In the words of the old adage, you wait ages for a bus and then two turn up together. Well, that’s certainly a parallel principle as far as the TNS against Newtown fixtures are concerned this season.
Having met for the first time in 2017/2018 on Boxing Day, just four days later the sides go head-to-head again in the JD Welsh Premier League. Of course, there is method in the apparent madness, as with just thirty miles or so separating the towns, the festive fixture list is very sensible and pragmatic.
The game at Latham Park was a real Christmas cracker. It had everything: yellow cards, sending off, a comeback, two penalties and a superb goal from a ball-winning centre half that would send the English sports media into overload if it had been scored the other side of the border.
Above all though for TNS fans, it was a game that ended in a 3-2 victory and a three crucial points on the table, as Scott Ruscoe’s side begin to pull away from the chasing pack.
Just a few weeks or so back the table was so tight that the top four were seperated by just two points. Since then however, due to the combination of others dropping points and TNS hitting a rich vein of form, a comfortable gap has developed.
Going into the final game of the season against Newtown at Park Hall, the current JD WPL champions have a seven and eight points lead over Connah’s Quay Nomads and Bangor City respectively. In addition, having played a game less than the two aforementioned sides, it’s true to say that The New Saints are in the driving seat.
Since the 1-0 reversal at home to Barry Town United on November 4, TNS have strung together a run of nine consecutive victories in all competitions. Half a dozen wins in the JD WPL have been boosted by progression in the JD Welsh Cup, Irn-Bru Cup and the Nathaniel MG Cup.
The game at Park Hall this Saturday (December 30 2017) is a 2.30 p.m. kick-off and admission charges are £8 / £4 / £1. As always, if you’re not able to make the match in person you can follow the action via TNS Radio. The link is here on the home page of our website and you can interact with us via Twitter using the hashtag #TNSRadio.
Finally, as it is the last game of the year and 2017 begins to ebb into history, The New Saints would like to wish you a very happy and blessed New Year.
The lead photograph is from Boxing Day’s victory at Latham Park. Credit: Brian Jones.