Yesterday afternoon the 20th March, Druids made the long trip south to the Cyncoed Campus to play Cardiff Met in a game of two halves. The Archers dominating the first, only for Druids to come out a new team in the second. Both sides can be disappointed they didn’t snatch all three points with it ultimately ending a 0-0 stalemate.
Druids decided to rotate the squad heavily since the disappointing 5-0 loss to TNS on Tuesday night. Academy graduates Kieran Smith got the nod at right back while Harry Fuller got his first Cymru Premier start on the right wing in an exciting day for them both. More opportunities for our youth players as Max Pritchard, Matty Marshall and goalkeeper Ben Edwards also made the bench.
The match kicked off, and it was the hosts who came out of the blocks much sharper than Druids, who were struggling to get into the game early on. The Archers had us pinned in our half and created a number of early chances but were unable to capitalise. Cardiff Met forward Eliot Evans was finding space on the left wing and forced a good save from Michael Jones early on after cutting inside onto his right foot. The hosts had another big chance shortly after when an Evans cross found a Cardiff Met forward in the box, only for his free header to go straight at Jones. The Students earned a number of corners in the first half with good deliveries into our box, however the Druids defence held firm and consistently cleared the danger.
Towards the end of the first half, our opponents thought they had the lead when forward Tom Price was put through on goal and finished into the bottom corner. However, the referee blew for a rightful foul in the build-up. Druids were able to get a few balls into the box for our forwards to attack, but no meaningful chances as of yet as we tried to work our way back into the game. The referee eventually blew for halftime and Cardiff Met would have felt disappointed that for all their pressure and chances, they were unable to convert, and the score remained 0-0.
Druids made some changes at half time in hope of a reaction with Cody Ruberto coming on up front for his first game back after a lengthy injury, as well as winger Joe Faux. It seemed to have worked as Druids looked a different team. Pressing high with intensity and creating more meaningful attacks, giving the Cardiff Met defence no time to relax and play. Ruberto was creating a nuisance of himself up front, winning headers and drawing fouls which allowed the Druids defence some breathing time. However, while we were pressing and getting into the game, The Students were still creating chances. They were working it well down their wings and got a few good balls into the box, but again the Druids defence of Phil Mooney, Aaron Simpson and goalkeeper Michael Jones showed great character, clearing well and keeping us in the game.
As the game came into the final 15 minutes or so, it began to really open up with both sides creating good chances to try and snatch the win. A Cardiff Met corner was cleared well, only for fullback Dylan Reece to strike the clearance sweetly, first time, from almost 30 yards, for it to whistle inches over the top corner. On the resulting goal kick, Jones immediately found Faux on the left-hand side who beat his man down the wing and delivered the cross for Ruberto to attack. His header was blocked by a Cardiff Met defender with Niall Flint trying to poke in the loose ball only for the keeper to smother it just in time.
The game continued to be end to end, but unfortunately, neither side could capitalise and the referee ultimately blew for fulltime. Cardiff Met will be disappointed they didn’t finish off their numerous chances in the first half, while Druids felt they did enough to snatch the win in the second. It was a great occasion for Kieran Smith and Harry Fuller to get minutes in the Cymru Premier and all our youth players will be looking to keep working hard in training to earn more playing time. A point away from home is something at least and a clean sheet should give our defence some confidence for the games ahead.
Our next fixture is away to Aberystwyth Town on the 2nd April which will again be one we feel we can pick up some more points!
Come on you Druids!
More than just a football club.