Last night the 16th March Druids played out a tough match against TNS in which our opponents showed their class and were clinical in front of goal, eventually running out 5-0 winners.
We did decide to rotate part of our squad due to a heavy schedule of fixtures since the restart. Jacob Wise came in at centre half with Jonny Taylor and further academy graduates getting valuable minutes as the game progressed. TNS were looking for a reaction after their shock loss to Haverfordwest AFC on Saturday and started the game with a very high intensity, aiming to get at our goal straight away. They broke the deadlock within 5 minutes after a TNS fullback got down our left-hand side and delivered a low cross for forward Dean Ebbe, who’s first time strike went under the oncoming Michael Jones, into the Druids goal.
TNS showed no signs of slowing down, continuing to press forward as we aimed to stay organised defensively and catch our opponents out on the counter. We looked solid for the next period as TNS tried to break us down. However, on 26 minutes, a strike from the left-hand side was saved and parried away well by Jones, however the ball somehow bobbled passed all of our players in the box and a TNS forward pounced on it and smashed his effort into the roof of the net, making it 2-0. Our defence can feel disappointed that no one got there first to clear it away. Matters only got worse from this point as they had another shortly after. A clever through ball, split our defence open, leaving Ebbe 1 on 1 with Jones, and he dinked his effort over the keeper to make it 3-0.
It took 3 goals for Druids to finally wake up and this was the period we began threatening the opposition’s goal. A mistake from a TNS centre half left Druids forward Niall Flint through 1 on 1, he showed great pace to get there before the defence recovered, but his low strike was saved well by the oncoming TNS keeper. Two minutes later we had another massive chance. Charley Edge did well down our right-hand side and delivered a low cross to Sam Phillips who had made a darting run into the box. He met the cross first time, but his strike whistled just past the post. Two massive chances not taken for Druids which could have given us some much needed momentum. We had a few more half chances with shots from outside the box after this period, however TNS were dominating possession and created a few good chances themselves but were unable to convert. We went into halftime 3-0 down.
Druids made a substitution at this point with Jonny Taylor coming on for Niall Flint for his first league appearance since the restart. The second half start slower than the first with not much to report early on. But TNS eventually worked the ball towards our goal and attempted to deliver a cross into the box. It was blocked by a Druid midfielder, however the referee deemed him to have blocked it with his hand and awarded a penalty to TNS. It was converted to make it 4-0. Druids had some solid spells of possession following this and worked their way into the game a bit. Just before the hour mark, TNS were awarded another penalty after a collision in our box. Jones did very well though, guessing the right way and saving the strike to keep it at 4-0. Druids began to make use of the allowed five substitutions and brought on academy graduates Harry Fuller and Kieran Smith which was great to see. Ben Barratt also got some valuable minutes after a lengthy knee injury.
Fifteen minutes from time, TNS had their fifth. A turnover in midfield left them breaking quickly on our goal and club record signing Adam Roscrow got off the mark for his new club with a low strike into the corner. Druids created a few good attacks following this but there was not much else to report as the game winded down and eventually finished 5-0 to TNS.
The positives were that some players waiting for their chance got valuable minutes into the legs against very good opposition. TNS were clinical and showed a lot of energy throughout the game. Druids will be disappointed as a few of the goals were preventable with a bit more communication and organisation. We were also unable to convert the chances that we did eventually create for ourselves, and an opponent like TNS will always punish you for this.
We must look forward now for a massive game away at Cardiff Met on Saturday, which Druids will be looking to pick up some all-important points before the split.
We keep going!
More than just a football club.