SEAGULLS boss Phill Hadland has urged fans to stay positive after the team lost 7-3 to an impressive Gap Connah’s Quay Nomads squad who showed just why they are being tipped to challenge The New Saints’ domination of Welsh Premier League football.
Andy Morrison’s side, who had beaten HJK Helsinki in the first leg of their Europa League qualifier earlier this month, looked a very accomplished outfit and gave the Bay defence a mauling in the first half to lead 5-1 at half-time – although we were without two of our main centre backs (Sam Barnes and Gaz Grant) through injury.
Jack Hindle got Bay’s goal with an excellent strike from outside the area, and might have got a second when the best move of the game left him one on one with the keeper, but Nomads threatened throughout and scored through strong headers by Nathan Woolfe and George Horan and clinical finishes by Matty Owen, Ryan Wignall and Declan Poole.
Owen also had a shot rebound of an upright and Bay keeper Kris Leigh made two or three good saves.
To their credit the Bay came back to draw the second half 2-2 with Astley Mulholland scoring from Jamie Rainford’s run and cross and Louis Barnes, who did well when he came on, beating the keeper witn a cracking free kick after Jack Hindle had been pulled down as he was racing clear on goal.
We had a couple of other good openings which we couldn’t convert into goals, before Nomads added two late goals from Michael Wilde and a second from Matty Owen to cap their victory.
The manager later confirmed that Louis Barnes has agreed to sign and said: “That is great news. He provides further competition for places and adds some real quality as shown last night.
“Obviously we struggled defensively especially missing two of our main central defenders, although I hope both will be available against Airbus next Tuesday.
“Because of their injuries, it meant last night lads had to play out of position and weaknesses were exploited by a full strength Nomads outfit.
“We obviously need to strengthen this defensive area of the team if these injuries were to persist and this is something I am working on at the moment.
“Missing those two players last night hurt us, but I know we can’t become reliant on two players and that is why the issue will be addressed before we start the season.
“I ask for everyone at the club to remain positive and trust that come the start of the season, when we have more people back from injury, we will be a force to be reckoned with.
“Remember this is pre-season. I think once we have played five to ten league games we will have a truer reflection of what this team can do.”
The Bay squad for the Nomads game was: Kris Leigh, Kyle Jacobs, Shaun Holden, Anthony Griffith, Dan Collins, Josh Brizell (c), Astley Mulholland, Luke Horrocks, Jamie Rainford, Will Booth, Jack Hindle, Matt Cooper, Louis Barnes, Danny Bartle, Tom Rutter, Warren Bellew, Nat Kerr.
Danny Andrews was missing due to illness, while Sam Barnes, Gaz Grant and Gary Burnett were ruled out by injury.
The Bay’s next game is at home to Airbus UK Broughton on Tuesday August 1st (7:45pm kick off)