Extra-time victory at windy Conwy
THE New Saints needed extra-time to see off the challenge of Welsh Alliance minnows Conwy United at the Morfa Stadium.
A goal from substitute Craig Williams finally gave the visitors the upper hand after 95 minutes, but the real winner was a strong wind that blew end-to-end and made life difficult for both sides throughout the contest.
The elements had a hand in the decisive goal as Williams appeared to be the only player on the pitch who believed the ball would not carry into the arms of goalkeeper Richard Dolphin.
His chase was rewarded when he got to the ball first to send a 15-yard lob into the back of the net and break the deadlock.
The gulf in class was evident in a first-half which saw the Saints create enough chances to win half a dozen cup ties, only to be denied by some resolute defending, Dolphin and that wind.
Their best chance arrived on 37 minutes when Steve Warburton was adjudged to have fouled the lively Ryan Marriott, but Jamie Wood saw his spot kick easily held by the stopper.
Playing against the wind after the break, the Saints found chances harder to come by and Steve Warburton almost found the target for the Musselmen when a set-piece from well inside his own half sailed just over the TNS crossbar.
The visitors had another scare when Edwards lost possession to centre forward Matthew Bennett, whose shot went just wide of the far post.
Visiting keeper Paul Harrison was also forced to pull off a diving save from a Callum Vernon snap shot through a crowded box.
Once the breakthrough arrived, Abbott soon added the second from close range after Dolphin could only parry a Craig Jones header following a Williams cross.
Saints' assistant manager Mike Davies was pleased with his side's performance.
"The conditions were difficult and Conwy were a credit to their club," he said.
"There is always going to be a banana skin in the cup and I'm just glad it wasn't us.
"We kept playing football and got what we deserved in the end."