Match Report | Cardiff Met 1-3 Cardiff City Women
Cardiff City Women began the 2023/24 Adran Premier campaign with a 3-1 victory over Cardiff Metropolitan University at Cyncoed Campus.
Defender Megan Bowen's fantastic brace, along with a brilliant solo goal from Rhianne Oakley, was enough to secure all three points.
Head coach Iain Darbyshire included summer recruits Emma Beynon and Molly Kehoe in the starting XI, with the duo making their league debuts for the Club.
City started brightly and took the lead in the 15th minute, as a dangerous cross from Ffion Price was turned home by defender Bowen, who netted the first goal of the Adran Premier season. The Bluebirds immediately pushed for a second and went close through Beynon, who fired just wide following a direct run from Eliza Collie.
As City continued to apply pressure, Oakley found space on the right to deliver into the area, leading to Collie heading narrowly wide. In the 35th minute, the hosts equalised through striker Ingrid Ådland, who found the bottom corner from distance.
The Bluebirds reacted brilliantly and regained the lead just before the interval, as Oakley scored a fine solo goal. The City striker drove into the box and finished clinically into the bottom corner.
Much like in the first half, City came out of the blocks quickly in the second period and went close to adding a third. Some brilliant link-up between Collie and Oakley led to the latter finding space to shoot, forcing goalkeeper Charlotte Smith into a save.
In another positive attack, wing-back Danielle Green drove forward before finding substitute Catherine Walsh, who picked out Collie in the box. The City striker cut inside and struck towards goal, with Smith again on-hand to save. In added-time, Darbyshire's side added a third goal, as Walsh initially hit the woodwork, but Bowen was in place to fire home and secure the victory.
The Bluebirds play their first home fixture of the campaign next weekend, welcoming Aberystwyth Town to Cardiff Metropolitan University on Sunday, September 24th, 2pm KO.
FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY 1–3 CARDIFF CITY WOMEN
Cardiff Metropolitan University: Smith, Davidson, Mulenga, Webb, Corne, Bayliss, Long, Payne (Nicholson 64’), Ådland, Murray ©, Preece. Subs not used: Hawkins, Daniels, Ebbin, Nanette.
Cardiff City Women: Forkings, Price, Power ©, Bowen, Green, Cook, Watkins, Beynon, Kehoe (C Walsh 45’), Oakley, Collie (Collie 90'). Subs not used: Chamberlain, Owen, Smith.
Head coach Darbyshire heaped praise on his side following the final whistle.
“I thought it was a really good performance,” Iain began. “There was always a danger of us still feeling the effects of the Champions League campaign. We stressed to the players all week that we need to be positive, play our football and show everyone why we were unbeaten champions last season. I think we did that today.
“It’s always a bit nerve-wracking, stating the new season, especially being defending champions, which is new for our group. We’ve got to get used to having a target on our backs, but I think we played really well today. Both in and out of possession, I was really pleased.
“I think we’ve got the strongest squad in the league and when we have to make some changes, the players who came in did really well. We know that we’ve got that depth. It will cause us selection headaches throughout the year, but we’ve always got players who are ready to step in and perform when they’re called upon.”
After scoring a fine brace, defender Bowen added: “We set out with intentions to get all three points and we’ve done that. We’re going to take it exactly like last season, it’s just one game at a time. Today’s a good start for us.
“Cardiff Met fielded a young team, but we’ve got a young team as well. They deserve respect for playing their young players today, but I think we dominated the game, won every battle on the pitch and that’s exactly what we set out to do. Coming into this season, I wanted to add more goals to my game and it’s paid off today.”