NEWTOWN make the trip to TNS on Saturday aiming to complete the upset threatened on Boxing Day.
The Robins forged a two goal interval lead before 10 man TNS hit back to complete a 3-2 win at Latham Park on Tuesday afternoon.
Manager Chris Hughes could not hide his disappointment with the result all but ending Newtown’s hopes to secure a top six finish before the mid-season split next month.
However the Robins chief insisted the performance of his side proved them more than capable of completing an upset in the reverse fixture at Park Hall on Saturday.
“It’s a massive disappointment,” said Hughes. “We out tacticed TNS in the first-half and deserved to lead.
“I really could not see them scoring before their penalty but the red card seemed to galvanise them and we conceded two goals in as many minutes which was massively frustrating.
“Our tactics and commitment were spot on but a few decisions went against us beyond our control.
“Defeat was harsh to swallow and it was certainly a hard result to take but we can take a lot of positives going forward into the game at TNS on Saturday.”
Hughes insisted the Robins were more than capable of producing the shock threatened on Boxing Day and pointed to previous meetings between the sides.
“We always prepare well against TNS,” said Hughes. “Sometimes our tactics work and other times they do not but we always set out to compete as we know on our day we can beat them.
“It will be a different game on Saturday and I am sure TNS will be more prepared having had a fright on Boxing Day,” said Hughes. “We will be working hard to ensure we can build on Tuesday’s performance.”
TNS manager Scott Ruscoe insisted the Saints had always been in command of the Boxing Day derby.
“Even when we were 2-0 down I was confident if we continued to do the basics then we would create chances and that was the case,” said Ruscoe.
“They had two chances and scored both in the first-half but we were the better team after the break.”
Ruscoe had no complaints at the dismissal of Greg Draper who saw red after kicking Kieran Mills-Evans just two minutes after scoring a penalty.
“Greg has done well for us this season but he deserved the red card,” said Ruscoe. “You cannot do that in front of the referee.”
“It means somebody else will get a chance on Saturday but we have quality in the squad and players ready to step up.”
Ruscoe reserved praise for teenage goalkeeper Aaron Jones and scorer Blaine Hudson.
“Blaine’s goal was the best I've ever seen scored by a defender and I was pleased for Aaron who made a great save at the end to ensure us the three points.”