Comfortably assured of a place in the 'top seven' and thus qualification for the following year's FAW Premier Cup, Connah's Quay approached their final game of the 1999/2000 season, at home to Barry Town, in a relaxed manner. Nonetheless, aware of the importance of the result in terms of the League championship's destination, Nomads were determined not to capitulate in the face of a Barry Town side eager to claim its fifth successive title.
Spurred on by a crowd of 688, the biggest to congregate at the Deeside Stadium for a League of Wales fixture up to that point, Nomads took the game to the Dragons and deserved their 2-0 success thanks to a brace of goals from Stuart Rain. The result ensured that Total Network Solutions (today's New Saints) would claim the coveted league championship for the first time.
The campaign had begun on 21st August 1999 with an undeserved 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Cwmbran Town but the team quickly bounced back with victories over newcomers Flexsys Cefn Druids and then Newtown. Defeat followed at Conwy United where we led 2-1 with two minutes remaining before a brawl resulted in both Stephen Hopkins and Andy Griffiths being red-carded. In added time the home side scored twice to take all three points.
The autumn months proved disappointing despite a couple of 4-1 away wins at Haverfordwest County and Rhyl. Once again Carmarthen Town emerged victors on Deeside to record Nomads' 100th League of Wales defeat before the team lost 2-0 at Inter Cardiff, always an unlucky ground for us, and conceded home points to both Rhayader Town (0-0) and Caersws (1-1).
Having already gone out of the Gilbert League Cup to Bangor City in early September an embarrassing Welsh Cup defeat followed a month later at the hands of Mid-Wales League outfit Guilsfield. On 'one of those days' Nomads battered the home side and missed chances galore while Guilsfield attacked sporadically. Both teams netted twice in the 90 minutes but Julian Pepper gave Nomads the lead in extra time. That lasted all of sixty seconds and the game went to penalty kicks which the 'minnows' won 5-4.
A difficult Christmas period was looming with Connah's Quay having to play all the top teams in succession and they made a bad start, turning in a season's-worst performance at home to TNS who triumphed easily by four goals to two. Defeat at Llanelli and at home to Bangor City on Boxing Day, thoroughly against the run of play, sandwiched an excellent 3-3 draw away to Barry Town with Jon Kenworthy scoring twice.
Connah's Quay FC entered the new millennium in mid table but with the promise of better things to come based on some good performances in the first half of the season that were not supported by results.
Nevertheless January 2000 was to prove a memorable month for the team.
Following a 3-1 away win at Rhyl in the North Wales Coast Challenge Cup a 2-0 victory at Cwmbran, only the club's second at that venue, was supported by single goal successes against Cefn Druids and Newtown during the following week to give the league position a boost prior to the visit of Conwy United on 22nd January 2000. Just a couple of days prior to that match, Conwy's playing staff left en bloc and new manager Matt Corcoran had to find many local players in order to fulfil the fixture. To his great credit he succeeded in doing so but the players were simply not of the standard required and Nomads won 10-nil.
It was a hollow victory but our players did what they had to do despite 'taking their foot off the gas' after an hour. Centre-forward Kevin Davies scored five of the goals to equal Stuart Rain's League of Wales record for the Nomads. It was only the second time that both of our centre-backs, Jamie Jardine and Carl Smyth, had scored in the same game - and on each occasion we won 10-0!
The next three league fixtures brought only two points with both Haverfordwest County and Afan Lido sharing the spoils on Deeside but the side's New Year resilience saw them win five of the next six games three of them away from home. Even the one defeat at home to Aberystwyth Town was by just a single goal and this was countered by a rare victory over Inter Cardiff.
These results propelled the team up to seventh place in the league table just three points behind four-thplaced Carmarthen Town as we entertained Rhyl towards the end of March. Already Caernarfon Town and Conwy United were virtually assured of relegation while Barry Town held an eight points lead over TNS at the top end, although the Llansantffraid-based outfit had a couple of games in hand on the champions.
Rhyl were despatched thanks to goals from Rain and Davies, the former having netted both goals in the win at Caersws a week earlier while Davies scored the winner when Llanelli came to the Deeside Stadium in early April. In between there was another 'hard luck' story in the 1-0 loss away to TNS. Nomads were reduced to ten men with the dismissal of Craig Hutchinson but reorganised to such an extent that they dominated the second half of the match. Typically, with Nomads in the ascendency, the home team took all three points when John Toner, always a thorn in our side, hit a speculative shot on the turn from 35 yards out that flew past Phil Collister. Of course, goals like that win championships and this one went a long way towards TNS achieving just that.
Our season concluded with the afore-mentioned victory over Barry Town that assured TNS of the title but a 2-0 win at Bangor City a week earlier, in which Stuart Rain once again scored both goals, had set-up the finale. Nomads could look back on a season which saw them achieve the second-best defensive record (conceding 35 goals to Barry Town's 34). A finishing place of 7th (for the third time in seven seasons) was acceptable but could have been much better had we taken more points off the sides finishing above us in the top six places. A return of only ten points from the three dozen available in those fixtures let us down.
Kevin Davies and Stuart Rain each scored 13 league goals while midfielder Jon Kenworthy notched eight. The entire squad put in a tremendous effort led by captain Carl Smyth who, along with Kenworthy, played in every league game. Neville Powell must take great credit for the way in which his team gelled and was a deserving winner of the 'Manager of the Month' award for January 2000.