Neil Gibson Salutes Nomads’ Spirit After They End Treble Dream Of The New Saints

Connah's Quay Nomads players celebrate their 2-1 JD Welsh Cup Final triumph over The New Saints. Pic. Connah's Quay Nomads FC.

Neil Gibson Salutes Nomads’ Spirit After They End Treble Dream Of The New Saints

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By David Parsons

Neil Gibson was full of praise for his Connah’s Quay Nomads teams after they ended The New Saints’ dream of the treble by winning the Welsh Cup Final, 2-1.

That vision – which included going unbeaten in domestic matches in Wales – went up in smoke as Josh Williams produced a wonder goal to earn the Nomads their second JD Welsh Cup triumph.

Five times this season the Nomads have had to play second fiddle to the JD Cymru Premier champions and Nathaniel MG Cup winners, but they somehow found a way to do the seemingly impossible and take the title off the holders.

TNS were seeking to go level with Swansea City as the third most successful side in the age-old tournament with 10 wins and were hoping to become the first team to win the title four times in a row since Cardiff City won five on the trot in 1967-71.

Having won 27 games in a row in all domestic competitions this season, and only been held to two draws in their 34 league and cup games in Wales, the Saints seemed all set for a crowning glory at the end of a remarkable campaign.

They also reached the final of the SPFL Trust Trophy, where they were beaten 2-1 by Airdrieonians.

Now, they will have to lick their wounds and prepare for another Champions League qualifying campaign coming up in July.

The Nomads will also be heading back into Europe this summer on the back of their second place finish in the league.

“It’s hard to put it into words what this means. I don’t think some of our players and staff have had the credit they deserve this season,” said Nomads boss Gibson.

“I’ve lost my voice and I can barely breathe. The boys were simply magnificent, as you have to be to beat TNS.

“We deserved to be in the lead in the first half and we managed to weather the storm in the second half.”

TNS manager Craig Harrison said: “It’s not the way we want to end any season.

“We wanted to finish it with a victory and a treble in an undefeated domestic season but it wasn’t to be and we’ve narrowly got beat today.

“It’s still raw, we’re really disappointed. In the first half, we weren’t great and that is where we lost the game.

“We’ve had a great season it just would have been perfect had we finished with a Welsh Cup and a treble. It’s not to be. Congratulations to Connah’s Quay.”

Both teams took time to settle down on a blustery and sunny afternoon at Rodney Parade and the opening 20 minutes was pretty much a stalemate. But then the game exploded into action, with end to end action and goals to savour.

TNS thought they had hit the front when Ash Baker fired home, but his goal was ruled out for offside. The Nomads heaved a sigh of relief and very quickly replied with a goal of their own.

Declan Poole supplied the cross from the right and Harry Franklin swept the ball home from the edge of the six yard box with his shin.

That gave the underdogs the lead just past the half-hour mark, but they didn’t stay in front for long.

Back came the Cup holders and four minutes later Baker did get on the scoresheet as he ran across the back four from right to left to head home a superb cross from the left by Danny Redmond.

Nomads boss Gibson claimed before the game his side had worked on a plan to upset the odds, but not in his wildest dreams could he have envisaged seeing his side take the lead again with a goal of the outstanding quality as produced by Josh Williams.

It came moments after Jack Kenny had wasted a golden opportunity to restore the lead for the Nomads when through, one-on-one, with the goalkeeper. But when Williams got his chance he took it in style.

A deep cross was headed down to him near the penalty spot and he produced a scissors kick that saw the ball fly into the top left corner. It was a goal worthy of winning any game at any level.

That came five minutes before the break and forced TNS to change their shape and up their game.

Manager Craig Harrison brought on old heads Adrian Cieslewicz and then Ryan Bobbel early in the second half and they played a huge part in giving their side greater energy.

The second half was dominated by TNS as they pressed for the equaliser, but it simply wouldn’t come – even with eight minutes of added time.

The Nomads’ box may have resembled the Alamo in the final 20 minutes, but they held firm to notch one of their club’s greatest victories.

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