Sunday 5th April 2015.
Cardiff City Women 6-0 Newcastle Emlyn Ladies.
Welsh Women’s Premier League.
External Pitch, Cardiff International Sports Stadium
Attendance: Circa 20.
I’d planned to travel to Newtown to watch the Welsh Cup Semi-Final between TNS and Airbus UK Broughton, having the date set in my planner for a good month or so before today.
However when my wife and I finally got up at about 11am, I knew the likelihood of me booting it up the A470 to make the 12.45pm kick off 85 miles away in Newtown was unlikely to say the best.
I had a back up plan in mind, which came in the form of a Welsh Women’s Premier League match between third placed Cardiff City Women and strugglers Newcastle Emlyn Ladies, at the Cardiff International Sports Stadium, a stones throw from the Cardiff City Stadium across the road.
I’d previously tried to take in a Cardiff City Women’s match a few weeks back, a match which fell foul of the dreadful weather the South Wales Valleys have been experiencing since about the turn of the year. So this afternoon was as good an opportunity as any to take in another women’s game and to see what the Cardiff City Women’s team were all about. After all, I’d seen a lot of their highlights on Cardiff City’s YouTube channel, but never seen a match live in person.
A quick visit to Costa on the nearby retail park for a Caramel Latte Ice Cooler hit the tastebuds hard and put paid to any Sunday tiredness I may have been feeling on the journey to the capital.
I’m very supportive of the women’s game in general and as part of this whole experience I’ve been embarking on, I’m certainly trying to make a conscious effort to pay more attention to the women’s game, which is definitely more than can be said for most.
Cardiff City Women, and I’m sure I’ve mentioned this in a previous blog entry, take the awkward stance of having a very similarly named team. There also exists a team named ‘Cardiff City Ladies’, who just to clear things up a bit, are a completely different team who happen to also play football, in blue, in the City of Cardiff. Does that make it crystal clear? No? Read on.
Cardiff City Women are the women’s side of the Cardiff City that we all know and recognise. They are the Bluebirds, the side owned by Vincent Tan and the side whose spectators do the Ayatollah and will never be banned (if the chant is to be believed).
Cardiff City Women, unlike their male counterparts, play in the Welsh pyramid. They play in the relatively new Women’s Welsh Premier League in fact.
Cardiff City Ladies are a completely different entity, who confusingly play in the same English pyramid that the men’s Cardiff City side play in. Confused yet?
Don’t be confused, but just to add a little bit more confusion into the situation. Whilst Cardiff City Women play out a Women’s Welsh Premier League match with Newcastle Emlyn on one of the pitches at the Cardiff International Sports Stadium – about 50 yards across the complex, Cardiff City Ladies are lining up to play West Ham in the English Women’s Premier League!
Cardiff City Women, started the stronger of the two sides, playing a very attacking formation and flooding the midfield to stem any Newcastle Emlyn attacks before they even left their own half.
The Bluebirds took the lead from their first real attack on goal. A nice bit of build up play lead to the ball falling to Cardiff’s Maria Martins who sprinted towards the penalty box and fired home neatly from 12 yards out.
Cardiff threw everything but the kitchen sink at their opponents in the first twenty minutes or so and were unlucky not to double their advantage on fifteen minutes when the Newcastle Emlyn goalkeeper elected to throw the ball out to one of her defenders in ‘throw-in’ style. The ball fell to the feet of Cardiff’s Danielle Green who hit the post with her decent effort.
Cardiff would double their advantage mid-way through the first half when a seemingly gentle free kick from City’s Shannon Evans took a wicked bounce in the penalty area, the bounce took the ball high and over the reaching arms of the Newcastle Emlyn keeper Hannah Mae Samson, who could only look on in frustration as the ball nestled into the back of the net.
The Bluebirds seemed to be running away with the match with little fight back from the Newcastle Emlyn side. After half an hour of the match, Newcastle Emlyn failed to defend in a line and Cardiff’s Alicia Davies beat their casual offside trap. She looked up to find the ensuing goalkeeper coming out, but she was able to calmly slot the ball around her into the back of the net to give the Bluebirds a 3-0 lead going into the half time interval.
At half time we made our way over to the Sports Stadium building to use the facilities and take a brief look at the Cardiff City Ladies vs. West Ham Ladies match.
We were afforded about a five minute break before the match we were really watching kicked off again.
Cardiff’s higher fitness levels showed in the second half as they continued to make a lot of headway down the wings. Cardiff’s Maria Martins and Danielle Green in particular put in excellent performances, hardly putting a foot wrong all match.
Danielle Green in particular was very unlucky not to find herself on the second half score sheet. She came within inches of scoring on 50 minutes after a decent effort from the edge of the box and went through on goal two minutes only to have her through ball blocked by the hand of a Newcastle Emlyn player. The referee chose to play the advantage and her follow on shot was fired straight at the goalkeeper.
Ten minutes into the second half Newcastle Emlyn found themselves reduced to ten women when Caroline Cooper was seen to bring down Cardiff goalscorer Alicia Davies and denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.
The Newcastle Emlyn player remonstrated with the referee, who had long since made up his mind and showed the player a straight red card.
The resulting free kick was taken by Cardiff’s Shannon Evans who dispatched a furious and pacey shot that went out of touch by way of the Newcastle Emlyn crossbar.
With their opponents reduced to ten women, Cardiff City really started to turn the screw on their Newcastle Emlyn rivals. By this point Newcastle Emlyn were showing signs of being tired and struggled to get the ball out of their own half for long periods of the remainder of the game.
Cardiff City’s Sinead Melinn, who captained her side today, picked up the ball outside the box after a defensive mistake. She ran with the ball at speed and brilliantly placed her shot into the top left corner of the goal to make the score 4-0 to the Bluebirds.
Twenty minutes from the end of the match, Cardiff City added another goal to make the score 5-0. Substitute Kirsty O’Donnell, who looked to be quite a skillful player to be fair, picked up a loose ball from a corner kick. She unleashed a superb volley from the edge of the box that proved to be un-saveable, going straight in the top corner.
Cardiff City, who had been dominant throughout the whole match, put the game to bed with about ten minutes left after a poorly taken goal kick landed at the feet of dangerous striker Alicia Davies. She dispatched a fizzing shot which the Newcastle Emlyn goalkeeper was unable to deal with, making the score 6-0 to the Bluebirds.
The referee brought the game to a close on 90 minutes sharp, not playing any additional stoppage time.
Newcastle Emlyn, who remain in 10th position, will feel they did not give a brilliant account for themselves but will recognise that the gulf in skill and experience on the day probably explained why the result could have looked so heavy on paper.
My Woman of the Match: I debated this long and hard after exceptional performances from both Cardiff City’s Maria Martins and Danielle Green, both having superb games down the wings. Not wanting to sit on the fence, I chose to award Danielle Green the accolade.