by Nathan Parker & Ethan Harris
USW Men’s 1st advanced to the final of the BUCS National Cup after a 3-2 win against local rivals Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Goals from Liam Edwards, Kane Owen and Clayton Green sealed the victory for USW.
It was third time lucky for the home side managed by Steve Savage and coached by Lee Kendall. They were edged out by the Archers in the two previous semi-finals, losing 2-0 last season and 2-1 in the 2016-17 campaign.
They remain undefeated this year, and progress to the last round for the first time since 2015-16. They will play Harpbury in the final in Nottingham in two weeks.
USW couldn’t have dreamed for a better start as an early goal from Liam Edwards calmed the nerves of the home side. A long hanging ball from goalkeeper Ashley Morris was latched onto by Edwards who slipped the ball past the onrushing Alex Long to make it 1-0 inside three minutes.
Just moments later Met found themselves in trouble once again as the cup holders started to lose their grip on the trophy they won last season.
A long throw-in by Louis Gerrard caused havoc in the area leading to Matt Swindlhurst bringing down Cameron Keetch and giving the referee no option but to give the home side a penalty.
Captain Kane Owen stepped up and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to double the home side’s lead inside 10 minutes.
A quarter of the way through the first half and Met were starting to find their feet, pushing USW deep into their own half with long balls which were holding up in the wind.
Steve Savage’s men stood firm though, with Clayton Green and Kane Owen throwing their body’s into challenges and keeping Met at bay.
Even with the home side holding firm the pressure was starting to tell, although a beautiful ball in from Met’s Harry Owen failed to materialise. After the injured David Thomas was replaced by Lee Baldock, the home side made Cardiff Met pay for their costly misses in front of goal.
Clayton Green picked the ball on halfway, and the USW playmaker had only one thing on his mind as he unleashed a thunderbolt from 40 yards out to give the home side what appeared to be an almost unassailable lead.
Met still pressed before half time as Rhydian Morgan’s cross deceived Ashley Morris and hit the crossbar. But the referee’s whistle came too soon for Met as USW took a 3-0 led going into the break.
Half-time 3 – 0
The Archers fired their way back into the game shortly after the restart. Matt Neale’s strike from the edge of the area clipped through the crowd, Ashley Morris saw it late and the effort crept into the bottom left corner, putting Cardiff Met on the scoreboard.
Just after the hour mark, the Archers crept forward once more through Matt Neale.
With ample time on the edge of the area, Cardiff Met’s number ten struck a lethal ball towards goal, narrowly zipping past the left-hand side of the post.
The visitors were pushing hard for their second, with Adam Roscrow placing a curled cross deep towards the back post.
Rhydian Morgan climbed high to meet the ball, but his headed effort was calmly collected by stopper Ashley Morris.
A goal mouth scramble deep into added time meant the Archers grabbed their second of the game through Gwion Howell, but it was a mere consolation as the University of South Wales advanced to the final of the BUCS National trophy.
USW face Hartpury in the final in a fortnight. They beat Northumbria University 3-1 in the other semi final.
Man of the match: Clayton Green
Cardiff Metropolitan University team – Alex Lang, Rhydian Morgan, Dylan Rees, Matt Swindlehurst, Matt Chubb, Guto Williams, Bradley Flay, Chris Baker, Adam Roscrow, Matt Neale, Harry Owen.
Subs: Gwion Howell, Rhys Thomas, Dion Phillips, Louis Hadergjonaj, Max Manson.
USW team – Ashley Morris, Miles John, Kane Owen, Joe Evans, Lewis Baldwin, David Thomas, Mikey George, Clayton Green, Louis Gerrard, Cameron Keetch, Liam Edwards.
Subs: Helal Albaarini, Lee Baldock, Abdi Noor, Lee Hartshorn, Morgan Davies, Patrick Rysgaard.