Why Chris Hughes and Newtown deserve credit for superb start
After holding the reigning Welsh Premier League champions to a draw at home, Chris Hughes and his Newtown side deserve credit for their transformation this season.
Not much has been said about the Robins this season, but as they currently sit fourth in the JD Welsh Premier League.
Newtown are playing above what is expected of them and are currently eleven points better off than they were last season. Faces, such as Ben Bailey and Ethan Jones have been tasked with replacing key players like Jason Oswell and Shane Sutton, who were a big part of Newtown. The Robins are now in a new direction.
A huge part of their current league position is their terrific home form; Thirteen out of their twenty points this season have come at Latham Park. Taking points off teams like Bala, Barry, and The New Saints, who are currently in the top five.
Now, all Newtown need to work on is their away form; the only away wins this season have come at promoted sides Caernarfon Town and Llanelli.
Not much is expected of Newtown when other teams in the division could boast higher quality squads. But the collectiveness of the squad, the well-drilled instructions of Chris Hughes, has made the Robins into this stubborn outfit, where other teams are finding it hard to earn a result.
Even when they’ve lost games, for example, against Cardiff Metropolitan, they have had arguments of possibly winning the game, rather than losing it.
Although not as prolific, Nick Rushton’s four goals in nine games has him as the tenth highest top goal scorer in the Welsh Premier League this campaign. Newtown are also the fourth highest top goal scorers in the division. It’s a collective effort from Chris Hughes’ men this season.
The Robins may have missed out on a European play-off spot last season, having to watch Barry Town United convincingly finish seventh, but they may not have to wait on a seventh-placed finish. As long as they maintain their level of performance for the remainder of Phase One, they should have no qualms in finishing in the top six this season.
And with a Nathaniel MG Cup quarter-final fixture against Welsh League side Cambrian, Chris Hughes’ side should fancy their chances. Last season they reached the semi-final, losing to Cardiff Metropolitan. But with how Newtown have played this season, the first piece of silverware for Chris Hughes could be in sight.
(Featured Image: Will Cheshire)