Here's how The New Saints line up against Bala Town tonight. There are two changes from last weekend's draw in Cardiff as Paul Harrison comes back in for Andy Wycherley and Simon Spender replaces Chris Marriott. #JDWPL pic.twitter.com/mStQGEPN7e
— The New Saints FC (@tnsfc) March 16, 2018
The New Saints of Oswestry Town 3 Bala Town 0
Goals: Brobbel (45), Ebbe (60, 87)
Yellow Card: Harrison (85)
Substitutions: Ebbe for Draper (59), Clark for Spender (78), Kauber for Edwards (88)
The third JD Welsh Premier League (JD WPL) encounter between the sides this season once more saw a 3-0 scoreline in favour of The New Saints, as Scott Ruscoe closed in on a league title in his first season at the Park Hall helm.
In the eight minute, Aeron Edwards won the ball and fed Greg Draper in the box, only for Ashley Morris to deny the New Zealand international an early goal.
As the game hit the quarter of an hour mark, good play down the left saw Jamie Mullan set himself up but his low shot ended up wide of the right post.
Although The New Saints had the better of the exchanges in the first period, as we approached the halfway stage Mike Hayes found himself through. With Blaine Hudson on his shoulder, the shot was eventually saved comfortably by Paul Harrison.
In the twenty third minute a free-kick in a dangerous position saw Chris Venables place a ball beyond a six-man wall, as once again Harrison was in the right place at the right time.
As the half wore on, it was Ryan Brobbel’s turn to have a go at goal from a free-kick. This time the ball hit the net, unfortunately though for the Northern Ireland U-21 international, it was the roof and not the back.
Right on the stroke of half-time though, Brobbel opened the scoring for the home side. A ball in from the left was struck superbly as the reigning champions went into the break 1-0 to the good.
Good play from Ryan Pryce eight minutes into the second period saw the ball cleared. A minute on, it was Stuart J Jones who got a head to another cross played in, this time as The New Saints won another corner.
Substituted at the two-thirds stage of the game, Draper remains on 99 league goals in his TNS career. His replacement, Dean Ebbe, found the net though with his first touch as a low cross in from Pryce down TNS’ left was not dealt with by the Bala defence. Pouncing on the loose ball from close range, the January signing doubled the lead.
Two minutes on, it was Ebbe again in the thick of the action, this time racing on to a through ball. This time though his shot cleared the bar.
With a two-goal cushion, although the Lakesiders never let their heads drop, The New Saints continued to dominate possession with patient, probing, passing football.
As the clock ticked down, Mullan found Edwards, as Morris pulled off a good save to deny the midfielder.
With just three minutes to go, Ebbe scored his second and TNS’ third as he once again raced on to a ball that this time saw him slot past the keeper to seal the victory.
The win extends the lead at the top of the JD WPL to fifteen points. Only Bala Town can now catch The New Saints, but with just five games to go – and a goal difference of 46 between the sides – realistically it’s a matter of when not if.
With Connah’s Quay Nomads the visitors to Maes Tegid next Friday (March 23), if Bala fail to win then TNS will be crowned champions without kicking a ball.
Photographs: Brian Jones
|16th March 2018||7:45 pm||Welsh Premier League||2017 - 2018|
|The New Saints FC||3|