NEV POWELL has challenged his Bangor City players to rise to the occasion at The Racecourse tonight.
The Welsh Premier League’s manager of the year aims to mastermind a Europa League success against Finland’s FC Honka after the clubs drew 1-1 in the first leg of their second round qualifier.
“The boys have kept the tie open against a top professional side who are in the middle of their campaign while this was our first competitive game this season,” said former Connah’s Quay Nomads’ boss Powell.
“It sets it up for the return leg in Wrexham fantastically. They are still hot favourites
to go through but what a night it promises to be.
“Our result is fantastic for Welsh football and it is about time the league got a team through to the third round in Europe.
“We must start trying to compete with these teams despite the massive disadvantage that they are in the middle of their season.
“We are slowly getting there. Now we have a fighting chance. We have nothing to lose, the pressure is not on us.”
Midfielder Marc Limbert, who kicked off his career at Chester City, will be a key figure tonight and he is one of a handful of ex-Nomads in the team.
And City have a hard act to follow after the The New Saints ended 14 years of European heartache with a crushing 4-0 Champions League defeat of Irish champions Bohemian at a rain-soaked Park Hall on Tuesday night.
As well as becoming only the second Welsh Premier side after Barry Town to win a tie in Europe’s premier club competition, the historic win means the Saints have advanced to a glamour third-qualifying round tie with Anderlecht – with the first leg due to be held at The Racecourse next Tuesday.
And even if they lose to the Belgian giants, the Saints will be guaranteed a Europa League play-off game.
Trailing 1-0 following the first leg against Bohemians, the New Saints took just six minutes to level the tie thanks to Craig Jones’ goal.
Former Wrexham centre-back Steve Evans had a hand in the second goal which was converted by Matty Williams, and the Saints found themselves 3-0 ahead with just 20 minutes on the clock when Chris Sharp converted.
Bohemian’s fate was sealed in the 73rd-minute when a corner from ex-Chester City midfielder Scott Ruscoe was headed on by Evans and Williams converted.
Two other former Wrexham players, left-back Chris Marriott and striker Alex Darlington, who made a late substitute appearance, will now look forward to facing Anderlecht with Saints' general manager Ian Williams adding:
“Both Bangor and TNS put in very good performances in Europe this week and the draw has ensured that it could be a great month for the Welsh Premier League in terms of exposure.”
Tonight’s friendly between Holywell Town and Wrexham has been postponed, and the match will now to be played on Monday, August 9 at Halkyn Road (7.30pm kick off.)
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