Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saints gift the points to the Eagles

THE New Saints surrended a one-goal lead to lose 2-1 at home to Neath in a result which could prove crucial game in the Welsh Premier title race.

After working hard to gain some reward for their first-half performance, the Saints gifted the Eagles an equaliser and a goal from defender Jack Lewis sealed the points for Kris O'Leary's men, who are now just three points behind second-placed TNS.
A much-better organised Eagles' side than the one that lost 3-0 in Oswestry in September were able to hold the Saints at bay in the first half, with only Greg Draper threatening.
The striker had one shot deflected just wide, before sending a lob just over the bar from Alex Darlington's lay-off.
Neath's only chance of the opening stanza fell to Craig Hughes, who brought a good save from home keeper Paul Harrison.
Despite a more expansive opening to the second half from the visitors, the Saints took the lead in the 52nd-minute when keeper Lee Kendall was unable to hold Chris Seargeant's cross from the byline and Draper scored from close range.
But the lead lasted only five minutes before a blunder from Steve Evans gifted the equaliser. The defender's weak clearance was seized on by Lee Trundle who took the ball to the left edge of the box before firing into the far corner.
The winner arrived shortly afterwards when Jack Lewis shot from a narrow angle and found the net via a defender's deflection.
It could have been worse for TNS but for keeper Harrison, who pulled-off a superb diving save from a Chris Jones penalty after Phil Baker was adjudged to have brought down Hughes.
And, despite stoppage time efforts from Luke Holden and Darlington, Neath were rarely troubled as they extended their unbeaten run to 12 matches.
Photo: Greg Draper celebrates after giving TNS the lead.

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