The JD Welsh Premier League ended 2017 with a bang in matchweek 20, as Newtown AFC pulled off a big upset against Champions The New Saints.
Elsewhere, Connah’s Quay were held by Druids and Bala edged past Prestatyn.
TNS 2-4 Newtown AFC
Newtown AFC secured one of the results of the season so far, as they stunned TNS with a 4-2 victory at Park Hall.
The match had it all, as TNS went 2-0 up thanks to goals from Greg Draper and Jamie Mullan before Newtown’s Ryan Sears sparked Newtown’s comeback with a goal.
The last quarter of the first half contained lots of attacking play from the Robins as they sought an equaliser, which indeed came via Luke Bounford in the 42nd minute.
TNS’ frustration at the scoreline showed as Robbie Parry was sent off for dissent on the stroke of half time.
Although the hosts looked to retake control in the second half, Newtown fought valiantly as they sensed a big opportunity to claim a rare away win at Park Hall.
Luke Boundford sent Newtown ahead with a drastic diving header on 73 minutes, before Nick Rushton sealed victory for Chris Hughes’ side as he hit the Saints on the break to score.
The result will be a hard one to take for TNS, who had the opportunity to increase the gap at the top between themselves and Connah’s Quay, who were held to a draw by Cefn Druids.
Connah’s Quay Nomads 1-1 Cefn Druids
After defeating Druids 1-0 away from home on Boxing Day, Connah’s Quay came into this game as favourites, but Druids earned a draw as they fight for top six qualification.
Michael Bakare headed home for Nomads after half an hour, but their lead was short-lived as James Davies cut through the Quay’s back line to ensure the score was level at the break.
Druids had two major chances to go ahead in the second half. When they were awarded a penalty, Ashley Ruane stepped up but lifted the spot kick over the goal.
Jonathan Taylor then sent a header from six yards out wide of the Nomads’ goal, as Druids pushed hard for a winner.
A second goal never came for either side, but the point is enough to keep Druids in the fight for top six, where Barry Town are their main opponents.
Bala Town 1-0 Prestatyn Town
Bala Town kept up their good form and applied pressure on the likes of Bangor and Connah’s Quay with a late 1-0 victory over struggling Prestatyn Town.
In the first half both sides rued poor finishing, as Mike Hayes went close for Bala and Ben Maher of Prestatyn had a chance from 10 yards out blocked.
The closest goal scoring opportunity in the second half fell to Bala as Prestatyn didn’t clear their lines and were fortunate not to score an own goal as a Prestatyn header rattled the away side’s crossbar.
Just as the game looked like it would finish as a stalemate, Bala were given a penalty in the 89th minute which was converted by star man Chris Venables.
The result leaves Prestatyn in the relegation zone for the end of 2017, as Bala stay fourth ready for a tough phase two campaign.
Cardiff Met 3-0 Barry Town
Cardiff Met reaped revenge for their Boxing Day defeat at Barry by romping to a 3-0 win against their derby rivals.
In front of a 500-strong crowd, Jordan Lam sent the home side ahead after just six minutes with a low shot past Barry keeper Mike Lewis.
Just four minutes later Cardiff inflicted further damage upon Barry, who were struggling to get going. Eliot Evans scored from a cross to ensure the Students had a strong lead at half time.
Barry did threaten via the likes of Kayne McLaggon, but Christian Edwards’ tactical prowess showed as his side withstood the pressure.
Ten minutes from time Cardiff sealed the victory with Lam’s second of the game, which came through a curling shot after a counter attack move.
The result further maintains Cardiff’s status as a top table side, whilst putting Barry in a tight race for that final sixth place before the phase one split.
Bangor 0-1 Llandudno
This game looked set for a goalless draw, the second in a week between the sides, but a moment of both magic and madness gave the points to Llandudno in a major win for Iwan Williams’ side.
In the 90th minute, Marc Williams ran at Bangor keeper Matthew Hall, whose clearance deflected off Williams and looped high into the Bangor net.
The win for Llandudno sees them come right back into the race for the top six, which will make for an intriguing final two matchdays before phase one comes to an end.
Bangor will be frustrated to come out of the festive fixtures with a meagre one point, as they had the opportunity to go into second in the table on Monday night.
Aberystwyth 1-2 Carmarthen Town
Aberystwyth fell to defeat as Carmarthen Town did the double over them on Monday. This game also had crazy goals, as the first of 2018 was scored by none other than Carmarthen Town keeper Lee Idzi.
In the 66th minute, a big clearance kick from Idzi took off with the wind and beat his counterpart Mullock to loop into the goal.
Sensing their chances to mount a climb up the table, Carmarthen held onto the scoreline before Liam Griffiths scored another on 90 minutes.
An injury time goal from Aberystwyth’s Matthew Jones was the final action of the game, but it will have done little to better the mood at Park Avenue as they were left with no points from their double fixture.
Carmarthen’s wins mean they are now just six points from safety in the table as it stands. Is this the start of Carmarthen’s fightback from relegation status? Keep up all with all the action here at Y Clwb Pel Droed.
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