— The New Saints FC (@tnsfc) March 31, 2018
Match report by Sam Wood
The New Saints were on the wrong end of a Matthew Hall masterclass as they lost 1-0 against Bangor City at the VSM stadium.
TNS had countless chances to find the net, but the Citizens’ goalkeeper continued to foil a determined Saints team.
Despite Scott Ruscoe making six changes to the side that beat Cefn Druids 5-1 last week, including handing a first team debut to Chris Craven, the quality of performance didn’t suffer, as his side were unfortunate to come away with nothing.
The New Saints almost made the perfect start after just five minutes when Greg Draper, played in by Kevin Kauber, was afforded a one on one with the goalkeeper, but Matthew Hall did brilliant to get down low to deny him.
It was the hosts that made the breakthrough though after 10 minutes. When Paul Harrison made a great initial save to deny Lawrence Wilson, Dean Rittenberg was on hand to stab the ball into the back of the net, and give his side the 1-0 goal lead.
It was fortunate to last though. Just two minutes later, both Draper and Dean Ebbe had the chance to level the scores, but a combination of Hall and the home defence did enough to clear the ball away for a corner.
TNS continued to dominate the match and after 28 minutes, Simon Spender, filling in quite unusually at left-back, fired an effort wide of the right hand post.
Bangor City were well drilled though, and often elected to keep 10 men behind the ball. It was a training ground move that made the game difficult for TNS, as space at the back was incredibly limited.
The hosts still looked threating however. Rittenberg had the chance to double his tally after 40 minutes, but good defending from the Saints stopped him finding the target with his shot.
Just a minute before half-time, in a move that perhaps summed up the TNS evening, Chris Craven found Draper with a good cross, but the New Zealand international’s effort was diverted onto the crossbar, before being scrambled clear for a corner.
The second 45 minutes followed the same pattern as the first. After 55 minutes, Draper found Kevin Kauber with a well-timed pass down the right wing, but his cross seeking out Ebbe was claimed well by Hall.
Four minutes later, Hall was on hand to deny Draper again. A searching ball beat the entire home defence, giving him a one on one, but his prodded effort towards goal was saved down low.
With 67 minutes on the clock, a good cross from the left by Simon Spender was flicked on by Dean Ebbe, but the feint touch took the ball beyond both Draper and Kauber, who were sliding in to meet it.
It just wasn’t to be for The New Saints, as Hall capped off his expert display with an instinctive save from eight yards out, denying Draper yet again on 79 minutes, meaning the Saints left Bangor empty handed.
Substitutions: Bower for Kauber (88), Callum Jones for Clark (89)
|31st March 2018||5:15 pm||Welsh Premier League||2017 - 2018|
|The New Saints FC||0|