Roger Smith Charity Cup match.
11a Side Match: Cardiff MvF v Bridgewater MvF
Venue: Pencoed Uni Campus 4G, Bridgend, South Wales.
Apologies in advance for any inaccuracies, I’ve slept twice since the game and of course this report is from the Cardiff MvF perspective.
Cardiff 11’s Coach Matthew Maksimovic had a several tricky decisions to make given the late availability for James Courtman, the late withdrawal of veteran Matthew Williams thanks to suffering a knock during the pre-match kickabout as well as debutants Chris I and Pete both sustaining knocks in the past week resulting in both having to miss the match and await their debuts.
Therefore the line-up began with Chris Norman in the sticks, a back line of James Stanford at RB who was making his 11’s debut for the Welsh Capital side alongside usual pairing of Maksimovic and Adam Owen who continued to deputise for the absent David James as team Captain at the heart of the defence and the defensive rock Matthew Burge who is enjoying a good spell of form at present slotting back in to his LB slot. The Centre Midfield saw the recall of bruiser Gareth Jenkins who started alongside Neil Howarth who was given a rare start at CM in hope to combat the physicality of the visiting side with his tough tackling. This meant that Cardiff’s own version of ‘James Milner’ in Eithan Cording started on the Left Wing with speedster James Courtman on the Right Wing looking to continue his reign of form with Black Team Top Scorers Adam Aldridge and Kieran Matthews both starting up front looking to bring their 6’s scoring form to the 11’s pitch. Matthews was given the unexpected CF role given his goals and performance against previous 11a side match Cooper FC. Coach Maksimovic was confident that Matthews and Howarth in their starting positions would excel. The side line saw Dave Quinn, Darryn Baldwin, Kyran Duggan, Chris Bruno and Scott Stanton all start on the bench.
After a delayed Kick off the match officially got under way over half an hour later. Both sides very much eager to press despite the extremely warm heat beaming down from the heavens. Bridgewater began strongly keeping the ball in which what appeared a possession-based game approach they adopted. However Cardiff appeared to want to get the ball back immediately but then re-set and decided to allow the visiting side the play on and wait for the opportunity to strike. It wasn’t long before the Welshmen had the first chance with a great run down the wing from James Courtman who was looking as sharp as he has done since joining MvF. The Bridgewater keeper was able to prevent in the speedster and current ‘Weight loser Top Scorer’ from scoring the opening goal.
After a very weak goal kick from the ‘Water’ keeper in what obviously was going to be a problem for the visiting side the Cardiff men had another opportunity through the inform Kieran Matthews, who spurned his first chance but made no mistake some moments later with his 2nd chance putting the Cardiff side a goal ahead thanks to some good work by Adam Aldridge. It wasn’t long before the contest began to turn feisty with the away side appearing to be growing frustrated as Cardiff began to dominate the ball and possession. After a few choice words from the referee to no less than 3 of the Away side’s players the home team carried on about their business testing Bridgewater’s keeper on two more occasions from James Courtman and Kieran Matthews once more.
After a bursting run down the wing, James Courtman crossed the ball only to be half cleared by Bridgewater’s Captain for it to fall to Neil Howarth who saw his shot fire wide. The Game began to open up with both sides upping their games. After some excellent passing from Jenks, Eithan Cording who played a nice through ball to Adam Aldridge only to be excellently tackled by the Bridgewater defence the Cardiff side began to grow in confidence and push for another goal.
After a switch in what appeared to involve a midfielder and striker the Bridgwater decided to press the Welsh Defence and attempted to slot a couple through balls only to be smartly cut out by Matthew Burge, Matthew Maksimovic and Adam Owen on several occasions. After a loose ball debutant James Stanford picked up the ball in the Cardiff side’s own half preceding to run down the flank releasing Courtman one more who crossed but it was cleverly cut out again by the Bridgewater defence. Corner Ball. Courtman himself opted to take the corner with Cardiff wanting to chase the 2nd goal, after a quick decision between the ‘Diff’s CB pairing they chose to send up Skipper Adam Owen who superbly arched his run leaving his marker for dead to latch on to Courtman’s back post corner smashing his header in to the net. A fantastic textbook goal. Cardiff 2 up after 15mins.
While Cardiff were on the attack again a tangle which resulted in an alleged elbow from the Bridgewater skipper in their own box provoked a push from Courtman which the referee opted to ask James to leave the field to cool down. Unusually the opposition skipper managed to avoid any punishment and remain on the field as the referee stated he did not spot any infringement from the defender much to the players surprise. On came debutant Scott Stanton.
Stanton didn’t waste any time getting involved in the game by linking up well with Stanford at RB who didn’t appear to feel any pressure making his debut at Full Back. With some more slick passing involving Stan, Jenks, Howarth and Aldridge Kieran Matthews was put through using his strength to hold off the Bridgewater CB, he managed to slot home from close range making the game 3-0. The Cardiff side appeared to take their foot off the gas in spells resulting in several counter attacks from Bridgewater but the Welsh defence continuing to let nothing pass. Bridgewater had a golden opportunity 5 minutes from the end of the half but for an excellent tackle from the Rock Matthew Burge certainly prevented what would have been a 1 on 1 chance for the away side. Sadly, It was only a late challenge from Skipper Adam Owen some moments later that allowed Bridgewater to fire a decent free kick just shy of the top left corner of Chris Norman’s net. The game ending 3-1 at the Half and Cardiff still having one hand on the trophy.
Half Time: Cardiff Man v Fat 3-1 Bridgewater Man v Fat.
