Cardiff, fourth in the table, and Hertfordshire, in third, came into Wednesday’s match knowing they were safe from relegation but both teams demonstrated they were eager to grab an extra three points and distance themselves from the bottom of the League.
The home side conceded several corners in the opening minutes, but Hertfordshire failed to materialise on these opportunities, with Cardiff’s defence reacting quickly to clear the ball and extinguish any attacking threat from the opposing team. Emily Haywood, Cardiff’s keeper, was particularly effective at coming off her line to claim the ball from the away side.
Cardiff generated the first real chance of the match as Charlotte Taylor played a clever through ball in behind the visitor’s defence, creating a one-on-one between Llywela Edwards and the keeper. With a good first touch, Edward’s shot travelled just wide of the right post.
Play opened up after twenty minutes as Herts maintained possession in the midfield. A carefully threaded pass found the opposition’s striker who timed her run to perfection and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.
Cardiff reacted positively as Katie Davies and Edwards linked up nicely on the right wing. Edwards whipped in a cross which fell to Charlotte Taylor on the edge of the box. Taylor placed the ball into the top right-hand corner of the Hertfordshire goal with a powerful left-footed shot, leaving the keeper with no chance.
Cardiff remained on top for the remainder of the half, threatening to break through the Herts’ defence but failing to create any clear-cut chances.
The start of the second half saw a change in formation for the visitors and more dominance in possession as a result. With gaps beginning to form in Cardiff’s midfield, Herts’ precise passing made life difficult for the home team as they struggled to control the game. At 60 minutes the score-line became 2-1, after a nicely worked series of passing, a Hertfordshire midfielder weaved through Cardiff’s defensive line, finding the bottom corner with a well-placed strike.
Hertfordshire’s final goal came from a long-range shot which, despite an assured start, troubled Cardiff keeper, Emily Haywood, causing her to fumble the ball, allowing it to trickle over the line.
Despite a determined performance from Cardiff 1sts, Hertfordshire were more offensive in their style of play, allowing them to create more goal-scoring opportunities. However, Cardiff can take positives away from the match, improving on their 5-0 defeat from their previous meeting. The home side’s defence remained resilient throughout, blocking a number of attempts on goal as centre back Mollie Craig received player of the match for her brilliant defensive performance.
Cardiff take on neighbours and top of the table Cardiff Met. 1st next Wednesday at home in the last league game of another successful season for CULF 1st which sees them remain in the Premier South Division for another year.