Saints back on top

The New Saints beat Rhyl by two goals to nil at the Corbett Sports Stadium, thanks to goals from Greg Draper and Sam Finley.

An early goal from Draper and a superb finish from Finley midway through the first half gave TNS a well deserved victory as Craig Harrison’s men climbed to top spot in the league.

The Saints took the lead after three minutes when Draper superbly headed in from just inside the six yard box. The New Zealand international found some space in the box before meeting Finley’s cross and coolly placing his header past Niki-Lee Bulmer.

Harrison’s men kept on applying pressure and Chris Jones nearly doubled the lead after skipping past Matty Woodward, before drilling his low shot just wide of the post.
With TNS controlling the game, more chances followed, with both Aeron Edwards and Ryan Fraughan testing Bulmer from range.

Finley then doubled the lead with a delightful finish into the top corner from just inside the box. Draper did magnificently well to hold the ball up and as he rolled the ball into the midfielder’s path, the TNS number eight composed himself and found the top corner.

Just before half time Fruaghan and Simon Spender played a neat one two with the latter firing a ferocious shot from the edge of the box but the Welsh Champions went into the break with a two goal advantage.

The second half started in a similar fashion with the Oswestry based side continuing to retain possession of the ball and with Fraughan once again testing the Rhyl ‘keeper.

With the home fans becoming frustrated, Fraughan audaciously attempted to lob Bulmer from the edge of the box. The former Tranmere Rovers man found himself in space and forced the home ‘keeper into a very good save.

Minutes later, Jonathan Bathurst raced away from the TNS defence only for Phil Baker to thwart the substitute with a well timed last ditch tackle. Ryan Astles then headed over as Rhyl pressed forward but deep into injury time Draper missed a great opportunity to add his second and his team’s third, after he managed to shoot over from six yards out.

However, the result ensured that The New Saints climbed up to top spot in the Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League with rivals Airbus now feeling the pressure ahead of their fixture with Aberystwyth Town tomorrow.

The New Saints: Paul Harrison (C), Simon Spender, Chris Marriott, Phil Baker, Kai Edwards, Aeron Edwards, Sam Finley, Chris Seargeant (Alex Darlington 79), Greg Draper, Ryan Fraughan (Jamie Mullan 79) and Chris Jones.

The unused substitutes were Matty Williams, Aaron Simms, Ryan Kershaw, Mike Wilde and Connell Rawlinson.

Rhyl: Niki-Lee Bulmer, Matty Woodward, Liam Benson, Chris Rimmer, Ryan Astles, Mark Powell (C) (Laverty 46), Paul McManus, Mark Cadwallader (Bathurst 68), Jason Oswell, Tom Roberts (Josh Williams 46) and Micheal Walsh.

The unused substitutes were Stefan Halewood, David Forbes and Ryan Smith.