This weekend (March 10 2018) sees another Saturday evening game in front of the Sgorio cameras. Last time The New Saints featured live on S4C was against Dumbarton in the Irn-Bru Cup, this time it’s back to JD Welsh Premier League (JD WPL) action in Cardiff.
Following the disappointment of Tuesday’s (March 6) JD Welsh Cup exit at the Deeside Stadium against Connah’s Quay Nomads, it’s an opportunity for Scott Ruscoe’s side to tighten the grip on a seventh successive league title.
Going into the Cardiff Met fixture, The New Saints have a more than healthy twelve-point lead at the top of the table, plus a game in hand over second placed Bangor City. With just seven matches to go, including the trip to the capital, it’s looking good for the Ruscoe/Evans partnership as they seek to do the double in their first season in charge.
Following a promising start to the 2017/2018 campaign, Cardiff Met have fallen behind in the race for the title and go into the encounter twenty-two points behind the leaders, having played a game more.
The sides have already met three times this season, and although TNS have the upper hand with two wins and a draw, the games have been very close indeed. The first coming together, in the JD WPL back in September, saw a 0-0 scoreline with Ryan Leak making his debut, signing on loan from high-flying English Championship side, Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The next game, a month later, saw TNS extend the then unbeaten streak to fourteen games, as the visitors to Park Hall were beaten 2-1. The JD WPL match saw Routledge and Draper convert in the 72nd and 78th minute respectively to give the reigning champions what appeared to be a comfortable lead.
However, with ten minutes to go it was game-on as Spender, dismissed for handball on the line, provided a lifeline for Cardiff as Roscrow converted the spot-kick. The Saints held on though to claim the points in a 2-1 victory.
The third fixture between the sides was in January of this year ,when Aberystwyth Town’s Park Avenue hosted the Nathaniel MG Cup final. Again, just one goal separated the teams at the final whistle, as Jamie Mullan’s finish ensured that Scott Ruscoe lifted his first trophy as a manager.
As well as the aforementioned S4C, the game will also be broadcast live on TNS Radio, with the link here on our home page, as well as social media updates via our Twitter account (@tnsfc).
The photographs are from the Nathaniel MG Cup victory. Credit: Brian Jones.