4th December 2021
Cardiff Uni 2 [2-0] Bristol & West 2
Report by Oli Nevin
Bristol & West once again made plans to venture over the bridge in convoy to take on the league leaders Cardiff University. We were slightly delayed in leaving due to Rohan and his Dad aimlessly driving around the small village of Hambrook to locate the meet point of “the Hambrook”.
The students noted the importance of this top of the table clash having scheduled a 4.30pm pushback under the lights in Talybont. The late pushback gave the mighty B&W 2’s no repeat excuses of feeling hungover prior to the game.
Clearly this message failed to reach the students, with the pushback being delayed for over 40 minutes which was likely due to the inability for them to get out of bed before midday.
Given the delays, pitch time was limited to exactly 7 and a half minutes (cheers umps) to get used to the bouncy pitch. This short warm up proved pivotal in the early goings as we struggled to string consecutive passes together and gain a foothold in the match.
On the other hand, Cardiff…all 16 of them, were full of youth and caused problems with their slick passing and constant movement. Despite their sustained pressure, Cardiff were left bemused as they struggled to get to grips with our secret weapon…The returning RJ.
The corrective eye-surgery clearly worked a treat, with RJ seeing the ball like a beachball under floodlights not dissimilar to a Tuesday night at training. A flurry of strong saves gave the team a massive boost as we began to settle into the game with Josh De Witt finding his passing range with his freshly gripped stick (you’re welcome) to Lus who showed quick hands to win the first short corner of the game. Sadly, like Dave’s attempts to get us out in Cardiff after the game…it came to nothing.
We did look dangerous on the counter with Lus finding himself with a good opportunity behind the defence with one defender to beat. Cue Speedster Varney to fly past the Cardiff defence to create the 2 on 1 however his efforts were in vain as the weighted pass failed to connect.
After some consistent pressure from Uni, a rocket from top D whistled past De Witt’s ear nearly dislodging his questionable (edgy??) piercing and flew into the side netting leaving RJ with no chance.
Unable to fault the lads efforts, the well drilled Uni side continued to create chances culminating in a well worked passing move which cut open our defence leaving the fresher with an open goal to pass the ball into. Well that’s what we all thought until out of nowhere the man, the myth, the legend RJ reaches out like Gordon Banks against Pele in the 1970 World Cup to claw the ball round the post. Take a bow son, take a bow.
Despite the heroics, the students scored a well worked short corner just before half time which left us going into the break 2-0 down.
Half time oranges and a slight change of tactics from Captain Si aimed to test the students ability under the high ball which would hopefully allow us to "utilise the pace of Joe, Varney, Rohan…. and the skill of Lus" (that’s right isn’t it Si?).
The defenders clearly took this on board as a succession of aerials flew (fell?) through the night sky helping us to gain territory in the enemy half. Our main chance of the half dropped to the man-in-form Lus, who having received a world class aerial from Nevin down the right danced into the D onto his reverse. From this position, you expect to see the net ripple however sadly on this occasion we were lucky to find the ball within the campus grounds.
Despite our best efforts we were unable to create the vital breakthrough needed to put the students on the backfoot however we were keen to maintain a respectable score line and finish the second half with a clean sheet.
This objective was put to the test in the final moments as the pesky students won a short corner. The umpires blew for the final whistle which allowed all 10 outfielders to line the edge of the circle. The back four plus man mountain RJ riled themselves up to ensure the ball stayed out. Luckily for the students, Nevin, now in his thirties who has never been blessed with pace, tried to summon his inner Blandy and charge to the top of the D. Unfortunately, he overstepped the mark a little too soon and was required to carry on his slow trudge to the halfway line. Nevertheless we managed to keep them out for a deserved goalless second half.
Talking points after the game were focused on the league rules for Cardiff’s failure to provide both match teas and working showers provoking murmurs of a 5-0 walkover. Unfortunately we had to settle for Lynx Africa and a Maccies big mac.
Author & DOD: Oli Nevin