WPL 2017/18 Matchday 2 – REVIEW
GAME OF THE WEEK: The New Saints 3-0 Bala Town
Heading into this fixture, most of the talk had been about The New Saints’ loss in Matchday 1 against Bangor City, with many people wondering if Bala Town could add to The New Saints worries by inflicting another defeat on the reigning champions.
However, if anyone expected TNS to still be shaky from their opening day defeat, they’d be mistaken, as the hosts came out of the blocks and dominated from the off, but were left to rue missed chances as a fantastic, resolute defending display from the Lakesiders, meant the scores remained level at the break.
The second half started much the same as the first, with The New Saints dominating possession, and they finally got their breakthrough in the 57th minute, after Aeron Edwards’ shot was deflected out for a corner. From the resulting corner, new signing Blaine Hudson found himself in a bit of space in the 6 yard box to place a header beyond Ashley Morris. With the deadlock broken, The New Saints began to put even more pressure on the Bala Town defence, and were celebrating a second goal just 6 minutes later when Wes Fletcher controlled an Aeron Edwards pass, before firing past Morris on the half volley. Fletcher was celebrating his second and TNS’ third 9 minutes later, after a phenomenal 30 yard pass from Aeron Edwards found him on the edge of the area, before the striker expertly lifted the ball over the hapless Ashley Morris on the half volley. A return to winning ways for The New Saints, after all the fallout from last week.
Cardiff Met FC 3-1 Bangor City
A great performance from a determined Cardiff Met side saw the Students beat Bangor City, who many were expecting to continue the good form that saw them defeat TNS in Matchday 1.
After a good start, the Students got the opener in the 22nd minute, when Jordan Lam fired a low pass into Eliot Evans, who fired his shot in off the bar. Having fallen behind, the Citizens went searching for an equaliser, and almost got an immediate response when Luke Wall won the ball from Joel Edwards, but his shot was well saved by Will Fuller. Luke Wall then turned provider, by teeing up Brayden Shaw, who tried his luck from 20 yards out, but Fuller saved again. The Students were under pressure, and a hopeful long range clearance from Jordan Lam only found Tom Kennedy, whose backpass was intercepted by Roscoe who headed beyond Connor Roberts and into the back of the net. The Citizens regained their composure and continued to press for the equaliser, with Cayola flicking the ball into Taylor-Fletcher, but his Taylor-Fletcher’s shot was well saved by Fuller.
The second half saw the Students perhaps lucky to avoid going a man down, following a rash challenge by Woodridge on Taylor-Fletcher. From the resulting free-kick, Brayden Shaw tested Fuller, who saved well. Cardiff Met went extended their lead 9 minutes later, against the run of play, when Roscoe caught a corner perfectly on the volley, and it flew beyond Connor Roberts and into the back of the net. It was a cruel blow for the Citizens who were much improved in the second period. A late Gary Taylor-Fletcher goal and a red card for Joel Edwards gave the Citizens a glimmer of hope, but in the end it was too late for Bangor to make a comeback, and the Students were celebrating a good home win to continue their unbeaten start to the season.
Connah’s Quay Nomads 3-1 Carmarthen Town
Connah’s Quay Nomads welcomed Carmarthen to the Deeside Stadium for this match, and the hosts were in the driving seat from the start, as in-form Ryan Wignall beat the full back on the left wing, before unleashing a venomous shot that was destined for the top right corner cleared off the line by Lee Surman. Connah’s Quay continued to test the Old Gold, and Carmarthen had the woodwork to thank in the 34th minute as Matty Owen’s low shot struck the post. 2 minutes later, Ryan Wignall went close, cutting in from the right wing, only for Idzi to parry the ball out for a corner. The resulting corner was cleared as far as Mike Pearson, who hit a long cross back into the area, which found Michael Wilde, whose header fell kindly for Callum Morris to fire past Lee Idzi as the Nomads finally broke the deadlock.
After the half time interval, the Nomads continued their domination, and had a second goal just 10 minutes after the break, when Michael Wilde fired in after a goalmouth scramble. In the 70th minute Carmarthen got a lifeline when Lewis Harling won the ball, before playing a neat one-two with Liam Thomas, and firing into the top corner to reduce the arrears and to give the Old Gold a chance. However, any hope Carmarthen had of getting something from the game was disappeared late on when Matty Williams scored in the 88th minute to seal the win for the Nomads.
Aberystwyth Town 0-2 Llandudno
Llandudno came up with the 3 points in this match, as Nev Powell’s Aberystwyth side fell to their first defeat of the season. Aberystwyth started the better of the two teams, and went close when Cledan Davies’ inswinging corner beat Dave Roberts, only for Danny Taylor to head the ball off the line. Llandudno had a chance of their own moments later, but Ryan Edwards fired off target from a tight angle after great work down the left wing by James Joyce and Toby Jones.
The second half started slowly, with both teams struggling to create any meaningful chances, but that all changed in the 55th minute when a hopeful long ball up field by Danny Hughes found Toby Jones, who’s header into the area ended up being headed over the keeper by Danny Shaw. Shaw was instrumental in the win, turning saviour in the 76th minute to intercept George Kellaway who’d rounded the keeper. With Aberystwyth desperately trying to find an equaliser, and Llandudno looking to double their advantage, it was a tense final 10 minutes, until Danny Hughes struck a long shot into the bottom corner to secure the 3 points for the visitors.
Newtown 1-1 Cefn Druids
Newtown started this game brightly, with James Murphy’s shot being deflected wide in the opening minute of the match. Newtown went close again just a minute later, when Jamie Reed flicked Rushton’s cross just wide of the near post. However, Cefn Druids found themselves given a penalty in the 12th minute, when James Murphy failed to clear, before catching Nathan Peate who went down. Ashley Ruane made no mistake from the spot, and Druids found themselves 1-0 up completely against the run of play. Thing went from bad to worse for Newtown, as James Murphy had to receive oxygen after a bad looking injury shortly after. Newtown pushed forward for an equaliser, but to no avail, and it remained 1-0 to Cefn Druids at half time.
The first chance in the second half fell to Rushton, but his shot from the edge of the area flew off target. It remained a tight game of few chances until the 86th minute, when Nick Rushton scored following a goalmouth scramble, as Newtown rescued a point.
Prestatyn Town 1-0 Barry Town United
It was a tense game between the two newly promoted sides in Prestatyn, with very little to pick between the two teams. The first real talking point in the match happened when a heavy tackle from Ryan Newman left Zyaac Edwards needing treatment as tempers flared between the two teams. Newman received a booking for the challenge, with teammate Troy Greening and Prestatyn Town captain Michael Parker receiving bookings for their role in the fracas that followed. James Stead went close with a snapshot for the hosts, but his shot flew just wide. Kayne Mclaggon then had the best chance for the visitors, but his long range effort was put behind by a good save from Carl Jones.
The second half was much the same as the first, with neither team having any real clear cut chances. Barry Town had a chance to get into the lead when TJ Nagi chased a hopeless long ball forward, managing to get there ahead of the Prestatyn defender, before rounding the keeper, but his pass for Mclaggon was cleared by Stead. Barry Town had another chance shortly after, but Newman’s shot flew over the bar after Mclaggon’s shot was parried into his path by Jones. Barry would live to regret those missed opportunities however, as Michael Parker smashed home the winner for Prestatyn in the 92nd minute to guarantee the points for the hosts.