Shoot-out heartbreak as Swans go through
John Lawless congratulates Martin Naylor after his equalising penalty [Keith Williams/Sportpixs]
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TNS more than matched their League Two opponents in a thrilling semi-final, but suffered the heartbreak of defeat in a penalty shoot-out.
Brian Murphy was Swansea's hero as he saved penalties from Steve Evans and Mike Wilde after a tight game ended 1-1 after extra time.
Saints made the worst possible start when they were exposed down the left flank after just three minutes, Adian Forbes finding Brad Maylett who finished cooly past the advancing Gerard Doherty.
But after their shaky start, TNS started to gain in confidence and rattled the visiting defence in a succession of attacks. Michael Wilde's downward header from Scott Ruscoe's free-kick beat Murphy but missed at the back post, while Jamie Wood wasted a golden chance when through on goal, spooning the ball over the bar.
The deserved equaliser came nine minutes before the break when Martin Naylor converted a penalty after the ball had struck Izzy Iriekpen on the arm.
Murphy was forced to make early saves from John Lawless and Wilde after the break as TNS looked by far the most potent attacking threat.
Swansea continued to struggle to find any cohesion up front, but they finally managed a strike at goal on 58 minutes when Kristian O'Leary's long-range drive shaved the post.
Kristian O'Leary then looked destined to settle the tie in normal time, but Tommy Holmes was at full stretch to block his shot at the far post from Andy Robinson's low cross.
Midfielder Robinson was the first to threaten in extra time when he fired two shots over the bar in quick succession and Maylett then struck the outside of the post from the edge of the box.
But although TNS looked content to sit back and soak up the pressure, substitute John Toner almost found a winner 10 minutes from time with a superbly controlled volley that glanced off the crossbar.
The Swans confidently scored all their penalties, but after John Leah and Naylor had converted theirs, keeper Murphy appeared to be well off his line when he saved from Steve Evans and Wilde, leaving Saints to rue their earlier missed chances in a game where they flew the Welsh Premier flag with some style.