It’s fair to say a lot has happened since I last saw Cardiff Met play in pre-season.
The Archers have put last seasons disapointment behind them, and are putting in strong case of ending the season as Welsh Premier League Champions. Plus they’ve got the small matter of the Nathaniel MG Cup final next year!
Going into the game, Cardiff Met were second while Cefn Druids, who have had a solid season so far, were in sixth.
The first few minutes of the game was a mostly played in midfield. With Cardiff Met slowly starting to get a grip of the game with Will Evans and Chris Baker showing their class in the middle of the park.
But that direct approach paid off when, with 25 minutes gone, a floated cross was met by Nathan Peate in mid air. The Ancients number six finding the bottom corner with his header.
Peate nearly got a second soon after. Will Fullers punch fell kindly to the defender, and Peate’s half volleyed effort flew over the crossbar.
Normal service was resumed before half time as Met, who are unbeaten at home this season, equalized. Chris Bakers perfectly weighted ball over the defence found Adam Roscrow who made it 1-1 with a controlled low finish.
For the neutral, it wasn’t the most entertaining match. The closest the Druids came in the second half to scoring was when Michel Pritchard sent a shot flying over the bar from just outside the box.
However, the games main talking point came on the hour mark. Met defender Joel Edwards tried to make amends for a heavy touch and went flying into Fisnik Hajdjari with his studs up. Straight red.
It was one of those mistimed lunges which happen at every level of football. There was no malice involved, but at the same time there was no question as to whether it was a red or not.
The bumper crowd might have exaggerated things a bit, but it looked like tensions were about to boil over.
Despite being a man down, Met continued their attractive football, at times I had to remind myself that they were a man down.
It would be unfair not to mention the efforts of the Archers centre back pairing of Emlyn Lewis and Brad Woolridge, who didn’t really give Druids a sniff in attack.
The pair have been playing together for over ten years, and it shows too.
The moment that illustrated this was when Druids frontman Ashley Ruane cut inside on the wing and Wooridge took him out with a crunching tackle which you could hear from the other side of the pitch.
Dylan Rees was another who proved his worth in defence. Poking away a Druids one-two in the box, thus preventing a late away winner.
Ultimately I think a draw was a fair result. Perhaps Cardiff Met deserved a win slighlty more, but they didn’t test Michael Jones in the Druids goal enough for my liking.
The Archers will be looking to get back to winning ways against Connah’s Quay Nomads next Sunday, while Druids are at home to Barry Town the day before.