A Difficult Night For The New Saints in Bulgaria


Match Report

Yellow cards: Routledge (35)
Substitutions: Hudson for Davies (46), Draper for Ebbe (61), Lewis for Spender (69)

Match report: Sam Wood

The New Saints will have their work cut out if they want to reach the UEFA Europa League play-off round, after a 5-0 defeat away against Ludogorets Razgrad.

An unfortunate Ryan Harrington own goal with just 10 minutes played set the tone of the night, as the Bulgarian champions made their superiority count.

It’s a result that leaves Scott Ruscoe’s side needing to score five without reply in next week’s second leg at the Racecourse Ground.


It took just 10 minutes for the first goal to arrive, as the deadlock was broken in bizarre circumstances, when Jordan Ikoko saw an effort come crashing back off the post. It looked like The Saints had escaped the danger, but the ball hit Ryan Harrington and deflected into the net for an own goal.

And it was very nearly two just minutes later, as Harrison spilt a free-kick into the path of the onrushing attackers, but they failed to convert after a scramble in the penalty area.

Next it was TNS’ chance to test the goalkeeper, as Ryan Brobbel tried his luck with a free-kick. A training ground routine saw the shot go under the wall, but into the arms of a grateful Iliev.

With 30 on the clock though, the Bulgarian champions did eventually double their lead. A poor ball saw The Saints lose possession, much to the delight of Mavis Tchibota, who raced between the two TNS central defenders, rounded Paul Harrison and found the bottom corner.

And just two minutes before the break, things got worse for Scott Ruscoe’s side. Ryan Harrington took too long in possession of the ball, and he was disposed by Jody Lukoki, who cooly placed the ball into the far corner of the goal.


Despite the scoreline, The Saints started the second period positively and still had several chances. Perhaps the best of the match dropped to Jamie Mullan, who found space between the Ludogorets defenders, after a loose header had sent him away. It was a superb recovery from the home side though, as they got back just as the number 14 pulled the trigger.

Moments like that were few and far between though, as just like the first-half, Scott Ruscoe’s side needed to concentrate on their defending.

The hosts kept up the pressure, eventually finding another way through in the 65 minute. Some good work from Mavis Tchibota down the left made space and the winger showed great vision, as he cut the ball back to Claudiu Keseru on the edge of the box. Ludogorets’ number 28 made no mistake, firing past Harrison to extend his side’s lead further.

And on 76 minutes, The Saints misery was compounded further, when Chris Marriott was penalised for handball in the penalty area. The number three was adamant that the ball had hit his chest, but the Romanian referee waved away the protests.

Cosmic Moti stepped up and saw his penalty saved well by Harrison, but The Saints’ keeper’s luck was out, as the ball dropped back at the feet of the striker, who slotted home.

That was the end of a bad night for Scott Ruscoe’s side, who have it all to do in next week’s second leg.


Date Time League Season
8th August 2019 6:30 pm Europa League 2019 - 2020


Ludogorets Arena
Ludogorets Arena, Васил Левски, кв. Варош, Razgrad, 7200, Bulgaria


The New Saints FC0

The New Saints FC

1Paul Harrison Goalkeeper
2Simon Spender 22 Defender
3Chris Marriott Defender
4Keston Davies 12 Defender
6Jon Routledge Midfielder
7Dean Ebbe 9 Forward
8Ryan Brobbel Midfielder
9Greg Draper 7 Forward
10Danny Redmond Midfielder
12Blaine Hudson 4 Defender
14Jamie Mullan Forward
22Kane Lewis 2 Defender
24Ryan Harrington Defender