Saints go nap in curtain-raiser
THE New Saints got their Welsh Premier season off to the perfect start with a five-nil hammering of Prestatyn Town at Park Hall in a game that was virtually over as a contest within the first 10 minutes.
It was an encouraging start for Andy Cale's men but, despite several high-profile signings in the close season, the Seasiders looked a shadow of the side that gave the Saints four hard games in league and league cup last season.
Steve Abbott missed-out on his league debut with a virus but, after Ian Griffiths had missed a first-minute chance to hand a shock lead to the visitors, TNS were soon into their stride.
Man-of-the-match Chris Seargeant's tenacity won the ball down the right and he provided for Matthew Berkeley to produce a fine finish inside the near post from 15 yards.
Three minutes later, Craig Jones met Seargeant's corner with a looping header from 12 yards out that defeated debutant keeper Matthew Towns.
The Saints had a let-off on the half-hour when Danny Holmes conceded a penalty, but Andy Moran's weak spot-kick was easily held by Paul Harrison.
Two more goals inside the last five minutes of the half sealed Prestatyn's fate. Berkeley's inside pass was converted from close range by Jamie Wood, and Jones applied another headed finish at the far post to a Seargeant free-kick.
Jones was denied a hat-trick by the woodwork on the restart, but Seargeant blasted the fifth into the roof of the net from the edge of the box five minutes later.
Only wayward finishing and some good saves from Towns prevented the Saints from adding several more, with Prestatyn's best effort in the whole game an audacious shot from inside his own half by Gareth Wilson, which had Harrison scrambling back to palm the ball away.