The New Saints 3 (M Williams 20, Edwards 23, C Jones 75)
Bangor City 2 (C Jones 3 & 85)
Welsh Premier League – March 19, 2011
This end-to-end title battle played on this date 10 years ago saw Bangor beaten by the odd goal.
The result saw the full-timers of TNS edge to three points behind City, but with a game in hand, clearly leaving much to play for at both clubs in the coming weeks.
As Paul Smith was not fit Chris Oldfield continued in goal for the visitors and marked his second full start with a series of fine saves.
But he was a spectator in the early exchanges as City went close twice in the opening two minutes and scored in the third.
Former blue Chris Seargeant was lucky to escape any form of punishment following his two-footed lunge on Craig Garside and seconds later Paul Harrison was on hand to field Nicky Ward’s free kick.
Les Davies chased through on the left but Harrison rushed out to clear,
In the third minute the former Southport stopper was helpless as Chris Jones drove home from the edge of the box after Richie Partridge spooned his attempted clearance to the former Leeds striker. The initial confusion was caused by Peter Hoy’s booming throw from the left.
TNS rallied. Alex Darlington was in on goal but Oldfield denied him, with a little help from Michael Johnston.
On 20 minutes the home side drew level as a long throw from the right was gathered by former Rhyl favourite Matty Williams and hooked past Oldfield from close range.
Soon after TNS had the lead. Richie Partridge saw his shot saved by Oldfield but Aeron Edwards was on hand to prod home from five yards.
End-to-end action and some fierce tackles made up the rest of the half.
Half-time: TNS 2 Bangor 1
Ten minutes after the restart a dreadful back-pass from Phil Baker on the left sent Chris Jones into the box but he was eased off the ball by keeper Harrison and the chance went.
Young Oldfield kept City in the game on the hour with a double save from Darlington from the right, both at close range, before City countered with a deep cross from Chris Roberts but Les Davies headed over. Next up Oldfield saved well again, this time from Seargeant.
In the 71st minute TNS manager Mike Davies was sent to the stand by referee Lee Evans for contesting a decision.
With 15 minutes left the outstanding Craig Jones seemed to have settled the issue with a fine solo run and finish from the left which saw him weave past Johnston and beat Oldfield with a well placed shot.
A final throw of the dice by Bangor boss Nev Powell saw Mark Smyth and Mike Jukes on for Davies and Bull.
With eight minutes remaining Smyth snuck in behind the Saints defence but fired over and then Chris Jones was clear on goal to the left but Harrison saved with his feet.
Five minutes to go and Ward’s shot was blocked, handball and free kick on the edge of the box. Morley fired low and Harrison could only palm the ball upwards for Chris Jones to head home from point blank range. Game on.
In the dying stages, Morley slid Hoy in on the right but Harrison pushed his shot away for a corner. Keeper Oldfield joined the hopefuls in the hosts box but Ward’s shot was gathered by Harrison and that was that.
Battle won by TNS but City were to win the war, being crowned champions six weeks later after pipping Saints 1-0 at Farrar Road.
TNS: Paul Harrison, Danny Holmes, Chris Marriott, Phil Baker, Scott Ruscoe, Aeron Edwards, Chris Seargeant, Craig Jones, Matty Williams, Alex Darlington (Chris Sharp 63), Richie Partridge (Jamie Wood 87).
Bangor: Chris Oldfield, Peter Hoy, Chris Roberts, Dave Morley, James Brewerton, Michael Johnston, Chris Jones, Alan Bull (Michael Jukes 78), Les Davies (Mark Smyth 79), Craig Garside (Eddie Jebb 66), Nicky Ward.