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JD Cymru Premier: Weekend Round-Up (18th & 19th)

One of the main reasons The New Saints have been the dominant club in Welsh domestic football for so many years has been the high standards they set.

They may win, but they won’t be satisfied unless they feel they are improving.

So it proved again at the weekend as the Saints earned a 1-0 home win over Newtown in the JD Cymru Premier Championship Conference.

The victory may have proven the Saints were not as vulnerable as some thought after losing for the first time this season last time out against Cardiff Met, but TNS skipper Chris Marriott was far from content.

“We were good in the first-half and probably should have had a few more goals. Then we got a little bit sloppy and Newtown, as they always do, made it difficult for us,” said Marriott.

“We’ll take the three points and move on to Penybont next week. We were disappointed to lose last weekend, so it was good to get back to winning ways.

“It doesn’t matter when we win the title, we just want to win every game. We want to stay on it for the Welsh Cup and leading into Europe – we have to stay professional and do things right.”

It was Marriott who created the only goal of the game at Park Hall, scored by defender Ryan Astles.

It came just before half-time as Astles headed home an inch-perfect Marriott cross.

That allowed TNS to move 17 points clear at the top of the JD Cymru Championship Conference.

Craig Harrison’s side had been rocked by a 3-2 defeat at Cardiff Met the previous weekend, their first defeat of the league campaign, and were delighted to get back on track, although it wasn’t easy.

They had already beaten Newtown 4-1 in the league and 7-0 in the HD Welsh Cup at Park Hall this season but had to make do with that sole Astles goal this time around.

The champions are now only eight points away from securing a record-breaking 15th title after second place Connah’s Quay Nomads could only manage a 1-1 home draw with Bala Town.

It might have been a lot worse for the Nomads, who played with 10 men for nearly an hour.

Jack Kenny put the hosts ahead after 14 minutes but they then saw Harry Franklin sent off on 36 minutes for a badly mis-timed sliding tackle.

Bala eventually made their numerical advantage tell when Adam Roscrow grabbed the equaliser 14 minutes from time with a stunning free-kick.

But the visitors couldn’t force a winner and both sides had to settle for a point, meaning The New Saints increased their lead to 17 points.

A week on from inflicting that defeat on the Saints, Cardiff Met fell to a 2-1 defeat at Penybont on Friday night.

Substitute Ryan Reynolds opened the scoring three minutes before the break and Nathan Wood sealed the win with an 89th-minute penalty.

Emlyn Lewis’ goal in the eighth minute of time added on proved to be only a consolation as the hosts leapfrogged Cardiff Met to claim third place in the JD Cymru Premier Championship Conference.

Meanwhile, the misery continued for winless Airbus UK Broughton in the Play Off Conference as they were beaten 2-0 at home by Caernarfon Town.

Robert Hughes broke the deadlock from the penalty spot on 67 minutes before Josef Faux got the second seven minutes later.

Haverfordwest County beat Flint Town 3-1, with Rhys Abbruzzese setting County on their way with the opener in the sixth minute.

 Jordan Davies doubled the Bluebirds’ advantage inside a quarter of an hour with his 10th league goal of the season.

Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro pulled one back for Flint five minutes before half-time, but Ben Fawcett sealed the win for the Bluebirds with a third goal in the sixth minute of time added on at the death.

If you were banking on a high scoring contest, the best place to look proved Aberytswyth Town and Pontypridd United who shared the points after a six-goal thriller at Park Avenue.

Remarkably, there were no goals at Aberystwyth until David Evans put the hosts ahead two minutes before half-time.

Mark Cadwallader made it 2-0 on 73 minutes before a crazy finale.

Owain Jones pulled one back for Pontypridd nine minutes from time before Cadwallader restored the hosts’ two-goal advantage and seemingly settled the match on 87 minutes.

But trailing 3-1 as the seconds ticked down, Pontypridd refused to lie down. They were rewarded for their spirit as Tom Davies made it 3-2 on 89 minutes and David Vincent levelled the match in the fifth minute of injury time.

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