— The New Saints FC (@tnsfc) December 3, 2019
Goals: Byrne (87)
Substitutions: Routledge for Marriott (19), Draper for Ebbe (59), Byrne for Nembhard (76)
Match report by Sam Wood
Kurtis Byrne’s 87th minute winner sent The New Saints back to the top of the JD Cymru Premier for the first time since September, and ensured his side picked up the full three points against a stubborn Carmarthen Town side at Park Hall.
For a long time, it looked as if the visitor’s defence would hold firm, but a moment of misfortune when Brobbel’s strike came back off the post, proved their undoing.
Just like Saturday’s match against Airbus UK, The New Saints could’ve had another early lead. And it was Dean Ebbe who almost broke the deadlock with just seven minutes gone, as he came close to getting on the end of Aeron Edwards’ pullback, but the ball was just too far in front of the Irish striker.
But just second later, it could’ve been the visitors celebrating. A defensive mix-up at the back by The Saints allowed Luke Bowen to capitalise, but it was a lucky escape, as his effort trickled just the wrong side of the post.
In the 17th minute, Ebbe had another good chance to score, as he was close to Cieslewicz’ cross this time, but just like the last, he couldn’t quite reach it.
It was a half in which neither side really hit full gear, and that was definitely evident, as both Lewis Harling and Jordan Vickers, sent efforts high and wide for the Old Gold as the opening period wore on.
Scott Ruscoe’s side stepped things up in the second half, and called Carmarthen’s Lee Idzi into action several times in the opening stages.
The most impressive of the visiting goalkeeper’s saves came in the 48th minute, as he tipped Brobbel’s top-corner bound effort wide at full stretch.
With 56 minutes played, the best chance of the match fell at the feet of Ebbe, after an excellent forward ball had split the defence.
The number seven carried the ball forward, before rolling a composed finish around the outrushing Idzi, but much to the dismay of everyone at Park Hall, it went agonisingly wide of the post.
And when Idzi saved again from Aeron Edwards two minutes later, it started to feel like like one of those nights.
Looking to his bench for inspiration, Ruscoe sent on Greg Draper in place of Ebbe, and the New Zealand international had an instant impact, as he forced yet another save from the impressive Carmarthen number one.
The Saints kept pushing though, and things started to get more desperate at the back for the Old Gold. A scramble in the box saw Jon Routledge’s effort bundled clear, before a TNS corner was headed off the line soon after.
Knowing how important the three points would be, The Saints manager introduced more attacking fire power, as Kurtis Byrne replaced Joash Nembhard, and what an inspired change it turned out to be.
With time running out, Idzi was finally beaten, as Brobbel curled an effort around the impressive goalkeeper, but the ball still failed to hit the back of the net.
What it did hit though was the post, with the rebound falling kindly at the feet of Byrne, who made no mistake from close range to send Park Hall into rapturous celebrations and secure the full three points for his side.
|3rd December 2019||7:45 pm||JD Cymru Premier||2019 - 2020|
|The New Saints FC||1|