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Late double shocks The New Saints in Champions League qualifier

By Russell Youll | Oswestry | The New Saints | Published: | Last Updated:

Kosovan champions Feronikeli staged a dramatic late show as they hit back to force a draw in an eventful UEFA Champions League first qualifying round tie at Park Hall.

Kosovan champions Feronikeli celebrate after the final histle

Greg Draper's penalty and a cool finish from Aeron Edwards meant The New Saints led 2-0 with 89 minutes on the clock.

But then Mevlan Zeka pulled one back for the visitors before Astrit Fazliu converted a stoppage time penalty as Scott Ruscoe's side were pegged back ahead of next week's second leg.

TNS handed a competitive debut to defender Keston Davies, a recent signing from Swansea, against a Feronikeli side which had set up the trip to Oswestry with victories over Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar and FC Santa Coloma of Andorra.

Ryan Brobbel almost latched on to a teasing ball into the box as TNS pushed for a first-half breakthrough, but Arber Potoku sensed danger and made a timely headed clearance.

The New Saints' Greg Draper celebrates scoring his side's first goal from a penalty

The visitors had carried little threat until midway through the first half when Potoku's inswinging free kick from the right was helped over the bar by goalkeeper Paul Harrison.

Edwards had the first real chance of the night six minutes before the break when the ball ran his way near the penalty spot, but off balance, he was unable to keep his shot down.

TNS took the lead in the 49th minute when Draper, so prolific in the Welsh Premier League, smashed home a penalty after being brought down by visiting skipper Lapidar Lladrovci.

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Zeka tried to respond for the Kosovans, but his low shot from the edge of the penalty area was well dealt with by Harrison.

Zeka was then unable to hit the target from a header before TNS doubled their lead in the 77th minute when Edwards clinically steered home a corner by firing low into the net to the delight of the home fans.

But just as it looked that TNS would he heading to Kosovo with a crucial two-goal advantage, it was wiped out.

Harrison pulled off an impressive stop to deny Zeka, but there was nothing he could do when Zeka, always a threat, headed in a cross from the left.

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Feronikeli still had time to launch one final attack when, deep into stoppage time, Simon Spender was adjudged to have handled and Fazliu drove home the game's second spot kick.

TNS: Harrison, Spender, Davies, Marriott (Harrington 56), Redmond, Routledge, Edwards, Mullan, Brobbel (Nembhard 66), Cieslewicz, Draper (Byrne 75).

Subs not used: Hughes, Ebbe, Whitehouse, Roberts.

KF Feronikeli: Troshupa, Dabiqaj, Lladrovci, Zeka, Fazliu (Thaqi 90), Carioca (Malaj 68), Potoku, Bojku (Topalli 68), Islami, Rexha, Prekazi.

Subs not used: Smakiqi, Lladrovci, Morina, Doshlaku.

Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann (Malta).

Attendance: 1,140.

Russell Youll

By Russell Youll
@russyoull_star

Group Sports Editor for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star

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