The summer programme continues and what a week it’s been for everyone involved at The New Saints FC, writes Jason Brindley.
On Tuesday evening we witnessed what was very nearly the greatest ever European comeback as our first team battled bravely and were so agonisingly close to completing the impossible.
It was one of the best performances I remember witnessing in my time with TNS. It was great to see such a good Academy turnout for the game, sitting in the stand together behind the goal. Our youngsters were brilliant, with all ages from U7 to U16 supporting our team.
I hope to see another good turnout when we play Lincoln Red Imps on Thursday in the Europa League 2ndqualifying round at 7pm.
During the weekend just past, the pitch has been alive with football. On Saturday morning we welcomed Kidderminster Harriers to Park Hall Stadium to face our U9/10/11s. We are always looking to add to our fixture programme, which is already significant, and play new opposition, especially across the border.
This was the first time we have faced Kidderminster and we thank them for travelling to us and look forward to seeing them again later on in the season.
Following that fixture, our U12s welcomed AFC Telford to The Venue. It was a very good game and our U12s are starting to come together. With numerous new players, we knew it would take a bit of work but they are really starting to understand our playing philosophy and showing great togetherness.
Completing Saturday’s action, our U15s welcomed Wirral Schools to play at our first team stadium. Wirral Schools are a very strong outfit, made up of players from different pro academies. They won the National Finals recently, so we knew it would be a good test for our U15s.
What followed can only be described as a near perfect performance from our young Saints. They took the game to Wirral from the first whistle and were excellent. Another team with a lot of new players, they are a strong group which contain some exciting players. Mix that with players who work tirelessly and you have the making of a very good team.
On Sunday morning our U13 faced Buckley Vipers U14s. We look to challenge our players in different ways, as much as possible, to expose them to different teams with different styles to see how the players deal with it, adapt if they need to, but to still remain true to our principles.
Despite the age difference our U13s were superb and played some excellent pass and move football. It was really good to see them take on recent training topics and apply them in the game.
Our U15s were again in action on Sunday, welcoming Mansfield Town to Park Hall. We have a really strong relationship with Mansfield Town, playing them across the board on numerous times over the past few seasons. They always prove good opposition and we thank them for travelling.
Our U12s were also again in action, playing Alscott. Making a special appearance was young Nikolas Slosarczyk, who suffered a broken wrist last week in the Vauxhall Motors tournament. Nikolas was ‘assistant Gaffa’ and gave a team-talk at one of the intervals. It was a beautiful sunny day at Park Hall.
The game was a little slower, maybe due to the heat or because a couple of boys played the day before. However, there were a couple of fantastic moves, including a proper TNS goal. We played from back to front, playing through then around. It took just 12 seconds from our goal to theirs. It was great to see.
Fantastic example of everything our @tnsfc philosophy is. Playing out from the back, finding the spare man. Playing through or around. Creating width/depth/height. Everything linked into our game model. #tnsdna pic.twitter.com/6zSdo5FWFM
— Jason Brindley (@JasonBrindley1) July 23, 2018
Finishing off the weekend, our U14s welcomed Aberdare Town FC from South Wales. Aberdare make an annual trip up to North Wales to play our Academy, with their families travelling up and staying over Saturday evening. We were delighted to welcome them again.
It was another good game, with both teams creating good goal scoring opportunities. We thank them for travelling up and hope they enjoyed the game.
Despite the season not officially starting yet, our age groups are really coming together. Some groups have played 10 games plus already, while other teams are only just restarting.
I appreciate that it’s a long season but we feel that this will put us in a great position and I feel the Academy has never been this strong in my time at the football club. With an exciting restructure behind the scenes and with top coaches and people working hard with players, really exciting times ahead.
Next week we look forward to entering into the Manchester International Super Cup.