As far as opening weekends go in such a competitive league, they couldn’t have gone much better for Bangor City or Cardiff Met. The Citizens thumped the reigning champions TNS at The Bangor University Stadium and The Students stopped The Ancients in their tracks without ever really getting out of first gear. (Article courtesy of wpl.cymru)
Bangor’s Brayden Shaw and Cardiff’s Chris Baker spoke to WPL Radio recently reflecting on their sides’ performances last weekend, and Shaw had this to say following his side’s remarkable result against Scott Ruscoe’s TNS.
‘It’s an unbelievable result, we knew we had to put a statement out there tonight and we knew we were a good team, but we need to prove it in the league and hopefully this result sends a big statement out and obviously I’m delighted to get two goals, but more importantly I think we’ve sent out a big message now.
‘We knew it’d be a tight game against TNS, but we didn’t really expect to win 5-2, no, however I think we took them by surprise a bit. The two goals we’ve conceded as well, we should have done better with, and obviously we’ll work on that throughout the week for the next game and throughout the season. To get five goals against TNS though is an incredible result.
‘We know TNS are a very good team, obviously we’re going to try and push them all the way and the likes of Connah’s Quay and Bala won’t be too far behind either, but we’ve got to put in a performance like this in every game now, starting with Cardiff Met again next week, but we know what we’ve got to do to get to where we want to.’
’It was an unbelievable goal to be fair’
Shaw’s exploits during the TNS clash quickly went viral, as the second of his two goals in particular was absolutely astounding as he unleashed a 30-yard rocket that blasted past Paul Harrison and into the TNS net. The first of Shaw’s goal was a well-taken header, but Bangor’s number 23 put in a strong all-round performance regardless of the goals, and he admitted how happy he is to be back at Bangor.
‘I need to be playing, and I had a good loan spell here last season so I knew coming back here that I’d be able to play the way I want to play, the manager lets me do that and gives me freedom, and it’s just nice to be back and playing really.
‘It’s rare that I score headers, all the lads have been taking the mick out of me this week in training actually so it is nice to score a header, but to get two goals against TNS is really nice, yeah. The second one, I wanted to take it a bit further in, but I felt my back so it just sort of pushed me into shooting really and I thought I’d just try it and it’s come off and gone into the top corner, it was an unbelievable goal to be fair. Gutted I couldn’t carry on and get a third to be fair, but it’s just a great result at the end of the day.’
’The three points are the important thing’
For Chris Baker and Cardiff Met, The Students hoped to carry their strong pre-season form into the new JD WPL Season last Saturday against Cefn Druids and certainly the result suggested they did that by securing a 3-0 win away to The Ancients, but the performance at times could have been better in the words of their number eight.
‘I think the lads have worked really, really hard this pre-season and I think the result today was the main thing. The first half performance was good and the second half perhaps we fell below our standards, but I’m delighted with the two goals and the three points are the important thing at the end of the day.
‘I think first half we’ve got a few new lads coming in, but they’ve shown today the quality they’ve got and fitted in very well, at times we moved the ball really, really well, and taking that two-goal lead into halftime was a massive bonus for us, especially away from home.
‘Coming out for the second half I think we didn’t do the basics very well, I think we gave away possession quite cheaply, but credit to Cefn Druids as they kept going until the end, and well done to Eliot Evans really, because the third goal by him killed them off.’
’We definitely relish games against teams like this’
Cardiff’s clashes with Bangor last year were always full of intrigue, excitement and goals, and surely Saturday will offer the same thing, but how much are Baker and his teammates looking forward to the challenge and what can they learn from their opening weekend’s performance?
‘You always say if you don’t play your best football but you’re picking up three points then at the end of the day you can be happy, but there is a lot we can look at; I know next week is going to be a really tough game after Bangor’s result against TNS, they’re going to be on a high.
‘If we put in that second half performance against Bangor then we’re going to struggle, so back to the drawing board on Monday in training and look forward to Bangor on the weekend.
‘We definitely relish games against teams like this, you look at the likes of Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Brayden Shaw – who scored an absolute worldy against TNS – so they’ve got a lot of quality, but we just need to work on where their strengths are, how we can nullify them, and how we can build on our strengths and cause them problems too.’
Updated 14:31 - 20 Aug 2017 by Kevin Owen