The New Saints beat Rhyl by two goals to nil at the Corbett Sports Stadium.
Mike Wilde opened the scoring late in the first half and Sam Finley added a second midway through the second in a match which The Saints controlled for large periods.
The game started at an incredible pace with both sides eager to break the deadlock. With only ten minutes gone, Wilde went closest after his brilliant run from the half way line ended with the striker shooting straight at former Saint, Alex Ramsay.
Minutes later and with The Saints starting to control possession, Finley picked out the unmarked Ryan Edwards with an excellent cross but the former Gap Connah’s Quay man headed over the bar.
Midway through the first half, Rhyl created a half decent chance for David Forbes but the Rhyl number 17 headed just over from close range.
The home side then went close again after Danny Hughes met a well delivered corner. However, the Rhyl captain was only able to head the ball over the bar without testing Paul Harrison.
Greg Strong’s side then had the best chance of the game. Forbes was the quickest to react to a knock down from a corner and his powerful shot looked destined to find the back of the net but Phil Baker’s wonderful goal line clearance denied the forward.
With 39 minutes gone, the deadlock was finally broken. Simon Spender’s wonderful cross was met by Wilde and the TNS striker made no mistake from close range to give his side the lead.
A minute later and Wilde nearly completed a quick brace. The striker raced through on goal but was thwarted by Ramsay.
The second half started with Spender being replaced by Luke Douglas and within minutes, Baker nearly doubled the lead but his header from a Finley corner went just over the bar.
Midway through the second half, Baker had another chance with his head but once again the powerful defender could only direct his shot wide of goal.
Finley double the lead with 74 minutes gone. The energetic midfielder picked up the ball on the edge of the box and arrowed an unstoppable shot into the top corner, leaving Ramsay with no chance.
Rhyl rallied late on but couldn’t find a way past a strong TNS defence, who defended magnificently throughout the ninety minutes.
The TNS line up was made up of Paul Harrison (C), Simon Spender (Luke Douglas 46), Chris Marriott (Aaron Simms 77), Phil Baker, Connell Rawlinson, Aeron Edwards, Sam Finley, Scott Quigley, Ryan Edwards, Ryan Fraughan (Matty Williams 65) and Mike Wilde.
The unused substitutes for TNS were Ryan Kershaw and Kai Edwards.
The Rhyl line up was made up of Alex Ramsay, Liam Benson, Sean Dowling, Peter Dogan, Ryan Astles, Danny Hughes (C) (Danny Laverty 80), Mark Cadwallader, Paul McManus, David Forbes, Josh Williams (Tom Jones 90) and Carlos Roca.
The unused substitutes for Rhyl were Michael Askew, Jon Bathurst, Greg Strong, Mark Powell and Matthew Croft.