University of South Wales hoping it will be third time lucky when they host Cardiff Metropolitan in National semi-final

USW Men's 1st team - Photo credit Adam Evans
USW Men's 1st team - Photo credit Adam Evans

by Tom Pritchard

USW will look to end their two-game losing run in the National semi-finals when they host Cardiff Met at Sport Park tomorrow.

The side, managed by Steve Savage and coached by Lee Kendall, have been edged out by the Archers in the two previous semi-finals.

They lost 2-0 last season and 2-1 in the 2016/17 campaign.

The arrival of Kendall has revitalised the team. They went undefeated on their way to claiming a third Premier South title in four years.

A combination of early morning training sessions, a strong team ethic and that bit of quality that every successful team needs has put this one on the brink of a campaign to remember.

Quarter final

A goal in extra time from midfielder Clayton Green decided a hard-fought quarter-final tie against Stirling University, as the Treforest-based side edged through 2-1 after a gruelling 120 minutes.

Clayton Green. Image Callum Ellis.

Green, who plays his club football for Barry Town United, is well aware of how big an occasion this is: “To get to another final after winning the league would be massive for the university.”

A comprehensive 4-0 win against Met earlier on in the campaign will provide USW with optimism – however those who have suffered heartbreak in the two previous semi-finals will be all too aware of Met’s ability to turn up for the big occasion.

That match took place back in November, and was the second meeting between the two sides this season.

The first, a 2-2 draw at Cyncoed Campus in the opening game, is a more realistic reference point for those who are looking at past results to determine how this game will unfold.

Savage’s team competed well against a Met side that had completed a league and cup double in the previous season. It was a performance which hinted that 2018-19 could be fruitful.

Eyes on the final

Captain Kane Owen, who is known for his strong voice on the field, is not underestimating the importance of a win.

“It would mean the world to me and all the boys. Some of the boys are graduating at the end of the year and it would be good for them to end on a high.

“We’ll do our best to do it for them, for ourselves and for the university.”

You will be able to follow live updates of the game on Expo Sport, as well as all of the post-match reaction.