After narrowly missing out on a Europa League play-off again last season, Cardiff Met were back in action against Gloucester City, a side who play in the National League South; the sixth step on the English football pyramid.
A mild summer evening in Cardiff, I can’t think of many better settings for a pre-season friendly.
The English side started quickly. Isaac Kelly hit an early cross which almost lobbed Alex Lang in the Met goal but hit the crossbar.
Gloucester’s quality was clear to see, with number seven Jake Mawford, a bearded midfielder with long black hair, controlling the midfield. The thing about the non-league system is that many players in the division have dropped down the ladder after playing in Premier League academies, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was one.
The Archers really had to work to retrieve the ball, however Will Evans nearly opened the scoring when he launched himself at Gwion Howell’s driven corner. Unfortunately for Met he couldn’t find the direction. But Evans would get his moment.
With 22 minutes gone, Evans played a one two with Chris Baker just outside the box, took the ball on the outside of the defender with his right and finished past Ben Taylor in the Gloucester goal with his left. It was up there with the best goals I’ve seen at Cyncoed.
Before half time, Met introduced Sam Snaith who had been on trial with Newport County. This made me realise a lot of the Met players weren’t wearing their proper shirts, for example Emlyn Lewis had Barnett on his back. At the World Cup South Korea swapped shirts when they were training so scouts would be confused to who they were. Maybe Met were trying to do the same thing?!
In the second half the Gloucester, or the Tigers as they’re known, turned up the heat. Ben Seymour nearly chipped Lang but the shot fell wide of the post. Then the aforementioned Mawford curled a shot over the bar.
By this point Met had made a bunch of substitutions, including in goal. Lang was replaced by Daniel Evans who denied the Tigers an equaliser when he palmed Seymour’s free-kick round the post.
But Gloucester would eventually get one back with quarter of an hour to go. Evans denied Seymour then Spencer Hamilton prior to Met making a mess of clearing the ball and Sam Avery stooping to nod in.
And if anyone was to grab a winner it looked like the away side. The lively Seymour drove a shot into the side netting, then Adam Page cut inside from the right and forced another save from Evans.
Today was a good test for Cardiff Met who won’t play many better teams this season. Next up for the Archers are Barry Town United as they lead up to the Welsh League season which kicks off against Newtown on the 10th August.