By Callum McFadden – @football_cfb
Shock as The Nomads exit the JD Welsh Cup at the quarter final stage.
Quite a few games across England were called off due to the horrendous weather we’ve been experiencing recently but this crucial quarter final cup tie was on in North Wales.
I arrived at the stadium at 1:15 ahead of the 2:30 kickoff with a view of a bright blue sky hovering over the Deeside stadium.
Connah’s Quay Nomads are very well known to myself and many Scottish football fans the length and breadth of the country after eliminating Kilmarnock from the Europa league this season and through their many impressive appearances in the Scottish challenge cup in recent years. So, although this was to be my first experience of Welsh football I felt strangely at home as I arrived at the ground.
Both teams warmed up and were watched closely by their respective managers – fellow Scot and former Man City player Andy Morrison (Nomads) and former Wales international Christian Edwards (Cardiff Met) with a sense of intrigue in the air at the ground as although the Nomads went in to the game as favourites Cardiff Met are no minnows as recent results have shown.
The game kicked off at 2:30 and by this time the high winds brought by Storm Jorge was evident. The Nomads had first half advantage as they attacked into the wind hoping to create a comfortable first half advantage over Cardiff Met.
The Nomads dominated from the off in the game and this was shown early on with Craig Curran and Jamie Insall looking to get shots away early on.
The first big chance in the game came 8 minutes in, after the impressive Curran was fouled just on the edge of the Cardiff Met box which led to a free kick to Nomads. Kris Owens stepped up to take the free kick and his incredibly well driven effort smashed off the crossbar. What a goal it would have been if it had rustled in the net.
A few minutes later the Nomads had another opportunity, this time through former Hibs striker Jamie Insall who audaciously attempted bicycle kick from six yards that he narrowly missed and was eventually cleared.
George Horan and Kris Owen’s showed incredible composure on the ball throughout the first half and I was very impressed by both of them. They also had came close on a fair few occasions with headers that went just over the bar from a series of impressive crosses from John Disney.
In the first 30 minutes, the Nomads were dominating possession and creating chance after chance and in all honesty their dominance deserved at least two or three goals.
Despite their dominance they had to wait until the 37th minute to get their opener. The Nomads’ goal coming from the impressive George Horan, who rose highest in the Met area to head home from a corner to give Nomads the lead.
The hosts were on top as half time neared and with Cardiff Met not getting out of their half often it seemed inevitable that the hosts would go in at half time in the lead.
However, football is never that straight forward and this was shown when Cardiff Met equalised through the run of play with an incredibly well worked move led to them getting down the right side of the nomads defence where Baker clinically converted an impressive cross into the bottom corner of the Nomads net right on the cusp on half time.
As the cliche goes Football is a game of two halves and this cliche was well and truly put into practice today.
In the second half it was the Nomads turn to experience playing against the strong winds. At first, it didn’t look like it would be a challenge as they wasted no time in getting the ball forward after the restart, with another chance falling to Jamie Insall who just missed connecting with a shot from yet another impressive nomads cross.
However, as the half went on, Cardiff Met, with the wind on their side began to take control of the game and increase the pressure on the Nomads nomads. They forced two very impressive saves from Nomads keeper Lewis Brass from an impressive Evans free kick and also from a header in the box followed a Met corner.
The Met deservedly took the lead when Eliot Evans got in front of the Nomads’ defence following a ball over the top and slotted home from 12 yards.
The goal left the Nomads with everything to do in the last 25 minutes and just as they needed a goal to get back into the game the conditions worsened as Storm Jorge brought strong winds and heavy rain.
They attacked valiantly in the last spell of the game but sadly for them to no avail with their best chances falling to Wilde and George Horan after more impressive wing play from Disney.
Right up until the final whistle the Nomads never gave the game up and pushed time and time again for the equaliser. Unfortunately for them it didn’t come and after 3 tense minutes of injury time the referee blew the all important full time whistle leading to wild celebrations from Cardiff Met.
What a result for all at Cardiff Met and their manager Christian Edwards – who has battled back after suffering a heart scare in late 2019 – summed up by all fans in the ground even the nomads clapping the Met off the pitch after an incredibly impressive second half display that will leave them dreaming of a fairytale JD Welsh Cup victory.
Meanwhile, the Nomads – 4 points clear at the top of the Welsh league with 7 games to play – know that the title remains in their hands ahead of the crunch part of the season. A title win would be the first in their history and a landmark moment for Welsh football.
This was my first experience of Welsh football and I can assure you that it won’t be my last. What a game. What an atmosphere. Two incredibly well run and respectful clubs. Thank God for football: our beautiful game.
Post match reaction from both managers here –