Late Drama At Park Hall, As Saints Snatch All Three Points In Final Game Of 2019

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Match Report

Goals: Draper (89), Ebbe (90+4)
Substitutions: Ebbe for Cieslewicz (66), Byrne for Davies (75), Whitehouse for Mullan (90+1)

Match report by Sam Wood

There was late drama at Park Hall, as goals from Greg Draper and Dean Ebbe snatched all three points for The New Saints in the final minute against Cefn Druids.

The Saints had dominated proceedings throughout the match, but when Tyrone Ofori gave his side the lead with 65 minutes gone, it looked like the Druids would leave with the three points.

Goals in the 89th and fourth minute of stoppage time, from Greg Draper and Dean Ebbe though, ensured that The Saints stayed top of the JD Cymru Premier.

First-half

It was a lively start to the match, with Ramirez Howarth going close for the visitors with just three minutes on the clock. Blaine Hudson was equal to his shot though, as The Saints withstood the pressure.

And it took an early opening from the Druids to spark Scott Ruscoe’s side into life, as Ryan Brobbel forced a great save from Michael Jones six minutes later.

Down the other end, Cefn Druids were threatening again though. Were it not for an equally good save from Saints captain, Paul Harrison, who tipped Nathan Peate’s header over the crossbar, it’d have been the side from Cefn-Mawr in front.

But TNS continued to push for the opener, as both Ryan Brobbel and Jamie Mullan looked to cause problems from crosses, however neither player could make anything of them and the visitors were able to recover easily.

The best chance of the half fell the way of the hosts in minute 35, when Mullan’s corner from the right was met by the head of Hudson.

The Saints’ number 12 rose highest above everyone in the penalty area and it needed a superb block on the line from Michael Pritchard to keep it out.

Although there was nothing to separate the two sides at the interval, the first 45 minutes had given Scott Ruscoe plenty of positives.

Second-half

The game resumed in the same lively fashion, with both Pritchard and Jon Routledge having chances to break the deadlock, but neither man was able to hit the back of the net.

Druids goalkeeper, Jones, was certainly kept busy though, as he had to be on hand to gather efforts from both Draper and Adrian Cieslewicz.

Just like previous TNS home matches this season, you again began to wonder whether it’d be another frustrating evening. And that feeling was perhaps no more evident in the 57th minute, when Neil Ashton pulled off an acrobatic clearance to stop Draper from finishing into an empty net.

Again Draper got on the end of a cross, this time from Edwards, and Redmond tried his luck from distance, but as was so often the case, Jones was equal to both efforts.

And Jones’ saves proved crucial, as the Ancients went in front against the run of play in the 65th minute. It was Tyrone Ofori who did the hard work, as he spun away from his marker, before firing an effort into the bottom corner, stunning Park Hall into silence in the process. 1-0.

With title rivals, Connah’s Quay Nomads leading against Airbus, The Saints boss knew how important the result would be and Ruscoe sent on two extra strikers in Kurtis Byrne and Dean Ebbe.

Druids held out for as long as they could, but their defence finally gave way with just a minute to go.

After Jones had misjudged Redmond’s cross, the ball bounced back off the crossbar, falling right at the feet of Draper, who finally did get his goal, as he looked to have rescued a point for his team. 1-1.

But things soon got better for The Saints, with substitute Dean Ebbe snatching all three points right at the death.

In the fourth minute of stoppage time, an expertly weighted ball from Brobbel found the the Irish striker, who glanced a header into the top corner, leaving Jones rooted to the spot, and sparked jubilant celebrations around Park Hall. 2-1.

The late drama ensured TNS ended the year and the decade top of the JD Cymru Premier, as they chase a ninth consecutive league title in 2020.

Details

Date Time League Season
30th December 2019 7:45 pm JD Cymru Premier 2019 - 2020

Ground

Park Hall Stadium
The Venue, Burma Rd, Whittington, Oswestry SY11 4AS, UK

Results

ClubGoals
The New Saints FC2
Cefn Druids1

The New Saints FC

1Paul Harrison Goalkeeper
2Simon Spender Defender
4Keston Davies 21 Defender
6Jon Routledge Midfielder
8Ryan Brobbel Midfielder
9Greg Draper Forward
10Danny Redmond Midfielder
11Adrian Cieslewicz 7 Forward
12Blaine Hudson Defender
14Jamie Mullan 32 Forward
7Dean Ebbe 11 Forward
21Kurtis Byrne 4 Forward
32Billy Whitehouse 14 Midfielder