Old Gold win is perfect riposte
THE NEW SAINTS halted Carmarthen Town’s excellent run of success and leap-frogged them into third place in the Welsh Premier table to confirm their revived championship credentials.
Shock back-to-back defeats from their opening two league games led to premature epitaphs being written about the champions' demise but a sequence of six straight wins has provided the perfect riposte to those doubters.
And, make no mistake, this latest result was no mean achievement against a side brimming with confidence gained during a six-game unbeaten spell following defeat at Rhyl in the season’s opening fixture.
A three-goal salvo early in the second half blew away any hopes of a Carmarthen victory as Michael Wilde, Steven Beck and Chris King all beat a helpless Neil Thomas in the home goal.
Saints manager Ken McKenna was delighted with the application and strength of character shown by his side.
"It was a fantastic win, as we have not had a good record here. We looked a bit jaded in the first half after a long journey down in the morning but stepped things up after the break with three quick goals. It was always going to be difficult for them to come back from that," he said.
The chilling factor for those pretenders to the champion's crown to consider is that McKenna still believes his men are not firing on all cylinders.
Carmarthen player manager Deryn Brace conceded that McKenna’s men remain the team to beat. “Overall, they were the better side,” he said.
Three goals inside 10 minutes just after the break sealed the points after a first-half of few chances, in which the hosts could have taken a ninth-minute lead but for a save with his legs by keeper Paul Harrison from a Tim Hicks shot.
Luke Holden had a shot pushed away for a corner by home stopper Neil Thomas after Chris King's run but, if goals were hard to come by in the first period, there was an avalanche on the restart.
Within 62 seconds, Duane Courtney and John Leah combined to win the ball on the half way line and found Michael Wilde who scored at the far post.
Within 10 minutes it was three-nil - Scott Ruscoe's floated free-kick was hooked into the box by King and fell to Steven Beck who fired home through a ruck of players from eight yards.
And, after Wilde had come close to adding another with a header which was pushed onto the post by Thomas from Beck's cross, King drove home the third when Holden's corner was not properly cleared.