What we learned as Cardiff Metropolitan University earn first ever win over TNS
Cardiff Metropolitan recorded a shock victory over The New Saints on Sunday, live in front of the television cameras at Cyncoed Campus.
Rhys Thomas opened the scoring for the Archers, whilst Sam Snaith scored a brace, Chris Baker made it the almost perfect afternoon, but Greg Draper pulled back a consolation goal.
As Cardiff Metropolitan University earnt their first ever victory over The New Saints, we take a look at what the game showed us about the sides and what they can look to take from the affair.
Eliot Evans the Archers talisman in midfield
Cardiff Metropolitan University appeared to have found their creative force within their new system, as Eliot Evans found himself controlling the game against The New Saints. The midfielder played a huge part in the Cardiff Met attack, finding large areas of space on counter attacks that made him a danger man whenever the home side looked to get forward.
Wide play an issue for Met defence
Whilst their new defensive system coped well on Sunday, perhaps one of its glaring flaws is the space left unchecked on the wings. If played out wide with pace, then the defence is turned on its heels and stretched thin, an issue that can haunt the side if a team can hit the right pressure points. TNS failed to utilise the space out wide effectively against the Archers and perhaps could have learnt much more on their trip to Cyncoed if they had done so.
Sloppy New Saints fail to keep the Archers out
The New Saints had a difficult time away at Cyncoed Campus this Sunday, as the side appeared sloppy in their play, lacking a creative spark they usually possess in abundance. With the visitors acting out of character during the affair, it was a surprise to see them concede goals that could so easily have been prevented. Considering they had only let in two goals over the season prior to the game, this was not the table-topping TNS that has shown such defensive concentration so far this year.
Tenacious Met battle for victory
A side perhaps best known for their passing style, it was a stark contrast to see Cardiff Met approach this tie with a tough physicality and no-nonsense mindset. From the first whistle, players were throwing themselves into challenges as they battled with The New Saints every step of the way.
Ben Bowler was particularly impressive, providing the Archers with a solid defensive cover in the middle of the park that allowed for quick counter-attacks that the visitors struggled to deal with. High pressure was a constant from the home side, and The New Saints found it difficult to deal with as they struggled to break down the Archer’s solid defence.
Title race open as TNS drop valuable points
With the New Saints now sat two points behind Connah’s Quay Nomads, the title race for this seasons Welsh Premier League is shaping up to be an interesting affair. The reigning champions have been uncharacteristically poor in games they would otherwise be winning compared to last season. It means that the Nomads have a huge opportunity to challenge the defending title winners, but there is still a long season ahead to fight through.
(Featured Image: Brian Jones of The New Saints FC)