They’re all big games, of course, but especially so the visit to the Deeside Stadium last Friday, when we (The New Saints FC) played Connah’s Quay Nomads. Having emerged as our main rival in recent seasons, encounters between the two sides will always have an extra edge to them.
Therefore, it was no surprise when S4C chose the fixture as their live TV game. Going into the match with Blaine Hudson suspended, he was always going to be a noticeable omission from the team sheet.
However, it’s true to say that to a man, the team performed admirably and that was reflected in Scott Ruscoe’s post-match comments where he praised the players, to the extent of naming them individually.
The goal that broke the deadlock was as a direct result of excellent work from Ryan Brobbel down the left. When he’s fit and firing on all cylinders, for me Brobz is one of the best players in the league, to the extent where he is a contender for JD Cymru Premier Player Of The Season. Maybe this time round? Let’s see.
The goal itself was Dean Ebbe’s seventh league strike of the season. With seventeen between them, Dean and Greg Draper have scored exactly half of our goals to date. He also finds the net at key times as well – think Gibraltar and Kosovo – and that was true at the Deeside.
Unfortunately, The New Saints couldn’t hold on to the lead, although it looked very good when the referee awarded a penalty. The players lined up just outside the area, Greg put the ball on the spot and the ‘keeper prepared to face a spot-kick. Then the official rescinded the decision.
A late equaliser brought a tinge of disappointment to proceedings, of course, but it was always going to be a tough game and while TNS never goes into any fixture playing for a draw, nevertheless avoiding defeat was always going to be a big plus come the final whistle.
The Barry Town United 4-1 defeat the following day means that it’s incredibly tight at the top, with just one point separating three teams. It’s looking good for us at the moment and with two home fixtures against bottom-six sides next on the agenda, it looks promising for the reigning champions.
The lead image is from the TNS FC dressing room, ahead of kick-off.
Blog entry 1540.