Dean Ebbe looked to give the visitors an early advantage
Right at the start of the game with seconds on the clock, as we looked to establish an early advantage, there was an opportunity to break the deadlock. Dean Ebbe, twisting and turning in the box managed to get a shot in, but the masses of Cardiff shirts did their job and kept the ball away from goal.
Over the line or not?
The most talked about incident in the game was what followed next. After Ebbe’s effort was blocked, Aeron Edwards had two chances to put The New Saints ahead. First of all, he was denied by a great save from the keeper. Then, from the resultant corner, the midfielder looked to have forced the ball over the line as he went in at the far post.
However, the home side cleared and although TNS FC players in the area insisted that it was a goal, the officials did not agree with them and play continued. In the battle of objectivity versus subjectivity, whether it was or not, may depend on which side of the fence you sit.
Falling behind and clean sheets
Almost immediately, in the fifth minute, the action-packed start to the game continued as the Archers broke the deadlock. This time there was no disputing, as Eliot Evans, on the left side of the penalty area, saw his shot beat both Blaine Hudson and Paul Harrison on its way into the back of the net.
Although The New Saints kept a clean sheet on MD1 in the JD Cymru Premier, including the game at Stenhousemuir that’s now six matches on the bounce that we have conceded. When you break that figure down though, five of those have seen just one goal against, so it’s not all doom and gloom.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. With a minimum of five added minutes indicated by the fourth official, we were in 90+6 when Chris Marriott’s corner from the right was launched into a crowded penalty area. Pitched with precision for the head of the ex-Swansea City defender, the leap and connection were timed to perfection, as the equaliser was celebrated by everyone connected with the reigning champions.
It’s tight at the top
A win for The New Saints – and one for Cardiff Met depending on scoreline – would have seen either side go to the top of the table. As it was, come the final whistle, Barry Town United lead the way on 14, with TNS FC just one point behind in second place.
With Connah’s Quay Nomads and the Archers both on 12, that’s just two points separating the top four.
What is also an important point to bear in mind is that if we had lost that game, it would not only have been two defeats in six but also that the three other sides just mentioned are all unbeaten so far this season.
Ultimately, although statistics are just numbers on a page, they are nevertheless reliable indicators as to what’s going on in reality. We only lost four games in the whole of 2018/2019, to have lost half as many by the middle of September wouldn’t have been ideal.
Lead image courtesy of Brian Jones. Was the ball over the line?