Cardiff Northern 5
Pontcanna, 11th November

Starting XI
1) Martyn Rich
2) David Manley
3) Carl French
4) Matthew Rowley
5) Craig Palfrey
6) Lee Blackshaw
7) Carl Manley
8) Daniel Kazemi
9) Stephen Mustey
10) Nicky Ball
11) Roy Phillips 

Following a crushing defeat earlier in the season to GCAC, Cardiff Northern were determined to put things right against their long time rivals this time out.  Northern were missing Gareth Fundalski but welcomed back Carl Manley from injury who hadn't played since the first game of the season.  A cagey start saw GCAC winning the midfield battle but good defending from captain Craig Palfrey and Matthew Rowley kept the game scoreless.  Northern drew first blood when Stephen Mustey turned on the edge of the box and threaded a perfect ball through for Nick Ball who hammered home from the 6 yard box.  GCAC raised their game and when a free-kick was conceded from 25 yards an excellent strike flew over the wall and past a Martyn Rich who could only flap at the ball as it whistled past.  This was going to be a tight game all the way.

When Roy Phillips was brought down with a two footed challenge on Northern's left flank the game was stepped up a notch with hard tackles being made all over the pitch.  Carl Manley moved off his right wing to receive a throw-in and when he played a neat one-two with Ball on the edge of the box he seemed destined to score only to be brought down by GCAC's last man.  He picked himself to take the spot kick only to see it beaten away by the keeper with a good dive to his left.  It was Carl Manley's first ever penalty miss.  This miss only served to enhance Northern's resolve and when Daniel Kazemi received a pass down the right he cut the ball across goal for Stephen Mustey to score from a matter of inches.  Soon after Kazemi went down the left hand side and after beating his man on the line he chipped a cross to the back post which was headed in by a stretching Nick Ball.  That was how it stayed till half time with the only other major incident being a cross that Martyn Rich fumbled and then hauled back off his own line.

The second half saw GCAC score when a throw-out by Martyn Rich was intercepted on the edge of the box and despite David Manley's tackle the GCAC striker shot from the edge of the box.  His fairly weak effort squirmed under Martyn for another soft goal to give the GCAC side hope.  Carl Manley hit the post from a corner as Northern tried to restore their two goal cushion before Stephen Mustey, who was seemingly going nowhere in the right hand corner beat the GCAC left back, cut across the pitch yards from the goal-line and hammered a shot in from the tightest of angles.  Soon after Craig Palfrey, who otherwise had a flawless game at the back, tried to juggle the ball one time too many and was robbed of the ball only to see Martyn Rich make a god save but then spill the ball to the GCAC striker who tapped in from close range. It was not one of Martyn's better days.

The 3 points for Northern were sealed however when Stephen Mustey fed Carl Manley who played the ball across the box and saw Mustey seal his hat-trick with an excellent shot while sliding in.

Subs: Simon Paterson, Ross Gunter, Phil Parr
Scorers: Nick Ball 2, Stephen Mustey 3
MOM: Craig Palfrey

* Match Reports represent the opinion of the author and in no way represent the opinions of CNFC.