The New Saints 2-4 Newtown AFC
The New Saints Scorers: Greg Draper 11’, Jamie Mullan 15’
Newtown AFC Scorers: Ryan Sears 29’, Luke Boundford 42’, 73’, Nick Rushton 87’
Well, this fixture certainly had a lot to live up to after the Boxing Day bash between the two at Park Hall, but like The Nomads’ clash with Cefn Druids last night, this one lived up to expectations and then some.
It took 12 minutes for The New Saints’ striker Greg Draper - who is almost unstoppable at the moment - putting the champions ahead after having his red card from Monday rescinded and being made eligible for inclusion in this fixture, before Jamie Mullan made it 2-0 after 16 minutes to give the impression that the home side were cruising.
Ryan Sears then pulled one back for The Robins and Luke Boundford evened the score as roles were reversed from the Latham Park clash on Monday as it was Newtown who were mounting the comeback this time, before Robbie Parry was shown a red card on the stroke of halftime to leave the champions down to ten men and round off a horrible 15 minutes for Scott Ruscoe’s side.
Tom Goodwin and Boundford both went close for The Robins early after the restart as they sensed the opportunity to secure a big win at Park Hall - a chance which Boundford eventually took in dramatic fashion as his diving header with 15 minutes left made it 3-2 to the visitors sending The Robins into delirium.
TNS attempted to mount a comeback in the closing stages of the game, but they were punished by Newtown late in the game as Nick Rushton broke clear and sealed the three points as he made it 4-2 to the visitors and secured a perfect end to 2017 for Chris Hughes’ side.
Bala Town 1-0 Prestatyn Town
Bala Town Scorer: Chris Venables 89’
Another thoroughly entertaining game during this festive period, Bala’s clash with Prestatyn was as frantic as any other game to take place this weekend, but the effects weren’t entirely noticeable on the score line as both sides proved wasteful in their execution in front of goal.
Mike Hayes was the first to squander a great opportunity for Bala, as he forced a mistake out of returning goalkeeper Carl Jones but couldn’t capitalise, before Will Bell was rounded in front of the home goal and Prestatyn hit the side netting to miss a good chance.
Les Davies and Nathan Burke had good chances from headers late in the half, but Jones was equal to both as he pulled off some top saves and the score stayed goalless going into halftime.
The second half began in the same manner the first had followed, as both outfits exchanged near-misses, but Prestatyn came the closest to securing their own downfall in this fixture as a cross was poorly dealt with and headed into Jones’ crossbar by one of his own centre-backs.
It looked like Prestatyn would secure a very creditable point at Maes Tegid, until The Lakesiders were awarded a very late penalty which Chris Venables rifled down the middle and into the back of Jones’ goal to secure a valuable three points for Colin Caton’s side.
Featured image courtesy of Salop Sports Photography