Dafabet Welsh Premier League
By David Figg
THE NEW Saints’ winning record came to an end on Saturday as they were held to a draw in a six-goal thriller a Newtown in the final game of the first phase league games.
The Robins, often tricky opponents for Craig Harrison’s side, grabbed a dramatic late equaliser for Newtown to earn a share of the spoils in a pulsating encounter.
The first chance came Newtown’s way in the seventh minute, when Jamie Price's low driven ball from the left of midfield eventually found Nick Rushton – but his effort was deflected wide for a corner.
Ten minutes later, the Robins came close again as Stef Edwards’s cross found Jason Oswell in the six-yard box, but TNS cleared the danger.
The hosts’ early pressure paid off on 20 minutes as they took a shock lead, Neil Mitchell bundling home after Alex Fletcher’s corner was headed on to the post from six yards out.
Saints looked to level immediately, and on 24 minutes, Aeron Edwards was one-on-one with David Jones, the Robins’ keeper, but his effort was forced out for a corner.
A minute later, Ryan Brobbel’s corner fell to Alex Darlington, but he failed to control his effort from 18 yards out.
The visitors grabbed their leveller on 29 minutes. Edwards’s effort was saved by Jones, and Darlington atoned for his earlier miss by tapping home from six yards.
New Zealand international Greg Draper gave the Saints the lead he converted Ryan Price’s low cross from the right from six yards out.
However, Newtown came back strong and in the last action of the half on 41 minutes, Rushton thought he had legitimate claims for a penalty as he clashed with Chris Marriott, but the ref said no.
Marriott was in the action again straight after the break, but his low left-footed effort was deflected wide for a corner just a minute into the second half.
Saints extended their lead on 50 minutes, as Adrian Cieslewski sent in a splendid curling strike from 20 yards out in to Jones’s left corner.
Saints rung the changes on 67 minutes, with Jamie Mullan and Scott Quigley replacing Brobel and Draper respectively, and Newtown came close to getting a foot back in the game.
On 81 minutes, they did pull a goal back, when Rushton fired home after reacting quickest to a Paul Harrison save, but Saints had more chances to put the game out of sight.
However, the dramatic twist was to come as Oswell was fouled by Steve Saunders, and Price stepped up to curl in a fine left-footed free-kick in-off Harrison’s post, leaving the home fans celebrating.