Saints move within a point

The New Saints moved to within a point of retaining the Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League title after beating a resilient Newtown side by three goals to one thanks to a brace from Greg Draper and a goal from Connell Rawlinson.

The Robins took the lead thanks to Luke Boundford in the 26th minute but Draper equalised for The Saints eight minutes later. TNS defender, Rawlinson put his side in the lead in the 48th minute and Draper confirmed the points with only two minutes left on the clock.

Minutes into the game, Draper who had replaced Mike Wilde in the starting line up , nearly ran onto a Newtown back pass but Michael Platt was quick off his line and cleared the danger.

Despite Craig Harrison’s side dominating possession, there were very few chances being created by either side and when the ball did finally fall to a TNS player in the box, Shane Sutton athletically blocked Chris Jones’ shot.

However, against the run of play, Boundford opened the scoring. The striker capitalised on a mistake from Rawlinson and beat Paul Harrison from the edge of the box to give The Robins the lead.

The Saints drew level eight minutes later through Draper. The New Zealand International pounced on a loose ball in the box and smashed home from six yards out to level the match.

A minute later, Matty Williams rifled over from a tight angle after the ball had fell kindly to him. The former Manchester United forward composed himself before powerfully shooting over the bar.

The Saints kicked off the second half and continued to dominate possession. Neil Mitchell tested Harrison from just outside the box but within a minute, The Saints took the lead. Rawlinson rose highest to head home from a corner and put his side in front for the first time in the game.

The home side carried on dominating possession in the second half with Lee Fowler continuing to pull the strings in midfield.

Scott Quigley replaced the once again impressive Williams but within moments, Newtown nearly equalised. The tricky Matthew Hearsey raced clear and looked destined to convert from inside the box but Rawlinson somehow denied the winger by outstandingly getting back and making an excellent last ditch tackle.

With only five minutes left to play, Quigley raced through on goal but Platt brilliantly denied the youngster.

The visitors continued to battle on but with only two minutes to play, The Saints made it three. TNS winger Jones, did wonderfully well to beat his man and produced a wonderful cross for Draper to easily head home and secure the points.

The New Saints line up for tonight’s Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League versus Newtown consisted of Paul Harrison (C), Simon Spender, Chris Marriott, Kai Edwards, Connell Rawlinson, Lee Fowler, Aeron Edwards (Ryan Edwards 89), Matty Williams (Scott Quigley 76), Greg Draper, Chris Jones and Jamie Mullan.

The unused substitutes for The Saints were Phil Baker, Chris Seargeant, Mike Wilde, Luke Douglas and Ryan Kershaw.

The Newtown line up was made up of Michael Platt, Craig Williams, Shane Sutton, Kieran Mills-Evans, Max Penk, Matthew Cook, Zach Evans (Lance Jones 79), Matthey Hearsey, Tom Goodwin (Sean Evans 79), Luke Boundford and Neil Mitchell.

The unused substitutes for The Robins were James O’Neil and Callum Wright.