Saints secure vital win
THE New Saints stretched their winning run to seven league games to leapfrog Rhyl into second place in the table.
Jamie Wood's first-half strike left the Saints breathing down the neck of Llanelli at the top as Rhyl failed to beat the champions in seven league meetings, their last success coming back in April 2004.
After scoring his first goals of the season in the midweek Loosemores Cup win over Airbus, Wood continued his scoring form with the decisive moment in the 19th-minute as he made the most of his switch up front.
A short corner on the left saw Luke Holden find Scott Ruscoe 30 yards out, the midfielder broke towards goal and his low shot took a fortuitous deflection off a defender before falling perfectly for Wood in time and space to coolly slot past keeper Lee Kendall.
Although TNS dominated possession, Rhyl had their moments but were unable to take advantage of the chances that came their way.
Craig Jones shot weakly across goal from the left, while Saints' keeper Paul Harrison had to be alert to claw away a sliced clearance from Michael Taylor following a Chris Roberts cross.
George Horan went close with a couple of headed efforts, one being saved low down before half-time as the visitors enjoyed their best spell, and after the break, the Rhyl skipper was again denied by a John Leah goal-line clearance.
Mike Wilde twice had penalty claims for being impeded in the box and also volleyed over the bar after a strong run from Chris King, while Steven Beck's rising 20-yarder was brilliantly saved by Kendall.
Beck headed over in the closing moments but Rhyl kept battling and almost snatched an injury-time equaliser when Mark connolly found space at the far post, but was unable to control a Gareth Wilson cross.