The New Saints opened the 2013/2014 season with a convincing 6 – 0 win against Port Talbot Town at Park Hall stadium.
The Saints played incredibly well from the kick off and were clearly the better side through out the one sided contest. The Saints who won the Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League title by a record points margin last season are now already sitting on top spot after only one game.
Goals from Ryan Fraughan, Mike Wilde, Alex Darlington and a wonderful hat-trick from substitute Greg Draper saw off a stubborn Port Talbot side.
A minute into the game Fraughan hit a ferocious half volley from the edge of the box, which was somehow parried out by Steven Hall in the Port Talbot goal.
Moments later, Wilde magnificently crossed, only for Darlington to have his powerful header cleared off the line. The former Wrexham man rose highest and seemed destined to score but the visitors somehow cleared the ball.
The Saints then started to control the ball and were calmly keeping possession before Fraughan picked up the ball on the edge of the box and after he skipped past a few defenders, the former Tranmere winger smashed his shot powerfully into the top corner to give his side a deserved lead.
Wilde then picked up a yellow card after fouling the Port Talbot ‘keeper as he attempted to reach for the loose ball.
With five minutes until half time, the visitors had their first shot on target. The prolific Rhys Griffiths chested the ball down before turning and unleashing a powerful effort towards the middle of the goal but Paul Harrison dealt with the shot easily.
Craig Harrison’s side started the second half by retaining the ball and within seven minutes of the restart, the lead was doubled. Chris Seargeant whipped in a wonderful cross which was met by Wilde, who made no mistake, as he powerfully connected with the ball to convert and give his side a two goal advantage.
A minute later and it was three. The Port Talbot captain, Lee Surman handled inside the box and Darlington made no mistake from the penalty spot. The TNS number 20 coolly converted as he sent the Port Talbot ‘keeper the wrong way.
Soon after Wilde was replaced with Draper and with his first touch, the New Zealand international scored a fourth for his side. Fraughan wonderfully flicked the ball into his path and the TNS number nine made no mistake to make it four nil.
Minutes later and it was five. Draper added his second of the game after fellow substitute Matty Williams had forced Hall into making a good save but the ball kindly bounced into the path of Draper and he calmly slotted in from close range.
With 80 minutes gone, Draper completed his hat-trick with an incredible lob from the edge of the box. The substitute who had only been on the field for 20 minutes superbly latched on to Chris Marriott’s through ball, before expertly lobbing Hall in the Port Talbot goal.
Craig Harrison’s men controlled the rest of the game and will now focus on Monday’s fixture against Prestatyn Town.
The New Saints 6-0 Port Talbot.
The New Saints line up was Harrison (C), Spender, Marriott, Baker, K.Edwards, Fraughan, Mullan, Seargeant, Wilde, Darlington and A.Edwards.
On the bench were Williams, Draper, Rawlinson, Finley, Jones, Simms and Mullock.
The Port Talbot line up was Hall, Green, Surman (C), Jones, Bloom, Evans, Harling, John, Walters, Brooks and Griffiths.