New Saints show their class as they edge past Archers in Nathaniel MG Cup Final

The New Saints are Champions of the Nathaniel MG Cup for a ninth time, after seeing off the challenge of a battling Cardiff Metropolitan side. 

Welsh Premier League leaders The New Saints squared off against Cardiff Metropolitan University this Saturday in the final of the Nathaniel MG Cup, as the Archers looked to cause an upset and grab their first cup victory in the club’s history.

The game started brightly for the league leaders, as within the first three minutes they had found themselves with an opportunity from a corner.

The ball was floated towards the back post by Ryan Brobbel, finding a leaping Connell Rawlinson who watched in agony as his header was narrowly cleared off the line by defender Kyle McCarthy.

Only five minutes later the Saints were in on goal once more, as Chris Marriot burst forward down the wing to find himself with a great opportunity, however his ball through to Alex Darlington bounced around and narrowly missed the foot of the outstretched forward, with the chance going wide despite only being a yard out from the net.

[/media-credit] The New Saints winger Jamie Mullan on the ball as he looks to break Met down.

Cardiff Met struggled to find an outlet within the first half, and the Saints continued to pile on the pressure when in the 15th minute Rawlinson once again found a headed opportunity, however, his looping effort was well tipped over by stopper Will Fuller.

Alex Darlington was heavily involved for The New Saints throughout the first period and looked to have provided a certain goal in the 19th minute when he found a free Aeron Edwards within the penalty area, but another bobble meant that his effort was blasted high and wide.

Cardiff Met looked to counter quickly against TNS but were unable to sustain any pressure throughout most of the first half, but Dan Spencer thought he had given the underdogs the lead after he calmly slotted home a through ball from Eliot Evans, but was left in shock as the goal was ruled out for offside.

Second half began with more of the same, as TNS provided a display of sheer dominance in terms of possession, whizzing the ball around freely between Cardiff Met’s back line.

The first clear opportunity of the second period came in the 54th minute when Aeron Edwards found himself with virtually an open net from within the six-yard-box but blasted his effort over the crossbar after he failed to judge the cross from Simon Spender.

[/media-credit] (Image: Matthew Lofthouse)

The deadlock was finally broken in the 63rd minute of time, when Alex Darlington collected the ball just on the edge of the area, slotting through the overlapping Jamie Mullan who blasted the ball high into the corner of Will Fuller’s net, leaving the keeper stranded and giving his side the advantage.

Darlington’s heavy involvement almost paid off shortly after, as a ball floated in found the TNS forwards in acres of space, but his thunderous volley clattered against the post, denying him once more.

The Archers were presented with the opportunity to equalise as they were awarde a free-kick in a prime position, after Hope was fouled by Hudson. Dylan Rees stepped up to take it but Harrison clutched it with ease.

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Whilst Cardiff Met did push for an equaliser towards the tail end of the affair, they were ultimately unable to find the crucial goal, leaving The New Saints victorious and holders of the Nathaniel MG Cup.

(Featured Image: Matthew Lofthouse)


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