Welsh Premier League
Sun 29 Aug 2010 : Park Hall / 14:30
The New Saints
2 - 1
|Chris Sharp 7'
Alex Darlington 82'
|23' Mark Jones
|10-man Saints still too good for Bala |
THE bread and butter of Welsh Premier life proved just as difficult as European exertions as The New Saints were forced to overcome Bala Town with 10-men at Park Hall.
Chris Sharp turned from hero to villain, opening the Saints' account on seven minutes, but was then red carded by sub-standard referee Matt Bridges six minutes after the break.
A superb cross from Christian Seargeant just eluded Craig Jones at the far post, but he retrieved the ball and passed inside to present Sharp with a simple chance in front of goal to open the account.
With the Saints rampant in the opening quarter, a cricket score looked on the cards, but they were given a reality check on 23 minutes when a Danny Williams free-kick found the head of Ross Jefferies, whose effort was heading for the net before being hooked away by Steve Evans.
But, from the resulting corner, Mark Jones sent a crashing shot past Paul Harrison via the underside of the bar.
Saints struggled to regain their rhythm until Sharp just missed the target under pressure from keeper Craig Vernon after being put through one-on-one by Seargeant.
Another great Jones run ended with a cross that just eluded Scott Ruscoe, while sub Alex Darlington fired well wide from 20 yards.
Immediately after the resumption Phil Baker's shot was well saved by Vernon following a right-wing corner before the Saints suffered a double blow, with the dismissal of Sharp and a hamstring injury which forced Baker off the field on a stretcher.
Only a last-ditch Steve Evans tackle denied Michael Thompson, with Darlington sending a header whistling over the bar at the other end from a Seargeant free-kick.
Despite their set-backs, TNS still looked the more likely winners and they got their just reward eight minutes from time when Darlington headed past Vernon after good work down the right by the excellent Jones.
But the Lakesiders almost had the last word when Neil Fisher just failed to profit from Mark Powell's long free-kick.