Monday, 4 November 2019

01/11/19 Review: Cardiff Met Uni vs Penybont

Cardiff Met University 1-1 Penybont (Welsh Premier League)
Cyncoed Campus

Having spent almost a month apart from the beloved game, it was time to rectify four weeks of absence as I headed westward to visit my old pal Tom on what would be a weekend filled with four games, sixteen goals and eighty-four beers- give or take. My last outing was over in France at the start of October and it is safe to say that even this annual jaunt over to the West Country would have to be something special to compete with the occasion that was checking out Stade Raoul BarriƩre. The weather forecast was sketchy to say the least and from the moment I left Coventry on Friday afternoon there was a need to keep on checking ye olde social media as slowly but surely I drove into the wet and windy west. After arriving in Severn Beach- my digs for the weekend- I quickly transferred into Tom's car and we began heading towards Wales. Our initial plans to visit Taff's Well or Goytre were scuppered, so we made the call to give the uni a try and the gamble paid off as we emerged at the Cyncoed Campus ground for the 7:45pm Welsh Prem game between Cardiff Met and new boys Penybont.

Is there anything nicer than a wet and windy wander to Wales?
Sadly, on each of our four adventures this weekend we arrived late- but thankfully we hadn't missed much action on this occasion and we made the most of a slow start by attempting to gather some dinner. I spent a couple of quid on a hot dog that I literally inhaled in one go and Tom had even less fortune as there was a fifteen minute wait on chips- thankfully we are simple folk though, meaning that we could quite simply enjoy the gusty rainfall rinsing everyone in attendance as it poured in every possible direction, whilst debating our predictions for the game. Call me a pessimist, but I wasn't expecting a thriller and having seen a goalless match between Stafford Rangers and FC United back in September I went for a 0-0, whilst Tom opted for an away victory of 0-1 for the Bont. As mentioned earlier, this season is their first in the top tier and the merger club, formed in 2013, have so far only managed to conjure up one victory so far and that was against Airbus UK Broughton- the other promoted side in the division. CMU, on the other hand, have somewhat maintained the momentum they built from last season and although the Europa League qualifiers didn't make it too far in their continental campaign, losing on away goals to Luxembourg's Progres Niederkorn, the plan will be for the currently sixth placed side to try and challenge again with their crop of students.

The form has been poor lately for the hosts though
My last outing to a Welsh ground back in August was a second-tier trek up to Chirk AAA and although the game had some resemblances in terms of quality, but to be fair I'm more than used to the non-league English game so you certainly won't see me squirming or moaning as Tom and I stood having a real good catch-up. In and amongst our gassing, we got to see our first goal of the weekend as Will Evans slid home for the hosts just before the thirty minute mark and meanwhile silencing the visiting fans from just over the M4. Cardiff Met 1-0 Penybont.

And we're off!
As you can probably tell from the few pictures I managed to snap in and amongst the precipitation surrounding us, the ground is modern and about as generic as you'd expect from a uni campus ground. It is of high quality, apart from the horrendous port-a-bogs, and there is a nice little blue-seater stand across on the far end. I certainly wouldn't call it a classic, but having been to Oswestry and seen the chuffing ball-pit and bowling alley at Park Hall, I would also admit that I've been to worse grounds. The one major downside for the loud and proud away fans (and us!) was the lack of bar on the ground so we had to spend the whole of half-time walking back to the car to grab a couple of cans from Tom's boot. Yes, they may have been sticky and covered in dog hairs, but it was Friday and we needed to get this party started.

After all, the Welsh are kings of flamboyancy
We spent the second-half behind the goal with Uni's goalkeeper and the lovable goalie, nicknamed by me as "Fuller Bants", kept us entertained throughout the second-half. At one stage he was caught eyeing us up for our canned Kronenbourg and when asked if we wanted a swig, he simply said "see me after". Not sure how serious he was, we carried on our mooch around the ground and ended up in the corner watching at Penybont began to fight desperately for the inevitable late equaliser that they craved. With time getting on and injury time now upon us it was Kostya Georgievsky, a man who is described on Google as being a "diminutive winger", who would grab the leveller and spark wild celebrations amongst the side in blue and white- meaning that the poor form of the hosts continued with a sixth straight winless game. Cardiff Met 1-1 Penybont.

As a neutral, there's something quite ravishing about a last minute equaliser
There was no time following this goal for the hosts to seek a winner and with that the game ended all-square. We left Campus with a slight buzz after the late drama and as per all of my trips to Wales for the footy I would definitely summarise by saying it's worthwhile. The thing I love about the Welsh pyramid is that there is more than often a Friday night match and, weather providing, there are some cracking old grounds knocking about in some places that you'd possibly never visit if not for the footy. I'll certainly be checking out some more of the ones that are a bit more local to my home in Stafford and although Cyncoed wasn't the most exciting one I've ticked off, it was still worth a ride out to!

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