The Saints’ impressive 100% start to the league campaign came to a sudden halt on Wednesday night to lowly Sporting Khalsa. TNS dramatically surrendered a two-goal lead conceding five goals without further reply in a dramatic turn of events.
Andy Williams’ side flew into an early lead and could have three or four goals to the good, before carelessly letting a dangerous Khalsa back into the game on 21 minutes.
A key moment in the game was the departure of two-goal Emily Ridge shortly before half time. She had forced Khalsa onto the back foot early on with tenacious defending and probing centre forward play. TNS were never really able to fill the void left by Ridge which gave the away side heart and impetus.
Sporting struck early in the second half gaining a penalty that was converted expertly. That goal stunned TNS and it was Khalsa who pressed home their advantage with a further three goals in a devastating 15 minute spell which saw the home side surrender with a whimper.
This was a disappointing end to what had been a promising opening run to the season. The green and whites will be looking to bounce back immediately this Sunday when they host Radcliffe Olympic at Four Crosses in a hastily re-arranged fixture.
Manager Andy Williams was fairly circumspect about events. “We are all hurting after a defeat in this manner. It’s never a good feeling, but to conceded five at home having led by two goals is unforgivable and the players know that. They have let themselves down tonight and everyone connected with the club.
Yet we must give credit to Sporting. We knew, having played them a few weeks ago, that they are a difficult opponent and that this would not be as straight forward a game as it looked on paper. Their league position is false and they are a very good footballing side as they showed tonight. They will cause teams in this league big problems as they did for us tonight.
We pride ourself on hard work and standards; this is the first time I have had cause to be disappointed as manager but I remain realistic and appreciate it has been a demanding period for the players who have given their all. This was possibly one week when the players needed more rest time and could have been fine without a game.”
Match report: Andy Williams
Photograph: Josh Pearce @SalopSportsPhotography