One thing that continues to impress me is the ability of Scott Ruscoe’s side this season to adapt to the circumstances of each game. And to adapt well.
Take Saturday’s game, for example, and the 1-0 victory at Deeside Stadium. It’s no criticism of anyone, so don’t read something into the statement that isn’t intended, but it wasn’t perhaps the pitch that the side would prefer to play on. Again, I stress there’s nothing untoward in my comment, just stating a view.
For a team that plays not only at home, but also most games away on a 3G surface, natural surfaces will often throw a curved ball. Especially so in the winter months, as not only the Welsh weather, but also the weeks and months of regular football take its toll on the pitch.
I thought TNS adapted well to not only the surface but also Connah’s Quay’s style of play. The long throw in is a deadly tactic and due to the physical presence of their side it works really well for them. After all, you don’t become runners-up in the JD Welsh Premier League without having a plan that comes together.
Then there was the first game of 2018, an away trip to Maes Tegid. This time it was the conditions; they were up there with the worst I’ve ever experienced at a game of football. The wind was so powerful that the rain came across the pitch horizontally. It was the same for both sides, of course, but it was TNS who came through the other side intact with a 3-0 victory.
These are the type of games where we show our flexibility. Like a football chameleon we adapt to changing circumstances perfectly and seamlessly. For me, it’s the sign of a top-class side. Regardless of the league that you play in, it’s the stuff that champions are made of.
The question is usually asked of top European footballers who perform on the world’s stage, how would they do at Grimsby on a cold Tuesday evening, or some other such place?
Well, I don’t know about that but having watched The New Saints show versatility and flexibility on a regular basis, what I do know is that the metaphorical equivalent of a winter midweek trip to the frozen wastelands is something that Scott Ruscoe and his team would take in their stride.
Lead photograph: Scott Ruscoe and Steve Evans at Deeside on Saturday just gone. Credit: Brian Jones.
Rev’s Ramblings is a weekly blog. Read more here.