"We had a squad of 13, average age 44, including 2 more debutants, Paul Mann (Manny) and Enzo Sanfelice, against a strong Cardiff side. With Woody and Spraggy both missing, we had a new centre back partnership in John 'Boy' Hingston (JB) and Paul Kirston (Kirst), while Steve Coates was given another chance to end his 2-game goal drought upfront, alongside Beech.
Cardiff soon established themselves as the more dominant side with a lot more possession than us, but our new defensive line held firm, and limited them to few clear-cut chances, which Scott, in goal, dealt with well. However, after 15 minutes, a strong shot from Cardiff outside the box was tipped onto the bar by Scott, but unluckily bounced back out to a Cardiff player who tapped the ball into an empty net unchallenged.
Up to this point, we had struggled to get any decent balls up to our front line, but this gradually changed as the half went on, and, although Cardiff continued to dominate possession and create chances, we looked dangerous on the break. Then, sure enough, after 40 minutes, Andy Paraskeva, picked the ball up in midfield, and slotted the ball through to Coatesy, who had his first mazy run, but instead of shooting he squared it to Beech, who calmly beat his defender before slotting the ball home to make it 1-1, against the run of play. At half-time, our stato referee, Lee Douglas, told us that we had successfully defended 16 corners, which indicates the amount of pressure we were put under in the first half, and how well we defended.
The pattern of play continued in the 2nd half, but with the introduction of Manny and Enzo, we started to pose more threat going forward, while the defence was holding firm at the back with Kirst having one of his best games for us, alongside JB. Our first real chance of the half came when Beech got clear of the defence, but, with only the keeper to beat, he surprisingly blasted over the bar. However, it wasn't long before we got another chance, which this time fell to Coatesy, after a good ball from Manny, and he ran on to calmly chip the ball over the keeper to end his goal drought and make it 2-1. A few minutes later, unbelievably, it was 3-1 when Turns skipped past a defender on the left wing, tearing his hamstring in the process, but soldiered on, before collapsing, to put in a great low cross which Enzo, ghosting in at the near post, tapped in to score his first goal for the Club for 20 years. This stung Cardiff into action, and they quickly hit back with 2 quick goals to make it 3-3 halfway through the half. However, we then retook the lead when Enzo found himself in space, which Cardiff argued was offside but Lee overruled, and scored to make it 4-3. In the last 15 minutes, Cardiff threw the kitchen sink at us, to get the equaliser, which eventually came with just over 5 minutes remaining. As Cardiff pressed for the winner, it looked like we would hold out, but it was ironic that they managed to score in the last minute from about their 25th corner to make the final score 5-4 to Cardiff.
Overall, a really good competitive Vets game, played in good spirit (apart from one bad challenge on Paul Probert).
Cardiff Accies Report:
" Cardiff travelled to Bristol with a bare eleven to face Cribs who always give us a tough game. Accies were much the better side in the first half but could only score one goal before halftime and this was as much down to poor finishing as it was to their keeper who was excellent throughout. Cribs were the better side for the first fifteen minutes of the second half and deservedly went three one up. Accies rallied and levelled up before a dubious fourth goal was scored by cribbs awarded then disallowed and then awarded again by the ever imperious ref Mr Lee Douglas (didn’t know there was VAR in the BCL) Anyway Cardiff raised their game again and finally won the game when Angela Lansbury lookalike Craig Palfrey scored a dramatic overhead kick winner in the last couple of minutes despite being as mobile as Stephen Hawking for most of the game after pulling his hamstring early on. Accies other goal scorers were Sean Allen, Alex Eventon and Crockie. "