Inspired comeback keeps Cardiff Met’s European dream alive

The Archers ended The New Saints’ 28-game unbeaten run in the Cymru Premier League

CARDIFF Met reignited their European dream after a stunning 3-2 comeback ended the 28-game unbeaten run of reigning Welsh champions The New Saints.

In their first game in the championship group, Cardiff Met beat TNS 3-2 after finding themselves two goals down in 10 minutes.

This was The New Saints’ first defeat of the season, ending a 28-game unbeaten run in the Cymru Premier League which stretched back to the 2021-2022 campaign.

Goals from Leo Smith and Adam Wilson put TNS in the driving seat early on in the match on Saturday, February 11.

However, Chris Baker brought The Archers back into the game just before half-time. Goals from Eliot Evans and a second from Baker sealed a shock victory. The New Saints have won all but two of the last 10 league titles.

“It was a great three points from us and keeps the momentum going. The game was a great one for the neutral and after the first 15 minutes, I thought we would have been in trouble,” said midfielder Emlyn Lewis.

“I think every Cymru League club wants European Football. It would be great to be able to play in Europe again however, a lot can happen in nine games.”

Cardiff Met FC is the only team representing the capital in the Cymru Premier, Welsh football’s highest division, after the side was promoted in 2016.

The Archers finished fourth after the first round of fixtures, qualifying for the championship half of the table. This gives them a shot at the title and guarantees chance for a play-off for European football next season. This is the first time they have finished in the top half since 2017.

Cymru Premier champions qualify for the UEFA Champions League First Qualifying Round. The team that finishes second qualifies for the UEFA Europa Conference League, the newest UEFA club competition.

The teams ranked third to seventh take part in a play-off tournament to gain the final Europa Conference League place.

In 2019, the team qualified for the UEFA Europa League, European football’s secondary club competition. They were the second university side to do so after UCD from Dublin in 2016.

Cardiff Met FC play at Cyncoed Campus. Photo: Sam Feierabend

In their venture into Europe, Cardiff Met lost in the preliminary round to Luxembourg side Progres Niederkorn.

Fans of the club are passionate but sparse — 171 attended the game against TNS and the club has the lowest average attendance in the league this season.

“The boys do not get the support they deserve. It would be so good to get a few more through the gate to get the finances to give the league title a go,” said Andrea Clarke, 58. She lives in Cyncoed but has no affiliation to the university — she just “loves local football”.

The win puts The Archers third in the league heading into their next game on Friday, February 17 against Penybont.