There is much to admire about Wales. The superb band that are Manic Street Preachers, the awesome and atmospheric beauty of Lake Bala and the wonderful Treaddur Bay just down the road from Holyhead come instantly to mind as does the warmth and unique humour of the Welsh people I’ve had the good fortune to meet *on their own turf*.
But Saturday afternoon gave me a completely new perspective on Welsh football commentary. Like most of us I’ve listened to Iwan and Mark Walton [I don’t count Gossy, he’s about as Welsh as I am] on Radio Norfolk and all three of them seem to be clear, fair and incisive with their insights and make for great listening.
However I’d never come across Rob Phillips and Jason Perry on BBC Radio Wales before – probably because I’d never bought an iFollow pass for a Saturday away match in the Principality before!
The first half threw up a masterclass from Norwich. No Pukki no problem it would seem as we breezed into a two-nil lead thanks to Grant Hanley’s first goal for a year and a follow-up from Todd Cantwell when Alex Smithies could only push out a Jordan Hugill shot. Nobody would have noticed we had ten players unavailable and our alternation between the high pressing in twos and threes or defending like our lives depended on it was a joy to watch.
As Daniel Farke said, that half was about as perfect as it gets and if Neil Harris’s body language was anything to go by he agreed.
Enter Messrs Phillips [the Welsh equivalent of Chris Goreham] and Perry, who is an ex-Bluebirds captain. I don’t really remember him that well but I think he was a contemporary of Rob Earnshaw and, erm, Peter Thorne.
They had spent the entire first half contrasting how good we were against how poorly Cardiff were playing. The verbal boot was well and truly put into the boys in blue although I admit some of their comments were very funny, especially the one about how Cantwell and Emi Buendia had *diving and hitting the deck* as two of their training topics. And the line about new signing from Crawley Town, Max Watters [who was in the stands] still having time to change his mind.
As the second half kicked off very much in the same vein, we were treated to updates from Rodney Parade and the Racecourse and often reminded that Swansea’s trip to Barnsley was going to be *live on Radio Wales*. I suppose it’s no different to Chris getting an update from The Walks but it started to grate towards the end.
On came a sight I had been hoping not to see – the introduction of Kieffer Moore for Cardiff. Now this guy might be six feet six or something and a natural target man but he has a fair old modicum of skill as well. If anyone could put the willies up us, Moore could.
Suddenly the Welsh commentary team had turned on a sixpence, getting right behind their team. They couldn’t hide their deep feelings for Cardiff City any more than our Chis G can hide his for NCFC.
Then out of thin air, thanks to the only time Bacuna got free in the box Joe Ralls planted a low shot beyond Daniel Barden to grab the Bluebirds a lifeline.
Enter [or rather exit] Marlon Pack. The Cardiff skipper was given a deserved second yellow for following through on Ollie Skipp and we were treated to regular outbursts of how you’d think Norwich were the team playing with ten men.
Anyway we could have wrapped it up with two or three more but didn’t. Cardiff could have made something out of late set pieces but didn’t. It’s a shame the Swans won at Barnsley but I guess Rob and Jason would have been more upset about that than I was!
Another great team performance but I have to single out Todd Cantwell. He might have had better matches in a yellow shirt but I honestly cannot remember one.
And our very own Welsh lad, Daniel Barden, doesn’t look too shabby does he?
While you’re here…
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