— The New Saints FC (@tnsfc) August 12, 2018
Goals: Hudson (15), Seargeant (43, 45), Draper (73, 77)
Substitutions: Nembhard for Cabango (23), Clark for Holland (58), Draper for Byrne (65)
The New Saints got their defence of the JD Welsh Premier League off to the perfect start, with a 5-1 win over Barry Town United.
Blaine Hudson headed his side into the lead with just 15 minutes on the clock, but Barry Town held on and found a way back into the match following a 38th minute corner.
They weren’t on level terms for long though. Chris Seargeant grabbed a quick fire double, scoring with both 43 and 45 minutes gone.
Substitute Greg Draper added two more goals in the second-half to round off a perfect afternoon for TNS.
Scott Ruscoe’s side controlled the match from start to finish, with both Aeron Edwards and Adrian Cieslewicz having efforts on goal inside 12 minutes.
The Saints almost took the lead with 13 minutes gone. A scramble in the box was somehow cleared by Barry, only resulting in a corner.
It was Blaine Hudson who caused that trouble and the same man was on hand two minutes later. The number 12 rose highest following Seargeant’s free-kick to head his team into the lead.
TNS were largely wasteful in the period that ensued. Kurtis Byrne had a couple of chances to double the advantage.
Barry Town certainly made them pay. From their first corner of the game, defender Curtis Watkins lost his marker in the penalty area, giving him an easy chance to bring the score level.
Just as it seemed Scott Ruscoe would have a difficult half-time team talk, up stepped Chris Seargeant.
With 43 minutes gone, he collected the ball on the left, before unleashing a driven effort at goal, beating Mike Lewis and providing an instant response for The Saints.
He wasn’t finished there though. As the clock hit 45, the midfielder added another goal, this time from the right.
A corner was played short into his path, before he looked up and curled a brilliant ball around the outstretched arms of Lewis, into the top left corner of the goal. 3-1.
If Barry were expecting a second-half let up from TNS, then they were sadly mistaken.
With 51 minutes played, Chris Marriott went close, driving an effort just inches wide of the far post.
The visitors were almost gifted a way back into the match though. With Paul Harrison on the edge of his penalty area, Joash Nembhard played a loose back pass which came so close to trickling over the line.
The Saints stopper did fantastically well to get back and keep it out.
Every now and then Barry continued to ask questions of their hosts defence. With 66 minutes played, Mamodou Touray tried to beat Harrison from the edge of the box with a fierce strike, but he showed great handling to hold onto the ball.
The introduction of last season’s JD Welsh Premier League golden boot winner, Greg Draper, proved to be the final nail in the Barry coffins.
Draper was in the middle to meet a cross from the right, offering a delicate touch to divert it past the goalkeeper and stretch the Saints advantage to 4-1 after 73 minutes.
Continuing his superb form from last year, the New Zealand international was at it again. He raced past the covering defender, before hitting a first-time effort past Lewis, leaving him no chance and making the score 5-1 in the process.
The win sets The Saints up perfectly for their trip to Denmark next week, as they look to overturn last Thursday’s 2-0 Europa League defeat against FC Midtjylland.
Lead photograph: Brian Jones
|12th August 2018||2:30 pm||Welsh Premier League||2018 – 2019|
|The New Saints FC||5|
|Barry Town United||1|