It should’ve been the game of the weekend but Friday night’s Connah’s Quay – TNS game failed to really ignite into the tasty top of the table clash we’d hoped.
Instead, we were left with some questionable officiating – Nomads duo George Horan and Jamie Insall can consider themselves fortunate to escape straight red cards – and game suffered from a distinct lack of quality from both sides in the final third for extended periods, albeit in difficult conditions. It all eventually played out with the Nomads snatching a late equaliser to leave Saints ruing dropped points.
That lack of attacking intent was particularly evident from Connah’s Quay in the first-half and although Andy Morrison did, in fairness, make positive changes at the interval with the introduction of Michael Bakare and Insall, it was frustrating to again see one of the strongest sides in the league set-up at home with such a limited attacking game plan. Yes, they’re up against the strongest squad in the league; yes, The New Saints are fully professional, but as a top-flight league with Pro Licence qualified coaches, shouldn’t teams be a bit more expensive than scrambling the ball as far away from goal as possible and playing off knock-downs and transitions relient on set-plays?
Andy Morrison and Nomads fans will probably strongly disagree with me, they got a point after all, but as a top of the table spectacle it made for poor viewing and would’ve done little to entice the neutral observer.
With Connah’s Quay and The New Saints sharing the points, that left Barry Town nicely placed able to recapture top-spot going into their visit at Caernarfon Town on Saturday afternoon.
Facing the Cofis at The Oval was always going to be a sizeable task for Barry and hit by a number of injuries and suspensions, so it proved with Caernarfon ruthlessly recording a 4-1 win. Gavin Chesterfield was forced to a name an unbalanced line-up with five attacking players (Reffell, Hood, Fahiya, Touray and McLaggon) and three second-half goals from Caernarfon saw them get overran as their 11-game unbeaten stretch came to an end in unceremonious fashion.
One result does not make a break a season, especially in November and especially when considering the selection worries Chesterfield had going into the game, but the challenge for Barry Town now will be how they respond and regain momentum. They couldn’t face a much tougher opponent than Connah’s Quay next weekend as they seek to bounce back.
A draw between those two could well pave the way for The New Saints to emerge as league leaders this time next week. They host Carmarthen Town, who’re yet to win in the league and Barry Town and Connah’s Quay might suddenly find themselves playing catch-up.
Caernarfon’s win will be remembered for some time by those at The Oval, but the biggest surprise of the round for me was seeing Airbus UK lose so heavily to Aberystwyth. Having not seen the highlights yet, I suspect the two late goals might have flattered the scoreline slight from an Aberystwyth perspective, but having seen Airbus compete so well away to Barry Town recently, I was expecting a far closer game. In fact, on the basis of that performance at Jenner Park, I was left with the impression that the Wingmakers are just a regular goalscorer away from being a serious contender to push for a top-six place. Instead, they now find themselves eight points short of mid-table – although the constant changing dynamic of the league means it’d be foolish to rule anyone in or out at this time.
CYMRU PREMIER RESULTS
Bala Town 4-0 Newtown, Cardiff Met 1-1 Penybont, Connah’s Quay 1-1 The New Saints, Airbus 1-5 Aberystwyth, Caernarfon 4-1 Barry Town, Carmarthen 1-2 Cefn Druids.
FEATURED IMAGE: NCM MEDIA/CONNAH’S QUAY NOMADS