We're back in action in the #JDWPL at Connah's Quay Nomads this weekend. There are two changes from the team that faced Dumbarton with Jamie Mullan returning in place of Greg Draper and Steve Saunders starting in defence instead of Connell Rawlinson. pic.twitter.com/2dMvE13rFg
— The New Saints FC (@tnsfc) February 24, 2018
Goal: Routledge (45)
Yellow card: Pryce (90+6)
Red card: Harrison (88)
Substitutions: Pryce for Spender (46), Jones for Saunders (90+1), Draper for Ebbe (90+3)
In a keenly-contested affair at Deeside Stadium, The New Saints took the three points courtesy of a late first-half strike from Jon Routledge.
In an end-to-end game, an early ball in from Ryan Brobbel was met by Dean Ebbe, only for his header to lack power as John Danby dealt comfortably with the attempt. Again, the former Shamrock Rovers man went for goal, this time a shot, and although he was forced to dive to his right on this occasion, Danby once more denied the lively striker.
Still within the opening twelve minutes, pressure from Ebbe on the goalkeeper saw his clearance sliced as the visitors won a corner.
In the 18th minute, Brobbel had the time and space to set himself up, only for the Northern Ireland U-21 international’s shot to go just over the bar.
Connah’s Quay created their own chances, with a foul by Blaine Hudson resulting a free-kick that ex-TNS man, Mike Wilde, got his head to. Paul Harrison though proved to be in the right place at the right time, as the ball went straight into his arms.
Right on 45 minutes though the deadlock was broken, as a ball played into the box found Routledge. The battling midfielder slotted from the left, past Danby as The New Saints scored what was to be the only goal of the game.
The Nomads came out for the second period determined to haul themselves back in the contest and went very close with just one minute gone. A free-kick was headed goalwards with Steve Saunders’ clearance off the line all that denied the home side.
Just one minute on, another long throw saw a cluster of players involved in the box, only for Harrison this time to maintain his side’s advantage, as he dived to prevent the equaliser.
As the second period wore on there was no let-up in the tempo as both sides surged forward at every opportunity. Good work from Aeron Edwards down TNS’ left saw his ball go agonisingly behind his incoming team mates.
At the other end, Scotland international Saunders who had an excellent game, again came to the rescue, with a defensive header from close-range.
Relying heavily on the Jake Phillips long throw in the second half, the Nomads’ substitute launched another ball into the box. Wilde’s header found Bakare who saw his attempt go over.
Another throw, this time from Rob Hughes caught TNS napping but Wilde’s ball in the box was put behind by a Ryan Pryce header, as Michael Bakare lurked behind him.
In the final ten minutes, a tremendous save from Harrison diving to his right, prevented Wilde from equalising against his ex-team mates as he got on the end of another Phillips long throw.
With two minutes to go, a ball played in came off the top of the TNS bar, leading to an incident that saw keeper Harrison receive a straight red for foul and abusive language.
Leading to a couple of substitutions, including Aaron Jones stepping up, nevertheless the visitors held on to the 1-0 lead. The victory sees The New Saints extend the gap at the top to twelve-points over second-placed Bangor City, with a game in hand.
Photographs: Brian Jones. Check out the gallery from the game.
|24th February 2018||2:00 pm||Welsh Premier League||2017 - 2018|
|Connah’s Quay Nomads||0|
|The New Saints FC||1|