Author: Dafydd Jones
Publisher: Y Clwb Pêl Droed
Summer recruits made the difference for The New Saints as they bounced back from their first defeat of the season with a 4-0 win over Newtown at Latham Park.
After Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Connah’s Quay Nomads, the Saints put in an impressive display as first-half goals from Louis Robles and Ryan Astles, both provided by Leo Smith, put the visitors in command.
Adrian Cieslewicz’ superb curling effort in the second-half added a third for the Saints, while Ben Clark’s emphatic late finish saw the Saints get back to winning ways.
Scott Ruscoe, celebrating his birthday today, saw his side go three points clear at the top of the Cymru Premier table, having played a game more than their title rivals.
Despite a battling performance from Newtown, the Robins succumb to their eighth loss of the season and are now tenth in the table.
In a lively start from both sides, the first opportunity fell to The New Saints’ Adrian Cieslewicz, who tried his luck from outside the area, but fired wide.
Hughes’ Newtown appealed for a penalty early in the contest, as James Davies claimed he was held back in the box. Protests were waived away by referee Nicholas Pratt.
The Saints could have gone ahead through a perfect delivery from captain Chris Marriott, but was headed over by defender Ryan Harrington.
Newtown, who competed well in the early proceedings, created a chance of their own, as the ball fell to James O’Neill on the edge of the box, but the defender fired over the bar.
Ruscoe’s summer signings proved their worth, as The New Saints took the lead in the 29th minute.
Playmaker Leo Smith delivered a dangerous cross from the corner and Louis Robles headed home for his ninth goal of the season.
The Robins responded well to falling behind and went close to finding an instant reply.
Striker Jamie Breese was played in, only to be denied by a fantastic last-ditch tackle by Ryan Astles.
Having taken the lead through Robles, the Saints then pushed for a second, with Leo Smith going close with a powerful effort saved well by Dave Jones.
Ruscoe’s side weren’t to be denied however, as another summer signing got on the scoresheet to double the lead.
Leo Smith’s free-kick delivery was headed powerfully into the bottom corner by Ryan Astles, who netted his first goal for the club, ensuring The New Saints went into the break with a 2-0 lead.
The visitors found the perfect start to the second-half, as they found a third goal just a minute after the interval.
Striker Greg Draper let the ball run out to the left for Adrian Cieslewicz, who curled superbly into the top corner to add the third.
The Saints could have gone further ahead with Draper involved again, who headed down for Smith to fire at goal, only to be denied by Dave Jones.
Newtown had a huge opportunity to reduce the deficit when James Davies raced through on goal, but his shot was saved by Paul Harrison.
Ruscoe’s men controlled possession and looked to add to their lead, as Leo Smith ran in-behind and squared to Draper, who was again denied by Jones.
Despite the away side’s lead, the Robins continued to battle, forcing saves out of Harrison through Tyrone Ofori and Nick Rushton late in the contest.
In the dying minutes, Adrian Cieslewicz found space on the left-wing to square for Ben Clark, who emphatically fired home to add a fourth for the Saints.
The scoreline would have been heavier had it not been for the performance of Newtown goalkeeper Dave Jones, who produced a string of fine saves for the Robins.
The New Saints return to action on Saturday, as they host Penybont, while Newtown face a trip to Caernarfon Town on Friday night.
Newtown: Dave Jones, Jack Kelly (Jordan Evans 52’), Sean McAllister (Matty Williams 68’), Kieran Mills-Evans, James O’Neill, Nick Rushton, Jamie Breese, James Davies (Tyrone Ofori 68’), Craig Williams (C), Ryan Edwards, George Hughes
Yellow Cards: Nick Rushton 23’
The New Saints: Paul Harrison, Chris Marriott (C) (Kwame Boateng 65’), Jon Routledge, Greg Draper, Danny Redmond, Adrian Cieslewicz, Ryan Harrington, Ryan Astles (Keston Davies 78’), Louis Robles (Jamie Mullan 65’), Ben Clark, Leo Smith
Goals: Louis Robles 29’, Ryan Astles 44’, Adrian Cieslewicz 46’, Ben Clark 90+3
Yellow Cards: Leo Smith 23’
(Featured Image: Dafydd Jones)