Going into Sunday’s (August 6) game in south Wales, the pre-match expectation was to see an improvement from two weeks ago, when the teams last met.
On that occasion, the Welsh Premier Women’s League side were 2-0 winners, thus ensuring a happy journey back home to Monmouthshire.
This time round though, the roles were reversed and the TNS Ladies’ expectations were met in every sense: greater fitness, better cohesion and understanding and a lot more football of greater quality.
TNS dominated the early stages from the kick-off and could have scored with just one minute on the clock. Emma Roden couldn’t quite latch onto cross from Kim Bebbington though on the right that was fizzed across the goal.
However, the early pressure paid off just two minutes later. The Abergavenny keeper was forced into an error, as she passed the ball directly to Emma Roden.
From twenty-yards out, her shot crashed off the bar before Emily Ridge pounced on the rebound, scoring with a right-footed drive while under pressure from the recovering defender.
The perfect start settled TNS, who began to play with confidence and real structure, imposing their style on a very good Abergavenny team.
The home side created a few first-half chances, largely down to TNS giving the ball away cheaply. On two occasions in particular, the Shropshire-based side had Stacey Garnham to thank, coming to the rescue, making smart one-on-one saves.
With four second-half substitutions, Abergavenny, who were only formed in 2016, stepped up the pace. As the intensity increased, they briskly moved the ball around, pushing TNS back.
However, solid defensive work from the Ladies kept the home side out. Late efforts from Kim Bebbington, Emily Ridge, Charlotte Canlett and Lia Lewis could have wrapped the game up, but as it happened, the extra goal wasn’t needed and TNS ran out 1-0 winners.
After the final whistle, Andy Williams expressed his delight at not only the result but the way that they played, “Today was a clear example of our hard work coming together. I was pleased for the girls because a performance of that nature today, against a very good Abergavenny side, allows them to see first-hand our ideas being played out.”
Then, praising the team on how they have adapted to the new management regime at Park Hall, he continued, “I must compliment the girls on the way they have bought into the coaching and style of play we want from them.”
“We showed today that we are a solid unit who trust each other implicitly; our demands are on ourself to improve week on week and that is where we will focus our attention.”
Looking ahead to the league opener next weekend, he concluded, “We look forward now to a test next week against Stoke City Ladies.”
To get in touch with TNS Ladies, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks to Abergavenny Women’s photographer, Will Cheshire, for the accompanying images. Check out his album from the game on Flickr HERE