Match Report | Cardiff City 2-0 Pontypridd United
City began the 2022/23 Adran Premier campaign with a 2–0 victory over Pontypridd United at Cardiff International Sports Campus.
In a professional performance, Danielle Broadhurst’s first-half goal, along with Phoebie Poole’s strike in the second period was enough to secure all three points for the Bluebirds.
Head coach Iain Darbyshire gave a competitive debut to attacker Rhianne Oakley in his starting XI.
City started on the front and looked for an early goal, as Zoe Atkins found space in the box to shoot, but fired narrowly wide of the post. As the Bluebirds earned a free-kick in a dangerous position, full-back Ffion Price struck over the woodwork.
Debutant Oakley looked a real danger, crossing low for Atkins, who fired just over the bar from close-range. Darbyshire’s side were rewarded for applying pressure however, taking the lead in the 23rd minute, as Oakley crossed deep for Atkins, who headed back across goal for Broadhurst to fire into an empty net.
Having broken the deadlock, the Bluebirds continued to attack with purpose and created chances to add to their lead. From Seren Watkins’ dangerous corner delivery, Atkins headed marginally over the woodwork, as she continued to pose a threat. Just before the break, Oakley found space in the box with a great run, only for her low cross towards Danielle Green to be claimed by Maisie Jones, who ensured the Bluebirds went into the interval with just a 1-0 lead.
Darbyshire’s side looked to double their advantage in the second period, as Lily Billingham played in Oakley, who was just beaten to the ball by Jones. As dangerous forward Poole was introduced to the field, the attacker almost made an instant impact, cutting inside and firing just wide of the post. The visitors went close to an equaliser from a set-piece soon after, with Jasmine Turner’s corner striking the woodwork.
Despite a brief period of pressure from Pontypridd United, City doubled the advantage in the 72nd minute, as Poole raced through and finished calmly, to the delight of her teammates.
The substitutes were making an impact, with Michaela Major crossing brilliantly for Megan Saunders, who couldn’t quite bring the ball under control after making a great run.
The visitors looked to halve the deficit late-on, going close through Olivia Francis, who was denied by a brilliant save from Ceryn Chamberlain. In a goalmouth scramble, the City goalkeeper produced a series of fine stops to maintain her clean sheet and secure all three points for the Bluebirds.
Darbyshire’s side will look to add to this opening day triumph next weekend, facing Cardiff Metropolitan University at Cyncoed Campus on Sunday (11/09), 2pm KO.
FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 2–0 PONTYPRIDD UNITED
Cardiff City: Chamberlain, Green, Smith (Bowen 90’), S Walsh ©, Power, Price, Broadhurst, Watkins, Billingham (Major 75’), Oakley (Saunders 75’), Atkins (Poole 63’). Subs not used: Roberts.
Pontypridd United: Jones, Daley, Broad ©, Gunney, Trinci (Francis 45’), Witts, Preece-Jones (Bufton 45’), Bayliss (Evans 59’), Greenway, Barnett (Pervin-Davies 45’), Turner. Subs not used: Osborne.
We caught up with head coach Darbyshire immediately following the final whistle at Cardiff International Sports Campus.
“I thought we played really well, in and out of possession,” Iain began. “In the first-half, we dominated the game, but in the second-half, they came into it a bit more. Fair play to them, they played some good stuff in the second-half, but we knew they were going to have spells where they would get on the ball and cause problems. But the team performance from everybody, the creativity and the attacking play, we should have scored a few more. Equally, we put bodies on the line and Ceryn made a few good saves, so we had to fight for the three points.
“Our system caused them a lot of problems, especially in the first-half/first 60 minutes or so, where we should have been out of sight, but that’s on us. We know that we’re going to make chances, but equally, off the ball and defensively, we were so solid. All in all, it’s a work in progress, but we have three points on the board and we move onto Cardiff Met next week.”
Defender Hannah Power, who played a big part in City’s clean sheet, added: “We did really well to start the season with two goals and a clean sheet, you can’t really ask for much more. We know that we have a lot to improve on, but it was just about getting three points today and starting the season well.
“It woke us up a bit when they were more aggressive in the second-half, so everyone had to dig in, see out the game and use our professional heads to keep them away from our goal and see out the result.”