The New Saints lost by three goals to one against Middlesbrough at Park Hall Stadium this afternoon.
Greg Draper opened the scoring early in the first half but two goals in the space of three second half minutes gave Middlesbrough the lead and with only ten minutes left to play, the Sky Bet Championship side added a third to complete the scoring.
The Saints broke the deadlock in the 19th minute. Sam Finley played Draper in and the TNS number nine coolly took it around Joe Fryer before rolling the ball into the empty net.
Minutes later, Mike Wilde headed wide after being expertly picked out by Chris Marriott.
Midway through the first half, Jordan Jones controlled the ball inside the six yard box but managed to smash his shot wide from a tight angle.
Soon after, the Middlesbrough goalkeeper thwarted both Finley and Wilde as The Saints continued to look for a second goal of the game.
A minute into the second half and the visitors went close to equalising. Scott McCarthy’s header was tipped over by Harrison to ensure that The Saints’ lead remained intact.
Middlesbrough introduced Ryan Brobbell at the start of the second half and within a quarter of an hour the game was level. Bradley Halliday picked out Callum Coke and the Middlesbrough number ten made no mistake from the edge of the box, leaving Harrison helpless.
Within three minutes, The Saints were trailing. Substitute Dael Fry managed to poke the ball in from four yards out after the ball had fell kindly in the box. The tall defender was alert enough to take a touch and fire past the TNS captain.
The Saints responded by brining Alex Darlington on but after the former Wrexham man linked up with Draper, Marriott’s cross was headed over by Wilde as the home side looked for a way back into the game.
With only ten minutes left to play, the Boro won a free kick on the edge of the box. Bryn Morris stepped up and found the top corner with Harrison motionless to give the English Championship side their third goal of the game.
In what was the Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League Champions’ penultimate game ahead of the new 2014/2015 season, Craig Harrison brought on Scott Quigley and within seconds, The Saints nearly pulled a goal back. However, Wilde’s header smashed the bar and bounced out.
Full time: TNS 1-3 Middlesbrough.
The New Saints: Paul Harrison (C), Simon Spender, Steve Evans, Kai Edwards, Chris Marriott, Scott Ruscoe, Sam Finley, Aeron Edwards, Ryan Fraughan (Alex Darlington 68) Mike Wilde and Greg Draper (Scott Quigley 87).
The unused substitutes for The Saints were Chris Mullock, Luke Douglas, Phil Baker, Connell Rawlinson, Ryan Pryce, Ryan Kerhsaw and Ryan Edwards.
Middlesbrough: Joe Fryer, Bryn Morris, Matthew Elsdon (Ryan Brobbell 46), Kieran Weledji, Bradley Halliday, Lewis Maloney, Scott McCarthy, Mark Kitching (Dael Fry 46), Tom McAloon, Callum Coke and Jordan Jones.
The unused substitutes for Middlesbrough were Luke Coddington, Jonathan Burn, Priestly Griffiths, Jimmy Wright and Charlie Wyke.