WELSH PREMIER FOOTBALL

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MIKE Wilde's hat-trick steered The New Saints into the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League with a dominant second leg success over B36 Torshavn at Park Hall.

Leading 2-1 from the first leg - their first away victory in the Champions League - the Saints completed the job with a minimum of fuss as two early goals from Wilde put the Oswestry side in charge.

The club's top scorer, who netted a late winner the week before, carried on from where he left off with a brace in the first 26 minutes, and could easily have added at least two more in the first half as the visiting Faroe Islanders laboured.

But Wilde wrapped up his hat-trick early in the second period to put the Welsh Premier champions out of sight and firmly on course for the next round where they will host Hungarian outfit Videoton FC next Tuesday.

Substitute Matty Williams made it 4-0, before Lukasz Cieslewicz netted a late consolation, but it tailed to take the shine off a fine night for TNS who won both legs of a Champions League tie for the first time.

The Saints set the tempo right from the first whistle, with Wilde heading over the bar from Sam Finley's cross, while Scott Quigley quickly proved a menace with some strong runs down the left.

And they were ahead on 15 minutes when Wilde fired home after Adrian Cieslewicz's cross into the box from the right had left keeper Torour Thomsen in no man's land.

Wilde then headed against the bar moments later as the Saints scented more goals in a lively start in their first competitive game on their newly laid 4G surface.

And the tie was effectively over as a contest on 26 minutes as Wilde broke through the defence before coolly placing his shot from 12 yards past a hesitant keeper.

Torshavn offered little, apart from some crunching challenges, as TNS continued to call the tune with Wilde denied a hat-trick when Thomsen kept out his point-blank header after excellent work along the flank from Cieslewicz.

Some desperate defending again prevented hotshot Wilde from bagging a third just before half time, while Torshavn rarely threatened at the other end despite the hosts losing possession on a couple of occasions.

Just two minutes after half-time, however, Wilde completed his hat-trick from Simon Spender's pull-back to become only the second Welsh Premier player to score three times in a Champions League tie.

Finley spurned a golden chance on the break when putting the ball wide with Quigley unmarked as the home side looked a constant threat in a comfortable evening's work.

Quigley then dragged a chance wide before substitute Matty Williams rounded off some neat play involving Spender and Greg Draper to make it 4-0 on the night.

Although Lukasz Cieslewicz - brother of TNS winger Adrian Cieslewicz - was gifted a reply late on, the manner of victory will put Craig Harrison's side in confident mood for sterner tests ahead.

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25 April 2017

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