Alty need a little luck to deny the Saints
IT TOOK a little slice of luck to deny The New Saints a win at Moss Lane as they proved more than a match for Conference opponents Altrincham.
Michael Wilde gave the Saints a seventh-minute lead in a first-half of almost total domination, but Colin Little's speculative hook into the box crept in at the far corner to level six minutes before the break.
It was a happy return to his old stamping ground for former Robins' striker Ken McKenna, who named a strong line-up that quickly took control of affairs. Wilde's header from a right wing corner rattled the home crossbar as early as the third minute, but four minutes later Wilde made no mistake, rifling home from 12 yards after Scott Ruscoe had counter-attacked down the right hand side before crossing into the box.
Jamie Wood again had the ball in the net on 10 minutes, only to be ruled offside, but with Steven Beck having the freedom of Moss Lane in midfield, it was the Saints who posed most of the questions.
Luke Holden lost his composure when in a good position to score and blazed his effort wide after good work by Wood as the hosts found it difficult to find a way through.
Little fired wide after a defensive slip and brought a good save from keeper Paul Harrison, but the Saints looked comfortable at the back until the striker hooked a throw-in across the box for the somewhat fortuitious equaliser.
TNS would not have been flattered to go in three-nil up at half-time, but John Leah almost restored the lead with a fierce 20-yarder just after the interval and Robins' keeper Stuart Coburn was forced to save at the feet of Ruscoe from Wilde's inside pass.
Beck sent a 25-yarder straight at the keeper and Altrincham's only real chance fell to Gareth Whalley, who was high and wide with his shot, although sub Matthew Berkeley also had a shot saved.
As ever in pre-season games, a glut of substitutions started to disrupt the flow of play.
Keeper Gerard Doherty returned for the final minutes, but was never tested, and although Carl Lamb spurned one opening, the game petered out tamely into a 1-1 draw, from which McKenna will take plenty of encouragement, particularly the first-half display.