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TNS go nine points clear after beating Newtown

Match report by Sam Wood

THE New Saints extended their JD Cymru Premier lead to nine points following a 2-0 win against Newtown.

It was an evenly matched opening 45, but second-half goals from Declan McManus and Ash Baker made the difference for Anthony Limbrick’s side, on a night where results elsewhere went in their favour.

The visitors enjoyed a good start to the game and saw lots of early possession in the opening stages.

With four minutes played, an inviting cross from James Davies almost caused problems in the TNS penalty area, but nobody in a red shirt was on hand to connect.

Down the other end, Declan McManus got his head onto a Danny Redmond cross two minutes later, and his effort was inches away from sneaking into the far corner.

McManus was involved again in the 12th minute, showing great technique to control a cross from Danny Davies. As he shaped to shoot though, some last-ditch defending from James Davies prevented him from scoring the game’s first goal.

Anthony Limbrick’s side continued to knock on the door, and a crucial goal-line block from James Rowland stopped Danny Davies from heading in the opener minutes later.

The TNS number 22 had another chance to break the deadlock with a header in the 27th minute, but visiting goalkeeper, Dave Jones, was equal to it on that occasion.

Jones was kept busy throughout the half, pushing a Ryan Brobbel free-kick to safety seven minutes before the break, as The Saints continued to press for the all-important first goal.

For all of their chances though, it was the visitors who almost scored the go-ahead goal, as Fumpa Mwandwe raced away behind the TNS defence. Some good work from Ryan Astles prevented it, however, with the number five tracking back quickly to block the striker’s effort.

Five minutes into the second-half, Danny Davies was inches away from connecting with a Chris Marriott cross at the far post, but the ball was slightly overhit, and Newtown survived.

The opening goal finally arrived on the hour mark, and it was McManus on hand to score his 19th of the season. It was great work by substitute, Ash Baker, down the right to pick out the Scottish forward on the edge of the six-yard box, and he made no mistake with his close-range header.

The Robins almost hit back instantly though, but Mwandwe’s first-time effort from the edge of the box narrowly missed the target.

Visiting goalkeeper, Jones, saved his side again in the 66th minute, as he pulled off a point-blank stop to deny McManus a second.

There was no stopping The Saints from doubling their advantage 12 minutes from time though when Baker found the net. Collecting the ball from a Ryan Brobbel corner, the defender spun with the ball inside the penalty area, before sending a powerful effort past the helpless goalkeeper.

Some more superb work from Jones followed not long after, as he pulled off a double save to deny McManus, and Louis Robles, from close-range, forcing Limbrick’s team to settle for a two-goal margin on the night.

It’s two weeks before The New Saints are next in action when they travel to Maes Tegid to face Bala Town on Friday, December 3.