Narrow Defeat At Welsh Champions
Llandudno Suffer First Loss At Hands Of The New Saints
Llandudno travelled to Park Hall on Friday night with what was arguably their biggest test of the season so far against the current Welsh Champions The New Saints.
It was a relatively quick start to the game with the hosts expectedly keeping possession well in the early minutes of the game and trying to put Llandudno on to the back foot from the off. Llandudno did well to keep TNS at bay for the early moments of the game but unfortunately The New Saints pressure paid off in the tenth minute when they win the ball on the edge of the box and pick out Chris Seargeant who made a late run and placed an effort back across Robert’s goal and in to the corner. 0-1.
It was all how Llandudno responded now after conceding the early goal and to their credit they didn’t let it affect them, however the pressure continued as the hosts looked for an early second and Dave Roberts was quickly called in to action and produced a good save from Jon Routledge.
Sam Hart, Mike Williams, and Danny Shaw all then had to produce some last ditch defending in successive minutes to keep the score down to just the one goal and see out the spell of sustained pressure.
First break for Llandudno came from a brilliant delivery from Dave Roberts as he picked out Ryan Edwards in the opposing half who took the ball down well and attacked the defence of TNS beating his man and earning Town a free kick out wide. Toby Jones delivered a good ball in to the area and it’s met by Hart who climbs highest but it’s looped just over.
Some good play then from Llandudno as they work an opening in midfield for the first time in the game and Edwards attacks the space cutting in and has a go from range but it’s blocked before it can reach Harrison’s goal.
With nearly half an hour now played Llandudno were growing in confidence and were beginning to see more of the ball, a good move between Danny Hughes and Lee Thomas resulted in space opening up for Joyce down the left hand side and his delivery is put out for a corner. Another opportunity for Llandudno to put the ball in to The New Saints box and it’s whipped in to the edge of the 6 yard box causing problems for the hosts, with both teams battling to try and connect cleanly with the ball it falls to Mike Williams on the edge of the area who take a touch and volleys an effort goal-wards but it’s a yard over from the centre half.
Llandudno now playing some good football with Danny Hughes talismanic in midfield and this time he looks to set Toby Jones away, however his well-timed run is deemed offside by the officials.
It’s Hughes again on the ball next but this time he makes an opportunity for himself and strikes one from 22 yards, it’s on target but there’s not quite enough on it to trouble Harrison too much.
The last action of the half fell to the hosts as they break quickly from the back following Llandudno’s spell of pressure, Wes Fletcher is in on goal only to be denied brilliantly by Dave Robert’s feet as he rushes out and spreads himself wide.
The New Saints 1 - 0 Llandudno
Both teams returned unchanged for the second half and although Llandudno looked to go on the attack early, it was the hosts who sustained a lot of pressure again for the opening quarter of an hour with Dave Roberts twice called in to action and produced some great handling after an effort was driven hard at him from inside the box, and then denied Adrian Cieslewicz who made a good run and looked to finish in to the corner but it was saved well again by the Town stopper.
The hosts sustain the pressure on Llandudno as they desperately seek that second goal to put the tie to bed but Town do well to frustrate them. The New Saints thought they’d found that chance as Roberts is beaten for only the second time in the match, but it’s Mike Williams this time with the save as he makes a great sliding challenge to offset the ball past the post.
With Llandudno still in the tie with just under 20 minutes to go Shaun Cavanagh and Sam Ilesanmi are introduced to the game in the hope that Llandudno can snatch an equaliser, and the two lively forwards had a positive effect as they attacked The New Saints defence, and Ilesanmi drove powerfully past a couple of defenders before being stopped in his tracks on the edge of the hosts box with angle tight. Ryan Edwards with the opportunity to take the free kick but it’s blazed well over on a night that wasn’t to be for Town.
In the remaining minutes Llandudno pressed The New Saints hard who had to put every man in their defending half to try and soak up the pressure and made it difficult for Town to create a real goalscoring opportunity that was required to find an equaliser.
The New Saints 1 - 0 Llandudno