Three and easy as The New Saints move into top spot
The New Saints regained top spot after extending their unbeaten run in the JD Welsh Premier to 11 games with a 3-0 victory at Caernarfon Town, writes John Bridgwater.
Kurtis Byrne’s ninth goal of the season after just four minutes put the defending champions on course, with Jon Routledge firing a second before the break.
Substitute Greg Draper then got in on the act nine minutes from time with his 18th of the campaign to seal the points at The Oval.
Victory took TNS a point clear at the top from previous leaders Connah’s Quay, and four above third-placed Barry Town United, with the top three sides having now played the same number of games.
TNS had a score to settle after their 1-0 home defeat to the Cofis back in November – the last time they lost in the league.
And they made the perfect start last night with a fourth-minute opener as Byrne latched onto Jamie Mullan’s through ball before neatly steering his shot from 12 yards past advancing goalkeeper Nic Bould and into the net off the right post.
Adrian Cieslewicz, who came into the starting XI for the suspended Tom Holland, then provided the assist for a second goal seven minutes before the interval when pulling the ball back from the left for Routledge whose powerful low strike from 20 yards took a deflection en route to the back of the net.
It needed some fine work from Saints goalkeeper Paul Harrison to ensure a clean sheet for the visitors with the shot-stopper making two excellent saves on the hour mark.
But the points were in the bag nine minutes from time as Draper moved top of the league’s scoring charts when meeting a left wing cross from substitute Billy Whitehouse with a far post header.
While the Saints are now top, deposed leaders Connah’s Quay can return to the summit should they overcome Bala Town in their clash at the Deeside Stadium tonight.