Cardiff MU 2-1 Newtown AFC

Despite a dominant second period Newtown slipped to a narrow defeat on the opening night of the JD Welsh Premier League season in Cardiff

The night began with a missed spot kick from Nick Rushton, before Elliot Evans and Dan Spencer handed the home side the half time lead.

Newtown had the chances in the first half, and definitely did in the second period to get something out of the game.

A Joe Kenton goal got them back into the game 20 minutes from time, but they couldn’t unlock the Met door and get a second.

Chris Hughes handed full debuts to Sam Phillips and Ben Bailey, with another new addition Jake Cook starting among the substitutes.

It was safe to say the WPL opener began with a bang, with hardly a chance to catch your breath in the opening ten minutes.

Ethan Jones turned down the left after just a minute and crossed for Rushton, but he could only fire straight at goalkeeper Alex Lang.

Moments later Sam Snaith couldn’t direct a header at goal at the other end, before Met defender Emlyn Lewis also powered a free header wide.

Then on six minutes Neil Mitchell was wiped out after taking a shot in the area, with referee Huw Jones pointing to the spot.

Rushton stepped up, but Lang went the right way and denied the Robins striker an opening day goal.

Then within minutes the Robins had been punished for their missed opportunity.

From a Robins attack Met broke, and Matt Neale found Evans who took his time and beat Dave Jones at his near post.

After a frantic opening eight minutes the game settled down, with the Robins looking for an immediate response.

Ben Bailey’s long throw was flicked on by Tom Goodwin, but Rushton couldn’t get on the end of it.

Then down the other end Spencer’s cross field ball was knocked down to Will Evans, but the midfielder could only fire high over the bar.

The Robins were playing some good stuff, and on the half hour mark they forced Met into a mistake.

A stray Lewis pass across his backline was picked up by Rushton, but he couldn’t capitalise and the chance was snuffed out.
Much like the first goal, within minutes the Robins were punished again.

Dylan Rees crossed from the left and Spencer drifted in at the back post to meet it and fire home to double the hosts lead.
Then shortly before the break Met again gave the ball away in a dangerous area, and Sam Phillips crossed for Rushton but he skewed a shot wide.

Newtown began the second period on the front foot as they went in search of a goal to get them back in the game.

A few dangerous balls tested Met, before a low corner went through a crowd and fell to Goodwin but he was denied by a brilliant point blank save from Lang.

Callum Roberts had a free kick blocked as the Robins were piling the pressure on the Met backline.

Then Rushton was denied a certain goal with arguably Newtown’s best chance.

A mini scramble saw the ball find its way to the striker and he fired through the keeper, who managed to get the slightest of touches to send it wide.

The pressure finally told on the 70 minute mark as the Robins found a way back into the game, through one of their substitutes.

A cross was tipped out by Lang to Callum Roberts who crashed a shot off the underside of the bar, and the ball fell to Kenton to slide the ball home.

Ben Bowler tested Jones’ palms at the other end, but it was all Newtown as the game drew to a conclusion.

Ben Bailey, who had been impressive on debut fired high over the bar, before Boundford fired narrowly wide after a flick on from the defender.

Substitute Luke Boundford won a free kick late on that was fired over by Phillips, before a late onslaught of balls into the box.

In the dying seconds a high ball wasn’t punched clear by Lang, but it didn’t fall to a Robins player and Met held on.