Shropshire Star

TNS off to flyer but place in history evades them in Scotland

The New Saints saw their hopes of becoming the first club from outside of Scotland to lift the SPFL Trust Trophy end after Airdrieonians overturned an early deficit to emerge 2-1 winners in the final.


Ben Clark’s confident finish gave Saints a flying start at the Falkirk Stadium.

But Liam McStravick equalised before Nikolay Todorov struck the winner from a second-half penalty for Airdrieonians, currently fourth in the Scottish Championship, the second tier of Scottish football.

Saints, who went into the final on an impressive 26-match winning run in all competitions, were unable to convert an excellent chance to take the lead as early as the fourth minute.

A fine run and inviting cross from Jordan Williams from the left picked out Brad Young, but the Park Hall club’s leading scorer’s close range effort was narrowly off target.

Saints took the lead in the 12th minute. Young was the provider with a strong run on the right before he did well to pull the ball back perfectly for Clark to drill a first-time effort to the roof of the net from eight yards.

Danny Redmond then went close as, following another good move from the JD Cymru Premier champions, his powerful rising shot was tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Robbie Hemfrey.

Airdrieonians also carried a threat going forward and McStravick, having earlier been denied by a good save from TNS goalkeeper Connor Roberts, produced a fine equaliser in the 22nd minute.

McStravick ran on to a through ball and lifted his shot from the edge of the penalty area high into the corner of the net.

Saints were so close to regaining the lead after 34 minutes when Chris Marriott’s corner was headed against a post by Josh Daniels, the former Shrewsbury Town player.

Young then fired an effort wide of the near post after showing great pace as Saints ended an entertaining first half strongly.

After a quiet start from both sides to the second half, Airdrieonians moved ahead from the penalty spot in the 67th minute.

A challenge from Josh Pask on substitute Josh O’Connor saw a spot kick awarded, with Todorov converting low to the bottom corner of the net.

Saints chased an equaliser and it nearly arrived 12 minutes from time when substitute Declan McManus headed a cross from Daniels from the right just wide.

Saints enjoyed plenty of possession in the closing stages and worked the ball into good areas, but nothing quite fell the way of Craig Harrison’s side as they lost for the first time since August 1 when they were beaten 3-2 by Swift Hesperange in Luxembourg as they were knocked out of the Uefa Europa Conference League.

Having already won two trophies this season, Saints will hope to make progress in another competition when they return to action against Cardiff Metropolitan University in the JD Welsh Cup semi-final at Newtown’s Latham Park on Saturday.