Match Report | Cardiff City FC Women 2-2 Cardiff Met Women FC
Cardiff City Women battled to an enthralling 2-2 draw against Cardiff Metropolitan University at Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
On a great occasion in front of a number of local junior sides at CCS, Zoe Atkins’ brace saw the Bluebirds react well from falling behind to Lauren Hutton-Townsend’s opener, before Erin Murray levelled in the second period for the Archers.
Boss Iain Darbyshire made three changes to the side that were defeated in the Adran Trophy final, with Danielle Green, Emily Bayliss, and Megan Saunders coming into the starting XI.
In a competitive opening period, the first chance fell to the Archers’ Emily Allen, who struck from the right side of the box, but was denied by a fine save from Ceryn Chamberlain. City responded well and looked dangerous on the counter-attack, operating with a dynamic front three of Green, Saunders and Amy Williams.
As the Bluebirds pushed for the opener, the ball dropped to Atkins in the box, who reacted quickly to force a save from Met goalkeeper Charlotte Smith. Williams and Saunders combined well in a promising attack for City, with the latter’s shot saved once more by Smith.
Despite Darbyshire’s side’s positive showing in attack, it was the Archers who took the lead in the 31st minute, as Hutton-Townsend found the net from a free-kick. City reacted well to falling behind, with Williams finding Lily Billingham, who curled an effort into the arms of Smith.
The Bluebirds were rewarded for the positive response, finding a leveller in the 42nd minute, as Williams’ cross found Atkins in the box, who turned home from close-range to send City into the break with the score at 1-1.
Darbyshire’s side started the second period on the front foot, with Saunders’ cross almost turned home by the on-rushing Williams at the back post. City continued to push forward and took the lead in the 49th minute, as Atkins was set through and finished clinically for her second of the afternoon.
The Bluebirds played with confidence having gone ahead and went close to adding to the advantage, with the lively Williams’ cross just evading everyone in the box. The Archers remained a threat however and equalised in the 64th minute through Murray, who lifted the ball over Chamberlain to level the scoring.
City immediately went close to regaining the lead, as Ffion Price’s pinpoint cross was headed onto the woodwork by Atkins, who was inches away from securing her hat-trick. Met replied by hitting the post, with winger Allen’s dangerous strike from distance almost finding he net.
Despite both sides’ efforts to find a late winner, neither could be separated, with the scores ending level. The Bluebirds return to action in the final league game of the season next week, travelling to Aberystwyth Town’s Park Avenue on Sunday 17th April, 2pm KO.
FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY WOMEN 2-2 CARDIFF METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY
Cardiff City: Chamberlain, Price, Daley, S Walsh ©, Broadhurst, Green (Cook 76’), Bayliss (Norman 86’), Saunders, Atkins, Billingham (Collie 73’), Williams. Subs not used: Forkings, Watts.
Cardiff Metropolitan University: Smith, Long (Evans 73’), Finch, Richardson, Turner © (Mills 88’), Hancocks, Allen, Walkley, Murray, Hutton-Townsend, Chavez. Subs not used: Rees, Preece, Richards.
After the final whistle, head coach Darbyshire spoke to cardiffcityfc.co.uk:
“I’m proud of the performance,” Iain began. “We looked threatening going forward and our back four put in a great performance. I thought we could have won the game, we made a quite a few big chances to score a third in the second-half and found ways to hurt them. There were a lot of good individual performances, which is always good when you have competition for places.”
Commenting on Atkins’ brace, Darbyshire added: “Zoe has been brilliant for me ever since I came into the club. She works tirelessly and it perhaps goes unnoticed. Today, she played in a different position but got her reward with two goals. I’m delighted for her as she’s such pleasure to coach and hopefully that can continue for the rest of the season.”