Saints power back to the top
KEVIN Townson took just six minutes to open his scoring account on his home debut as The New Saints leapfrogged Llanelli and returned to the top of the Welsh Premier with a convincing 4-1 victory over Porthmadog.
The former Football League “wonder boy”, who hit the headlines with Rochdale as a 16-year-old, was a constant thorn in the side of the struggling visitors who, on the evidence of this performance, will need a minor miracle to avoid the drop.
TNS were quick to established their superiority and, after Luke Holden had fired wide from a John Toner cross, Townson cleverly beat Danny Hughes before evading a Rhys Roberts tackle and firing past keeper Richard Harvey.
Townson hit an upright five minutes later before Toner inexplicably missed a sitter from point-blank range from a Luke Holden left-wing cross as TNS looked determined to erase the memory of two successive defeats.
Townson then provided an inside pass on 31 minutes for Scott Ruscoe to stroke the ball past Harvey and put the hosts two-nil ahead, before Townson again just failed to get on the end of another Holden delivery.
It was all one-way traffic, but Porthmadog briefly threatened a fight back when Gareth Parry pulled a goal back following an Aled Rowlands corner.
But it took the Saints less then two minutes to restore their advantage, Chris King firing a superb shot from the edge of the box after a Martyn Naylor corner had been headed back from the far post by Michael Taylor.
Port missed a great chance to reduce the arrears again a minute later when keeper Paul Harrison saved Gareth Owen’s header from a Marcus Orlik free-kick and it was all downhill after that.
Within a minute of the half-time break, Toner headed the fourth from Scott Ruscoe’s pinpoint left-wing cross, yet somehow the home side failed to add to their tally.
Harvey denied Townson in a one-on-one situation, Holden’s shot was saved and Toner’s follow-up scrambled away for a corner.
Holden missed the target after outpacing two defenders, sub Jamie Wood also missed when he pulled the trigger and Harvey pulled-off a great stop at close range from Carl Lamb.
Debutant midfielder Paul Henry, on loan from Tranmere Rovers, made an impressive start to his spell at Park Hall and also tested Harvey with a fierce shot towards the top corner, but the fifth goal proved elusive.