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The Nomads' celebrate Wes Baynes' strike at Bangor City - © NCM Media
Head Therapist, Gemma Bamford treats a stricken Ian Kearney at Cardiff Met - © NCM Media
TNS and Nomads players look on as their Nathaniel MG Cup Semi Final is abandoned due to heavy fog at Deeside Stadium - © NCM Media
Les Davies in action against Newtown - © NCM Media
George Horan scores his hat-trick goal against Airbus UK - © NCM Media

2016-17 Season Review: Phase One

Date Published: Thursday, 11th May, 2017 - 2:00pm

Following The Nomads' outstanding achievements in the UEFA Europa League Qualifying Rounds, everyone at the Club was eager to get started with the league campaign and see where it could take us.

After a handful of friendlies with Denbigh Town, Salford City and Flint Town United in which The Nomads scored nine goals and conceded just two, there was a confidence in the camp going into the first league game of the season.

Unfortunately, a long trip to Carmarthen saw The Nomads leave Richmond Park with a 0-0 draw despite dominating large parts of the game. The team made their chances count the week later though when highly-fancied Bangor City were despatched of with a 2-0 victory, but the game saw the start of The Nomads' injury nightmare that would follow through the 2016-17 campaign. George Horan left the field with an ankle injury and would not return until late December. A week later Newtown were toppled 1-0 thanks to a Michael Wilde strike in a tight game, and while The Nomads were frustrated in the following game against Cefn Druids, it extended their run of not conceding a goal for the first four games of the campaign.

The first side to score against The Nomads were Bala Town as former Nomad Mike Hayes gave the Lakesiders the lead before a Matty Williams penalty gave The Nomads a deserved point and extended their unbeaten run to five games. A 2-1 victory at newly promoted Cardiff Met was hampered by injury as Ian Kearney unfortunately suffered what would prove to be a season-ending injury, rupturing his knee ligaments on the students' 3G surface.

The Nomads then continued their unbeaten run with a draw at home to Llandudno, a 2-0 victory over Rhyl and a 1-0 victory over Carmarthen Town before turning their attention to the Nathaniel MG Cup. The Nomads were drawn against Denbigh Town and a youthful side defeated the Huws Gray Alliance side 3-1 - the game saw four Nomads Academy graduates make their debut as Luke Blizzard and Conor Harwood started the game and Jake Leonard and Jordan Manley made substitute appearances.

A return to Welsh Premier League action saw two tough challenges at Deeside Stadium for The Nomads as firstly Bangor City came to town in a highly anticipated clash, one which lived up to the billing as both teams played some outstanding attacking football with the game finishing 2-2. The week later, Cardiff Met proved to have improved since the previous encounter and they left with a deserved point after a battling performance saw them hold The Nomads to a 0-0 draw. The following Tuesday saw The Nomads topple Rhyl 2-1 in the Nathaniel MG Cup Quarter Final to setup a semi final clash with TNS, who were also The Nomads next opponents in the league. This game was the first defeat for The Nomads as they fell 3-0 to TNS who were on their way to a Guinness World Record for consecutive wins. Prior to the defeat, The Nomads had gone 17 games undefeated, conceding just nine goals in the process.

The team were quick to bounce back from the disappointment at Park Hall however as they toppled Aberystwyth Town 3-1 at Park Avenue in a challenging game - again unfortunately, injury struck as Shelton Payne came on, scored a goal and within a few minutes was forced to leave the field with knee ligament damage. TNS then came to Deeside Stadium in the Nathaniel MG Cup Semi Final and the game produced an impressive performance from both sides with The Nomads taking the lead twice before being clawed back by the Saints, before the game was abandoned on 73 minutes due to heavy fog engulfing Deeside Stadium.

The match would be replayed a week later and would see TNS victorious through a deflected Scott Quigley strike and in the meantime, The Nomads would lose out 2-1 to Newtown at Latham Park. Again, The Nomads bounced back from defeat with a 2-1 victory at an icy Rhyl as goals from Les Davies and Tom Field gave The Nomads the platform to maintain their good position in the league table. The following Saturday saw one of the most dramatic games of the season as Goytre United made the long trip north to Deeside Stadium in the JD Welsh Cup. The Nathaniel Cars league side challenged The Nomads and going in to injury time were 2-1 up, but Les Davies completed his hat-trick with a 92nd minute equaliser but heading home the winner in the 94th minute to dramatically put The Nomads through to the next round.

Lewis Short was the star of the show the week later as his thunderous strike gave The Nomads a 1-0 victory over Cefn Druids before again losing out to the unbeaten TNS 3-0 just four days later. A seasonal double bill against Airbus saw The Nomads come out 3-0 victors at the Airfield before a returning George Horan struck an unlikely hat-trick to give The Nomads a 5-1 victory in the final game of 2016.

The last game of Phase One saw a tight game at Maes Tegid end goalless as new signings Kai Edwards and Ryan Wignall made their debuts. The result meant that The Nomads finished Phase One in second place, securing a top six position for Phase Two along with TNS, Bala Town, Bangor City, Carmarthen Town and Cardiff Met.

Looking back on the First Phase of the season, Andy Morrison said "Our defensive strategy carried over from Europe and teams found it very difficult to score against us - we looked a very solid unit.

The loss of Ian Kearney with a season-long injury followed by George Horan missing for 20 games didn't really affect our momentum - the players who stepped in did fantastic with every player knowing what their defensive roles and responsibilities were.

We had all the excuses needed to underachieve, but the mentality of the Club has changed - we find a way to win, one game at a time. The opposition had to be very good to get a result against us - our energy, organisation and desire came through in every game."



PARTNERS

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