Second half began with a couple of changes with Dave Quinn coming on for Kieran Matthews up top and Darryn Baldwin made his return for Matthew Burge at LB. The game started off as it did in the first half with both sides feeling each other out. In what appeared to be another hasty challenge Bridgwater went on to concede no less than 3 freekicks in the first 10 minutes of the restart. Prompting what their aim appeared to be in the 2nd half. Cardiff doing excellent in not reacting to the obvious change in tactic and kept the game about the football, what they’re best at. Shortly again after the start Cardiff brought on Kyran Duggan for his debut as well as 11’s veteran Chris Bruno. Everyone was given game time for Cardiff which was very nice to see.
After another spell of attack, Cardiff’s LW Kyran, Adam A and Kieran linked up once more which saw almost another goal but the Bridgewater keeper was happy to see a very rare chance from Jenks header straight to his arms after an good run to beat the oppositions offside shout. Shortly after a very quick and short goal kick, the English side attacked and managed to find space down Cardiff’s right side and managed to nick a sloppy goal after their LM combined with their striker who slotted at the far end of Chris Norman’s goal. 3-2 after 15mins of the restart.
With Cardiff’s ‘Dont panic’ attitude It wasn’t long again before the Home side went on the attack with keeper Norman rolling another short ball to Maksimovic who pushed forward finding Jenks who combined with Kyran and Adam A who found himself through on goal only for the ball to be saved coming back out to him where you would think ‘Goal’ but the striker found his header fly straight as the Bridgwater keeper who quickly managed to get back to his feet. The score still at 3-2.
Cardiff Caretaker manager Matthew Williams made a few more changes which saw the return of Kieran Matthews, James Stanford which saw Maksimovic move to Centre Midfield. After a quiet spell with the ball moving back and forth mid pitch Adam Owen was able to win 3 strong headers along with Chris Bruno with 2 very good interceptions both of which preventing the ball bypassing the back line, however a few mins later the Bridgwater side managed 2 rare chances from either wing with Chris Norman rushing out on two occasions cutting out any shot attempts from the English visiting side. However, it wasn’t long before Bridgewater’s fortunes changed with the English side’s striker beating the offside trap and leaving the game with a well-placed shot past the already injured Norman. All level at 3-3 Game On!
Undeterred Cardiff again upped their game and after another world class through ball from Matthews to Adam Aldridge slotted it through to Scott Stanton who found himself in on goal but dragged his effort wide. What a debut goal that could have been! The game still at 3-3 with 20 minutes to go. Was it really going to go to Pens?
Bridgewater appeared to push another man forward in hope to chase another goal and almost got through with their nominated MoM finding himself chasing a very good through ball, only to find strongman Adam Owen shielding the ball which saw the short attacker attempt to shoulder barge Adam Owen off the ball only to find himself bounce off Owen and falling to the floor and the ball safely going out for a goal kick. A great effort though.
After another change which saw the anticipated return of James Courtman the determination of the forward was blatantly apparent and as a result this saw him link up well after some neat movement work again from Dave Quinn, Courtman picked up the ball from Maksimovic’s pass who preceded to run at the oppositions left back side stepping and firing a ‘bullet like’ shot at the keeper who spilled the ball in to his own net. I was certainly a stinger! 4-3 to Cardiff who appeared to gather some momentum.
With just 10 minutes to go Cardiff had another chance through Kieran Matthews who continued to terrorise the away side’s defence with is constant threat and movement. A smart link up play involving Quinn who managed to suck in the away side CB put of position which freed up Cording who was able to begin a link up passing move involving Jenks, Maksimovic, Matthews and ending with Courtman saw the rejuvenated Ginger Man bag his second of the game putting the match out of reach for Bridgwater, you would think only a serious lapse of concentration would see the match outcome change. The Cardiff side have the Roger Smith Trophy in their hands and did not want to lose it.
In the last 5 minutes both sides appeared to tire but it was Bridgewater appeared to tire more than the leaders. As a result, Cardiff were able to keep the ball passing it around which involved it touching no less than 9 different Cardiff players which is a testament of the type of football the Welsh side can play. It wasn’t much longer after Eithan Cording was through sending a thunderous strike against the Bridgewater bar, I’m sure the bar is still rattling now. Shortly after, Darryn Baldwin put in a World Class tackle in the centre of the park, which took man and ball preventing a Bridgewater attack with the ball rolling to Maksimovic who squared it to Adridge who all game appeared to enjoy doing the muchly unnoticed donkey work continued the nice passage of play which again involved 3 or 4 Cardiff players Courtman was able to bag his hat-trick to seal the match and ensure the Welsh side continued their good form.
The Final Whistle was blown with cheers from the side as Cardiff Man v Fat won the first ever Roger Smith Cup match. Both sides went on to shake hands, congratulate each other followed by speeches from Andy of Bridgewater and Maxi of Cardiff where the cup was presented to Skipper Adam Owen.
Final Match Score: Cardiff MvF 6-3 Bridgewater MvF
Scorers: James Courtman 3, Kieran Matthew 2 & Adam Owen.
Oppositions Chosen Man of the Match: Matthew Maksimovic
Finally, A huge congratulations to the lads at Cardiff Man v Fat who showed they have the makings of a good side after chalking impressive wins against Bicester MvF and now Bridgwater MvF in their first 3x MvF 11a side fixtures to date. Together, less the match day costs the sides managed to rise just over £400 for MvF legend Roger Smith’s chosen of ‘Action for M.E’ which over doubled our initial target. So, a huge Well Done! Finally, also a massive thank you to Ray of ‘Raymond Hayes Photography’ for his exceptional photos, he managed to take over 380 pictures of the day which can be found on his Facebook of ‘Raymond Hayes photography’ over the next day or so after he’s finished adding his magic touches and last but by no means least a big thank you to the families and other Cardiff MvF players who came on down to support the boys once again, we couldn’t have performed and won this without you. We all thank you!
So till next time peeps……