King ensures joyous coronation
THE Saints ended their championship-winning season on a high with a 4-1 victory over Carmarthen thanks to goals from Barry Hogan, Michael Wilde and a late John Toner brace.
But it was Chris King who ensured that Paul Fowler's 59th-minute equaliser failed to subdue the party atmosphere at Treflan.
TNS had led from the 10th minute after King's cross to the far post was converted from a narrow angle by Hogan, but Saints failed to capitalise further against a hesitant Carmarthen defence with Carl Lamb spurning a couple of chances, including a header which was narrowly over the bar.
A surging run by Liam Hancock almost produced an equaliser on 29 minutes when Rob Williams was harshly penalised for handball from a Danny Thomas cross, but Gerard Doherty pulled-off a superb save to stop Paul Keddle's penalty.
There was a distinct end-of-season feel to the proceedings, with Ken McKenna giving starts to central defender Williams and Mark Davies, with a host of regulars earning a well-deserved rest. But, although the visitors upped their tempo after the break, chances were few and far between until Fowler's goal out of the blue on the hour, a 20-yarder which surprised Doherty just inside a post.
Sub Kaid Mohamed almost gave the Old Gold the lead but fired across the face of goal following a poor Doherty clearance which went straight to Colin Loss. With the game drifting towards stalemate, King decided to take a hand.
In the 78th-minute his inch-perfect cross was headed in at the far post by sub Wilde and, two minutes later, his battling run into the box ended with Lamb's shot being blocked and Toner pounced on the rebound.
The striker added the icing on the cake and his 17th of the campaign two minutes from time from John Leah's defence splitting pass and signalled the start of the celebrations as Doherty lifted the newly-designed league trophy.