Kick off:14:30 Saturday, 27 Jan 2007
Fixture Type: Welsh Premier League
Referee: Ceri Richards
BATTLING Nomads, eyeing up their own place in Europe next season, denied champions TNS their expected return to the top of the table in a stalemate to delight current leaders Rhyl.
Boosted by a 2-1 victory in the Loosemores Cup back in August, Nomads were never far from a heady double and only some smart goalkeeping by Gerard Doherty, aided by some wayward finishing, denied them.
Quicker out of the traps, Nomads might have broken the deadlock as early as the eighth minute. Chris Sergeant arched over a cross into the box which found dangerman Tommy Mutton completely unmarked, but the normally ruthless finisher only steered his free header tamely into the receptive arms of fearful Doherty from eight yards out.
It was as well for Nomads that Gary Pinch was in such peerless form at the back while in midfield the work-rate and creativity of Craig Garside made him man-of-the-match. Saints were also well served by key defender Tommy Holmes. Carl Lamb was behind numerous TNS excursions and it was his pass that enabled Martin Naylor to beat the Nomads' offside trap but in a one-on-one with 'keeper Paul Smith the Saints striker screwed his shot wide of the post for a real let-off on the stroke of half-time.
It was Saints' turn to breathe a sigh of relief three minutes into the second half when Mutton beat the champions' cover for pace, laid on a ball for teenage starlet Adam Dickinson who pulled his shot wide from eight yards. John Toner twice tested keeper Smith from long range as the game swung absorbingly from end to end but the closest thing to a goal came on the hour mark when Marc Limbert cleverly chipped Doherty from outside the box only to see the ball hit the top of the crossbar and drop behind for a goal kick.
With three minutes to go, Lamb again chanced his arm from 25 yards in a bid to magic the goal that would restore Saints to the top spot but his effort curled wide as two unyielding defences emerged unbowed in a rip-roaring clash worthy of more than a point apiece.