by Jordan A Jones
UNIVERSITY of South Wales Men’s 1st manager Steve Savage believes his side were the better of the two, as they drew with local rivals Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Despite being the away side and handing a number of debuts to newly recruited players, they remained competitive against the team who have won the BUCS National title for the last two seasons.
Savage’s men went behind and in front at Cyncoed Campus, before having to settle for a draw against the Archers.
Matt Neale opened the scoring for Met, before Danny Williams evened things up, having initially been denied from the spot. Joe Evans put USW ahead, before a late equaliser from Dion Phillips meant the points were shared. USW went down to ten men when Mikey George was shown a red card for dissent.
The Head of Football at USW said: “I thought we were the best side throughout the ninety minutes. Hopefully, the people watching will agree we were the better side.”
Despite being reduced to ten men with a quarter of the game to go, USW Men’s 1st pulled ahead through Cambrian defender Joe Evans.
USW felt aggrieved at a number of decisions given by the referee. The linesman had initially flagged for a penalty for USW, but he was overruled. They did, however, get a first-half penalty, which levelled the game.
“Decisions didn’t go our way. We went down to ten men and still took the lead,” said Savage.
“Credit to the players, they were really good, I’m really proud of them. Shame we didn’t win the game, but we’ll take the 2-2.”
USW’s opponents Cardiff Met play in the JD Welsh Premier League. On Sunday they beat reigning Welsh Premier League champions The New Saints.
Adam Roscrow, Rhydian Morgan and Rhys Thomas all played in that victory but were unable to get on the scoresheet against USW.
USW handed debuts to Joel Whittingham, Lewis Baldwin and Syrian U19 international Helal Albaarini.
The debutants helped USW to a draw over Met, after suffering a semi-final defeat to the Cyncoed-based side back in March.
Savage said: “Our lads buy into our programme, commit to what we want from them and then they carry on competing for their clubs in the Welsh Premier League and the Welsh League.
“Our model is a bit different. Clearly, we’re competing better as we’re progressing. We will get better.
“We want to work hard, playing for USW and playing for each other and our group. Discipline and being determined, showing quality is important to us.”
His side now turn their attention to next week when they welcome Hartpury to USW Sport Park, in their second Premier South game of the season.
“If we can progress from here, at home, we want to try and win for sure. I’m looking forward to Hartpury, it’s another really good side and I’m looking forward to hopefully improving on today.”
(Featured Image: Tom Pritchard)