Five years ago the Met men raced to a rousing 4-1 win over the big boys of Bala in this competition before losing to the Nomads at the quarter-final stage but there was to be no revenge.
That win was on the grass next door, this match-up was on the new-fangled 3G – fake grass teeming with millions of tiny black balls that look like mouse poo. Win this and the Met could have been only one game away from qualifying for Europe.
The pitch sparked a clash of cultures in Cyncoed as GCQ tried to factor it out of the equation with a first half aerial bombardment. If the Luftwaffe played football it was probably like this.
Couldn’t blame them really – if that’s your forte and the best way to win, then why not?
Clear from the off who the students were – the ones with the far less convincing efforts at beards. Mainly no fuzz on the fresh faces but a few burgeoning beardlets.
Also, off the field, it must have been a big night at the union bar on Friday as this was the quietest bunch of students I’ve ever heard. Hungover? Surely not. And first time I’ve heard fans discussing their Ph.Ds and dissertations while watching a game.
They turned up in fair numbers but singing or raucous support proved beyond most. Malcolm Allen up on the Sgorio commentary gantry managed to outshout 90% of the crowd.
The tone was set early on with relentless harrying of the home back four to the point where the home keeper Will Fuller had one clearance charged down – it paid off even if it wasn’t what neutrals wanted to see
High balls into the box were pumped in monotonously and the youngsters dealt with them gamely managing to keep it scoreless for 30 minutes before they got some wind in their sails.
That was when the students came alive and started to show some G whizz. Their ball-playing skills and ability to beat players drew two yellow cards for the Nomads – for George Horan and Paul Linwood – and it looked like we might witness a contest at last.
It looked like they might make headway if they could reduce the visitors to ten when the last long ball of the first half descended on the six-yard box, Fuller missed the punch and it fell nicely for an easy goal for Nathan Woolfe. Fuller needed attention and it looked like he might have been fouled but the TV replay afterwards suggested it was legit.
Decent patch after the break for Met but two chances in the first ten minutes were spurned and then Callum Morris cracked a shot which was parried on to the bar by Fuller but Morris won the race for the rebound to tap it in.
All over after 56 minutes. The rest was nothing to write home about except for a nice sunset.
Interviewed after the match visiting coach Andy Morrison confirmed what was blindingly obvious – that his side don’t fancy the 3G. He was hoping for a neutral venue with some of that old-fashioned grass and mud stuff.
But in a double-header, Newtown’s Latham Park will host both semis next month. It’s 3G.
You know what to expect!