After a difficult outing over in the Republic of Ireland last week, with Covid protocols and self-isolations leaving his squad ravaged and short of preparation time, Chris Hughes will have been hoping for better fortunes for his side this week as they took on Dundalk in the second leg of their UEFA Europa Conference League tie at Park Hall.
The Robins started very positiviely on a boiling hot afternoon in Oswestry with James Davies and Lufumpa Mwandwe using their energy to create a couple of early half-chances whereas the young James Rowland was very lively across the midfield and front line, regularly providing a spark for the home side to build upon.
Dundalk’s only real sniff at goal in the first half came after half an hour when Newtown were caught in possession at the back, but Jones saved well, before the Robins responded excellently and went up the other end to create a great chance through Rowland, who shot just wide from a tight angle 10 yards out.
That chance sparked some confidence for Newtown in the final third with Craig Williams winning the ball high up the pitch before crossing for Aron Williams to strike, but Dundalk did well to scramble and clear the danger as the score stayed deadlocked until the interval.
Dundalk came flying out of the blocks in the second half and took the lead on the night within five minutes of the restart as a powerful run from Michael Duffy leading a visiting counter-attack culminated in a goal for Irish side to secure a 1-0 lead. Alex Fletcher offered a delicious effort from a free-kick some 10 minutes later that looked destined for the far bottom corner, but the Dundalk stopper spread himself well to fingertip the ball clear of danger abs maintain the visiting side’s lead.
Substitutes Nick Rushton and Jamie Breese both had good chances for the home side with ten minutes to go to draw the scores level on the night, but Dundalk again were resilient in dealing with the danger and held onto their 1-0 lead to progress to the next round.
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