Crusaders 1-2 Connah’s Quay Nomads – Resilient Nomads secure friendly victory
Connah’s Quay Nomads continued their Europa League preparations with victory over NIFL Premiership champions Crusaders.
The Nomads qualified for the second tier European competition through winning the Welsh Cup winners, whilst they clashed with the NIFL Premiership and County Antrim shield champions in what proved to be a great advert for Northern Irish and Welsh football. Today’s friendly also served as perfect preparation for both sides ahead of their European clashes with Ludogrets Razgard and Shakhtoyr Soligorsk respectively.
The first ten minutes of the clash were thoroughly entertaining. Providing two early goals; Jordan Forsythe opened up the scoring with a lovely low finish into the bottom corner, played through after a series of passes with teammate David Cushley in the first five minutes. However, Crusaders’ lead lasted only a mere matter of minutes when Connah’s Quay Nomads were awarded a penalty in the seventh minute. Andy Owen was brought down by Howard Beverland; Midfielder Callum Morris rattled home the equaliser making the score 1-1 before halftime.
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The first half proved a real tough and physical game. Andy King of the Nomads proved a headache for the Crusaders back line to deal with; King’s link-up play was immense, linking up nicely with Michael Bakare. The dynamic attackers always looked dangerous when on the attack. Crusaders did come close in the last 10 minutes of the first half when David Cushley tested the Nomads goal with a low free-kick which was palmed away by number 1 John Danby.
Both teams looked cautious in the opening stages of the second half with fewer chances being created, but still providing an entertaining watch. Crusaders started to play more expansive and open football in the second half, utilising fullbacks Billy Joe Burns and Rodney Brown; who looked a constant threat on the wing.
The introduction of Gavin Whyte also proved a headache for the Nomads. Whyte showed a series of impressive runs and passes, stretching the Connah’s Quay backline. Almost scoring after a blunder from Nomad’s number 1. Danby who rushed off his goal line to clear his lines, resulting in a blunder which Whyte was unlucky to score from. Michael Bakare scored after link-up play from King once again, hitting Crusaders on the break and making the score 2-1 to the Nomads.
Today’s result gave the Welsh side their first win from three consecutive seasons of travelling to Northern Ireland and a well-deserved one at that. Debutant Harry Doherty who replaced Sean O’Neill at the start of the second half in goal for Crusaders looked very impressive and looked to possess all the attributes a manager looks for in a sweeper keeper with his passes and long balls from the box.
Crusaders starting 11: 1. Sean O’Neill, 2. Billy Joe Burns, 6. Colin Coates, 4. Howard Beverland, 20. Rodney Brown, 14.Jordan Forsythe, 10.Michael Carvill, 11. David Cushley, 12 .Declan Caddell, 25. Ross Clarke, 18. Jordan Owens.
Coonah’s Quay Nomads starting 11: 1. John Danby, 2. John Disney, 3. Lawerence Wilson, 5. George Horan, 6. Danny Harrison, 8. Callum Morris, 16. Jay Owen, 10. Andy Owen, 22. Michael Bakare, 7. Ryan Wignal, 19. Danny Holmes. Substitutions: 11. Nathan Wolfe, 18. Joe Heath, 12. Declan Poole, 10. Noah Edwards, 14. Jack Kenny, 21. Rob Hughes, 4. John Spittle, 4. Michael Parker, 9. Michael Wilde.
Match Officials: Referee: Tony Clarke. Assistant Referees: Gareth Ekin, Ken Ross.
(Featured Image: NCM Media)