The New Saints beat Bangor City two one thanks to goals from Matty Williams and Sam Finley at The Book People stadium.
Williams opened the scoring when he finished off an excellent team move in the first half and Finley added a second just after an hour. Jamie McDaid pulled a goal back for the home side a minute later but despite The Citizens throwing everything they had at the visitors, TNS dug deep and held on to claim an important victory.
The Saints controlled the game for large periods in the first half but with the home side applying themselves very well in defence, Craig Harrison’s team struggled to find a way past them. Aeron Edwards forced Lee Idzi into a good save and shortly after, Chris Marriott picked out Finley in the box but the TNS number eight was unable to find a way past the former Neath goalkeeper.
With ten minutes left to go in the first half, Finley unleashed a fantastic 40 yard pass that was expertly controlled by Greg Draper but as the New Zealand international composed himself, his shot, which beat Idzi, hit the post and bounced out.
A minute later and the woodwork saved Bangor again. Finley powered an unstoppable strike with the outside of his foot, that once again beat Idzi but as it swerved towards goal, it crashed against the cross bar, as The Saints started dominating the match.
However, on 43 minutes, the deadlock was broken. A sensational team move from TNS ended up with Williams coolly converting from inside the box. The move that started in their own half ended with Finley playing an inch perfect through ball into Williams’ path and the striker converted with aplomb.
TNS started off the second half well and within minutes Aeron Edwards was once again thwarted by Idzi. However, although the shot was superbly saved, the rebound fell kindly for Draper but the TNS number nine was unable to convert and hit the post from close range, for the second time in the match.
With an hour played, Williams picked out Draper in the box but the striker fired over, as The Saints continued to look for the second goal.
However, Finley got the goal that his performance deserved as he found the top corner from just inside the box. Chris Jones had done brilliantly to get past Declan Walker and found Draper who set up the former Warrington midfielder, who made no mistake.
The Saints who had looked solid at the back all match then conceded. Substitute Jamie McDaid converted from close range after a scrappy goalmouth scramble.
The goal had seemed to inspire the home side who continued to push forward in search of an equaliser, with Walker trying his luck from range, resulting in Paul Harrison having to be alert to tip it over the bar.
With ten minutes left Les Davies headed over and Sion Edwards’ shot went just wide as the home side went for the jugular.
As Bangor continued to test The Saints, Walker shot jus wide from close range after TNS had failed to clear a corner as the game went into stoppage time.
However, despite the home side throwing everything they had at the Champions, Harrison’s men dug deep and held on to claim all three points.
The New Saints line up was Paul Harrison (C), Simon Spender, Phil Baker, Kai Edwards, Chris Marriott, Aeron Edwards, Sam Finley, Chris Seargeant, Greg Draper (Alex Darlington 69), Chris Jones and Matty Williams.
The unused substitutes for The Saints were Connell Rawlinson, Jamie Mullan, Ryan Kershaw, Ryan Fraughan and Aaron Simms.
The Bangor City line up was Lee Idzi, Declan Walker, Joe Culshaw, Michael Johnston (C), Gerwyn Jones, Ryan Edwards, Damien Allen, Chris Jones, Jamie Petrie (Jamie McDaid 65), Les Davies and Sion Edwards.
The unused substitutes for the home side were Nick Bould, John Littlemore, Lolo Hughes, Corey Jones, Craig Whelan and Ieuan Lloyd.