|TOTAL NETWORK SOLUTIONS 1-3 EVERTON XI
Friday 8 August, Home - Treflan, 7.30 pm
KEVIN Keegan came to see his Uefa Cup opponents at first hand.
By the time he left Treflan near the end of the second half, he probably hadn't seen anything to cause him too many sleepless nights before next Thursday.
But Saints did show they are capable of competing with a side containing three current Premiership players and eight who are on the fringes of English football's top flight.
And for 45 minutes at least, they looked the better side and played some superb football that even had the Everton faithful applauding.
Keegan admitted he will be taking nothing for granted when the sides meet on Thursday night.
The City chief stressed his side will be giving their opponents the utmost respect despite many people predicting a comfortable win.
"TNS work very hard for each other and it was a good workout for both sides on a very good pitch," he said. "There's a lot of experience out there, they're certainly not a young side, and it showed that we cannot take anything for granted.
"Although they faded a bit and ended up losing 3-1, it's important to remember they made four or five changes at half time."
Simon Davies was again influential in midfield, Ruscoe beavered away as only he can and Jamie Wood often featured in the passing moves.
But the second period belonged exclusively to the visitors, with Li Tie and Lee Carsley showing their class in midfield and Sean O'Hanlon and Kevin McLeod constant threats on the flanks.
After half time Steve Evans made a welcome return from his hernia operation and slotted into place alongside Aggrey as if he had never been away.
John Toner returned from injury to a role in the back four; new signing Steven Beck was also introduced for his debut, but struggled to make an impact in a Saints' side that was now chasing the game.
There was much to admire in Saints' performance, but their ability to last a full 90 minutes against opponents at this level is going to be even more severly tested at the City of Manchester stadium.
At least their hectic pre-season should leave them in good shape for the Welsh Premier battles to come, once the European adventure is over.
Another interested spectator was Everton's teenage sensation Wayne Rooney, who sat in the dugout.
Left: Simon Davies tries a shot from the edge of the box. Photo by Craig Dunbar.
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