Cogan Coronation 1 Cadoxton Barry 0

COGAN Coronation recorded an important victory in this fiery South Wales Alliance Division One local derby last week that did not disappoint.

The opening exchanges were fairly even, with both teams finding their feet on a surface that had still not fully recovered from the long winter.

Cadoxton started quicker. Cogan keeper Ed Smith had a few crosses to deal with early on, while Cogan's back four of Adam Davies, Nathan Self, Stewart Owadally, and Leigh Bennett did need some time to settle into the game.

Bennett in particular was tested early by the visitors' main threat – winger Rhodri Morgan – but the score remained level, despite Cadoxton hitting the bar.

As Cogan got more comfortable though, the game evened out. A small turning point was the denial of what looked a clear goal, as a back-pass went straight under the boot of the Cadoxton keeper's boot, before rolling a yard over the line. Luckily for the Barry side, the referee didn't see it. But the injustice seemed to spur Cogan on.

The midfield trio of Jon Matthews, Louis Crook, and Cameron Stewart were offering assured protection to the defence, while ensuring they launched attacks whenever possible.

It helped them that there was pace for them to work with ahead of them. Sharief Nassoro on the left, Jamie Harris through the middle, and Tino Tabi on the right were always looking to threaten but only created a few half chances in the first half.

As the half wore on, the game began to heat up. A few late tackles from either side started to get tempers going. While Cadoxton's centre back pairing looked relatively assured, the full backs were beginning to look exposed against Cogan's pace, and challenges began flying in.

At the other end, Self and Stewart escaped bookings for cynical - but clever – fouls to put an abrupt end to promising counter attacks.

As the half closed though, it was Cogan in the ascendancy. Harris and Tabi both got decent shots off. Louis Crook had one shot from distance fly wide. And a few set pieces caused problems in the Cadoxton defence.

It was the second half where the game really took shape.

Cogan were out of the blocks fastest. Crook began to shine, dominating midfield alongside Matthews and Stewart. Cogan's full backs began defending on the front foot too. Bennett was giving Morgan no joy.

And Adam Davies, faultless in the first half, began making a string of excellent tackles and interceptions. Owadally and Self were resisting anything down the middle, and Smith in goals continued his first half assuredness into the second period.

The big difference though came in the Cogan frontline.

Tabi was beginning to terrify the visitors. Dropping his shoulder one time, rolling the full back another time, and getting in behind with his sheer pace another time.

He had a good shout for a penalty after getting past his man before being shoved down, but the referee gave a free kick right on the line.

Tabi's link play with Harris was really taking shape and it was clear that, if Cogan were to score, it would come via them.

And when it did come, it was thoroughly deserved. Self won yet another big tackle on the right and played it to Tabi who skipped past his man with ease before releasing Harris who was simply too strong and quick for the defence. Once he'd broken away, his finish was clinical into the roof of the net.

With plenty of time to go though, there was a lot of work to do. But Cogan applied themselves with aplomb.

Crook, Matthews, and Stewart did not stop tackling all game.

Bennett continued to keep his winger quiet. Owadally and Self were then presented with new threats as Cadoxton threw on two strikers, but they dealt with the fresh legs well. While Davies continued what may well have been a man of the match performance at right back, dealing with everything that came his way.

Cadoxton's best chance came to Morgan who, escaping the attentions of Bennett for the only time in the match, cut inside and beat Owadally before hitting his shot low and hard. Smith was rooted to the spot. But luckily for Cogan, the ball bounced back off the post.

The final stages were ill-tempered and out of control. Cadoxton’s striker was dismissed for dissent. Ed Smith took a kick to the head off the ball after collecting a free kick down low.

Some of Cadoxton's other players lashed out in frustration and there were ugly scenes as they struggled to cope with ensuing defeat at the hands of their rivals.

But Cogan kept their heads and saw out the game to claim a crucial three points.