.
It was almost doubled, as Jonathan Jeffery’s found Phillips again, but his shot was straight at Meyer.
Ten minutes after going behind, Draconians drew level. A smartly taken corner from Tom McLean to Liam Williams who peeled away from the defender tucked away his finish for his second goal of the game.
Chris Quick already on one goal for Canton attempted a shot from distance but his effort cannoned off the crossbar for a goal kick.
Up the other McLean almost had the same outcome from a corner, but the chance fell to Joey Morrelli who put his effort just over the bar.
Dean Bowden’s side had a good chance to restore their lead after Andre Phillips got on to an uncleared ball, but Meyer made a superb save to deny Liberal a third.
As the game approached the final quarter of the game, the Cardiff North side took the lead for the first time in the game. A delicate chip from Leighton James sparked jubilant scenes, as he lobed Aaron Fettah.
Tensions began to flare as Liberal reacted to going behind, Chris Dye was yellow carded and then substituted for a late tackle on Ieuan Llewellyn.
Yellows substitute Jordan Franklin was shown a red card after going through the back of Dracs sub Luke Harding.
With a man advantage in the final stages, the Dracs held out, dealing with a number of throw-ins and crosses, to record victory in the Derby.
The win takes the Dracs up a place, as they trail the league leaders Cefn Cribwr by three points.
Attention now turns to the Welsh Cup for both sides. Canton Liberal travel to Division One side Aber Valley, whilst the Dracs are off to Newport, to play Newport Corinthians.
Meyer, Southard, McCarthy, Williams (C), Nippers, Gammond, Morrelli, McLean, Fowler, James, Llewelyn
Denner, Bratcher, Morgan, Harding, Mahon.
Liam Williams p 36, 56
Leighton James 73
Fettah, Ward, Laventure, Jenkins, J.Cotterill, Dye, K.Cotterill, Jeffreys, Phillips, Quick, Lewis.
Tajul, Johnson, Peachy, Franklin, R.Noyes
Christopher Quick 33
Andre Phillips 46