Ten-man Saints sweat it out
WITH 10-men for the last 25 minutes, the Saints were made to sweat before claiming the points to stay on terms with their title rivals.
They dominated Haverfordwest for much of the game, but the second-half dismissal of Michael Wilde and an own goal from keeper Gerard Doherty ensured that the Bluebirds stayed in the hunt until the final whistle.
TNS failed yet again to turn first-half domination into goals and, although Wilde had the ball in the net on 30 minutes from Phil Baker’s pass, his effort was ruled offside. The striker also missed with a point-blank header from in front of goal, while County keeper Lee Kendall did well to keep out Phil Baker's strike.
The visitors almost took the lead just after the interval when Jack Christopher's shot across the box was hammered goalwards and hit Baker, who was laid out for a couple of minutes.
There was an element of good fortune about the breakthrough on the hour when Martyn Naylor's cross from the right looped into the net courtesy of a deflection off a defender.
Naylor went close to a second goal just moments later when his free kick was met by a superb save from Kendall.
The Saints were left to play the last 27 minutes with 10 men after Wilde was sent off for his second caution after kicking out at Ryan Durham in retaliation.
But, despite their reduced numbers, they gave themselves some breathing space in the 68th minute when Scott Ruscoe's drive was only parried by Kendall and Alfie Carter converted the rebound from a tight angle.
A gaffe from Doherty, who had more than nervous moments, 10 minutes from time ensured it would be a tense finish with the keeper fumbling a Chris O'Sullivan corner from the right into his own net.
He made amends moments later, but County sensed they could still salvage the game with a cross from substitute Bobby Briers flashing across goal and Jack Christopher just failing to connect.
TNS went close to a third when Carter was narrowly over the bar at the other end and the margin of victory was far closer than it should have been after they had held the upper hand for long spells.
In another idiosyncratic refereeing display, man-in-the-middle Kerry Morgan managed to flash six yellow cards as well as Wilde's red in a game that was never dirty, maintaining his lead at the top of the card-waving table.