Hockey: Marlborough lose first post-Christmas game to Cardiff Metropolitan University
After the long Christmas break Marlborough welcomed second placed Cardiff for the first game of the New Year in what was sure to be a tough test of fitness and commitment.
Cardiff started very brightly and were soon causing Marlborough problems down both flanks with high quality dribbles and precise passing.
This pressure led to several short corners being conceded by the home side within the first ten minutes. Fortunately for Marlborough they held firm aided immensely by several high quality saves from goalkeeper Brian Marnane.
After weathering the initial Cardiff onslaught Marlborough made several inroads into the game with some fast counter attacks and well timed forward runs. With the game being evenly contested Marlborough suddenly found themselves down to ten men for a contentious sin bin offence.
This allowed Cardiff to assume the ascendancy once more, but with some astute tactical changes Marlborough were able to hold the score line at 0-0 until parity of numbers was restored. Ironically only a few minutes later a lapse in concentration allowed Cardiff to burst forward and score from close range - the only goal of the first half.
The second half began with Cardiff pressing higher up the field when Marlborough had the ball and allowing the defence and midfield no time or space to operate. To their credit Marlborough were able to weave some intricate passes through the Cardiff net and almost broke free several times.
Mid-way through the second half Cardiff scored a second goal with Marlborough once again just switching off for a split second which was ruthlessly pounced on by the visitors. Marlborough sought for a goal of their own towards the end of the game but were unable to convert several short corner routines.
The game ended 2-0 with Marlborough goalkeeper Brian Marnane a deserved Man of the Match. Skipper Richard Holman voiced his pride at the levels of application and effort displayed by his team in the first game back against a very strong Cardiff side.
A fair result for both sides after a hard fought game which was decided in two moments of extra quality from Cardiff.
[*The University of Wales Institute Cardiff is now known as Cardiff Metropolitan University.]