PENRHIWCEIBER CONS 2
CADOXTON BARRY FC 2
WHEN the ‘game on’ decision arrived late on Saturday morning, many were surprised and some were pretty dismayed.
The cognoscenti reasoned that a month without a game or even training sessions would not be conducive to a performance of vigour, pace and style, but the pitch was in perfect condition and, although the home side had also played the previous Saturday, postponement did not appear to have been on the cards at any time.
Both sides started the South Wales Senior Soccer League game in the upper half of the table although only CB had lingering hopes of a top three finish and promotion.
Shorn of no fewer than nine players for their last match of 2013 - a cracking draw at Whitchurch - CB welcomed back six, with four starting.
The early play consisted of a midfield game of pin-ball, and it took CB almost 20 minutes to create their first opening, with Ross Weekley blasting over. Moments later, Dean Adams had another one-to-one but the goalkeeper blocked his low shot when a lob might have paid off. Adams then released Weekley to round the 'keeper and open the scoring.
Although CB had settled into a rhythm, the home side equalised in the 35th minute when Evans' half-hearted shot wrongfooted goalkeeper Davie and crept in.
Manager Harvey’s half-time talk stressed the need for CB to get back to their early stylish football, but, in a 10-minute onslaught from Cons at the start of the second half, Davie made a sprawling save before Caine Wells' snap shot was just wide. And next time CB crossed the halfway line, Adams had a similar experience.
By now, CB had weathered the storm and, with subs being introduced, there was a bit of momentum. Camped in the opposition half after 25 minutes, they were stunned, however, when a hopeful punt found Evans who smashed home a real beauty.
With the fluent football of the first half a fading memory, CB struggled to create any clearcut chances despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession, but struck in the 80th minute. The home 'keeper palmed a deflection on to the stanchion and, with no whistle, and the ball spinning towards the opposite post, a posse of defenders chased it, but sharpshooter Weekley got their first to fire into an empty net.
CB tried mighty hard to snatch what would have been a deserved winner, but lack of match practice took its toll.
The two points dropped spell the end of realistic hopes of a top three finish, but CB have a large, classy squad and other teams might find injuries causing problems. Watch this space!