Adran Trophy Match Report | Cardiff City 3-1 TNS
City booked a place in the Adran Trophy final with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over The New Saints at Cardiff International Sports Campus on Sunday afternoon.
Despite falling behind to Caitlin Chapman’s opener, the Bluebirds fought back admirably with Manon Pearce’s first City goal, along with a header from captain Siobhan Walsh and Phoebie Poole’s fantastic strike.
Head coach Iain Darbyshire named an unchanged starting XI after claiming a 5-1 win over the Saints in the final game of Phase One.
City started on the front foot and created an early chance, as Poole found Lily Billingham in space, who tried her luck from distance, forcing a save from Saints goalkeeper Sarah Parkes. The Bluebirds continued to push forward and went close once more. Rhianne Oakley won the ball high up the pitch, before picking out Poole in the box, whose effort hit the post.
In another positive attack, Seren Watkins’ fantastic pass found Danielle Green in space on the left, who cut inside and fired just wide. Midfielder Danielle Broadhurst then went close, meeting Ffion Price’s cross into the area, heading just wide of the mark.
Just before the break, the visitors had a chance through Emily Ridge, who beat the offside trap, but was denied by goalkeeper Ceryn Chamberlain. After a competitive opening period, the two sides went into the interval goalless.
At the start of the second-half, Poole went close with a fantastic effort from distance, which forced Parkes into a save. With 56 minutes on the clock, the visitors took the lead, as Chapman’s cross looped into the net.
The Bluebirds responded well and won a penalty quickly through Green, who was brought down on the left side of the area. With Poole stepping up, the striker placed it narrowly off target.
City were rewarded for their persistence, equalising in the 71st minute, as the ball came out to Pearce on the edge of the box, whose brilliant strike found the net for her first Bluebirds goal. Darbyshire’s side immediately applied pressure and pushed to go ahead, as Price’s dangerous delivery just evaded substitute Zoe Atkins.
The Bluebirds showed great character to turn the contest around, going ahead in the 82nd minute through a brilliant Price delivery, which was headed home by the captain Walsh. Just two minutes later, Poole got herself on the scoresheet with a fantastic goal, lifting the ball over Parkes and finding the net.
After coming from behind in the second-half, City booked a place in the Adran Trophy final, where they will face Cardiff Metropolitan University on Sunday, 12 March.
ADRAN TROPHY FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 3–1 THE NEW SAINTS
Cardiff City: Chamberlain, Price, Power, S Walsh ©, Bowen (Smith 84’), Green (Cook 84’), Watkins (Pearce 36’), Broadhurst, Billingham, Oakley (Atkins 56’), Poole (C Walsh 84’).
The New Saints: Parkes, Staley, Teare, Platt, Chapman, Evans (Samson 73’), Gresham, Redding, Lewis ©, Ridge (Ashworth 88’), Williams (Lockley 20’). Subs not used: Rubin, Rathe.
After the final whistle, assistant coach Scott Davies spoke to cardiffcityfc.co.uk.
“First of all, credit to TNS, they made life really difficult for us. They were very aggressive in the way they played and we struggled to deal with that to start with. The girls dug deep, their reaction to going 1-0 down was fantastic and we pushed on from there. We’re happy to come away with a 3-1 win and progress to the final.
“The character was unbelievable. After going 1-0 down and missing a penalty, we thought it was going to be one of those days, but the girls were absolutely fantastic. As soon as we missed the penalty, the reaction was incredible. To go on and score three goals was brilliant. Credit to Phoebie in particular, her reaction after the penalty was fantastic and she helped us score the three goals.
“We’re looking forward to the final. We came out on the wrong side of it last year. Our aim at the start of the season was to get to all cup finals. We’ve hit one of our aims now and we’re looking to go one step further and win the trophy.”
Wing-back Green, who is having a fantastic season for the Bluebirds, added: “We made it hard for ourselves. I was thinking it wasn’t going to be our day, but we got the result in the end. We were expecting a tough battle. They’re a good team and have a good run of form away from home, so it was always going to be tough, but we got there.
“This season, we’ve been strong, even when we’ve conceded goals. In previous seasons, I don’t think we would have, but our mentality has been building over seasons and I think it’s the strongest it can be now.”