Newtown missed out on the chance to re-take second place in the JD Cymru Premier League, as the club’s 1000th game in the competition ended goalless on Saturday (Feb 19).
A blustery afternoon at Latham Park made conditions tough for both sides, and although the Robins had the ball in the back of the net early in the second half, it was the linesman’s flag rather than the swirling wind which denied James Davies while a late goal-line clearance from Callum Roberts was required at the other end as the visitors looked to pull off a smash and grab victory in the dying moments.
Already without the services of Kieran Mills-Evans and Shane Sutton (injured) and Fumpa Mwandwe (suspended), Chris Hughes was forced to further ring the changes as Welshpool youngster Max Williams made his senior league debut in place of suspended goalkeeper Dave Jones.
Williams was called into action early, getting down well at his near post to cut out Lewis Rees cross in the opening ten minutes, before getting behind former TNS striker Adam Roscrow’s tame effort moments later, as the visitors made the better start amid blustery conditions at Latham Park.
As the clock ticked past 15 minutes Newtown almost edged a half chance from a lightning break, as George Hughes tidied up from a Cardiff Met corner, and although his straight pass from defence to attack split the Archers defence, visiting goalkeeper Alex Lang was out smartly to snuff out the chance ahead of James Davies.
Newtown carved out the best opportunity of a defence-dominated half after 35 minutes, when neat link up play between Zeli Ismail and Craig Williams down the right hand side saw Williams cut the ball back dangerously from the touchline towards Nick Rushton on the near post, but Cardiff Met’s Joe Evans scrambled the ball away.
The Robins thought they’d made the breakthrough five minutes after half time when James Davies slotted home at the far post from Nick Rushton’s low cross, only to see his effort chalked off by the linesman’s flag on the far side.
The Archers responded well, and following a spell of pressure just before the hour mark the visitors came inches away from taking the lead, when Lewis Rees looping header from the far post crashed off the bar with Williams stranded in the Newtown goal. Moments later, Roscrow flashed an effort wide of goal as the alarm bells rang loudly for the hosts.
As the game ticked into added time, Ryan Sears was called into action to make a block in the penalty area to deny Chris Craven, and moments later Matt Chub saw his header cleared off the line by Callum Roberts to preserve Newtown’s clean sheet and a precious point.