by Tom Pritchard
UNBEATEN so far this season, University of South Wales will aim to complete a league and cup double when they face Hartpury in the final of the BUCS Championship in Nottingham tomorrow.
This is how coach Lee Kendall’s side reached the showpiece final, which they will look to win for the first time since the 2015/16 season.
Round of 16
Having claimed the Premier South title, winning six and drawing four of their 10 games, the Treforest side were rewarded with a bye to the quarter-final stage.
University of South Wales 2-1 Stirling University
In a keenly-contested last eight tie at the USW Sport Park, the hosts edged their way through to the semi-finals after an extra time goal from Clayton Green ended the Scottish side’s resistance.
Captain Kane Owen, who plays his club football for Pen-y-Bont, gave Kendall’s side the lead after 24 minutes, after his shot looped over Stirling’s John Allan in a mix-up between goalkeeper and defender.
The visitors started the second-half well, and drew themselves level two minutes after the restart.
USW goalkeeper Ashley Morris, who plays in the Welsh Premier League for Bala Town, saved Craig Brown’s effort; but the impressive Blair Lyons followed up on the rebound to level the game up at 1-1.
The game lacked quality in the final third for much of the remainder, until Green popped up with five minutes left in extra time to win the game for USW.
University of South Wales 3-2 Cardiff Metropolitan University
USW gained sweet revenge for their two previous semi-final defeats to the Archers, after a blistering first-half was enough to see them through to a second final in three years.
Forward Liam Edwards gave his team the lead inside the first three minutes, after a long ball from Morris fell into his path and he made no mistake – firing past Alex Lang to give USW an early lead.
Not long after, USW were awarded a penalty after a long throw-in found Cameron Keetch, and he was brought down by Archers centre-back Matt Swindlehurst inside the area.
Owen stepped up and fired the spot-kick into the right corner to double his side’s advantage.
A wonder goal from Barry Town United’s Clayton Green put USW 3-0 ahead.
The Linnet picked the ball up 35 yards from goal and unleashed a powerful effort which beat Lang, who was off his line, for pace and power.
Christian Edwards’ side fought their way back after the break, as Matt Neale netted not long after the restart to give the Archers hope.
The hosts had to battle hard for much of the second period, and a late goal from Gwion Howell gave them a glimmer of hope, however Kendall’s side hung on to clinch their place in the final.