Saints set-up final date with Rhyl
BARRY Hogan was the unlikely hero as The New Saints comfortably booked their place in the Loosemores League Cup final for a second successive season.
Steve Abbott's ball over the top in the 22nd-minute enabled Hogan to beat the offside trap and send a cool chip over keeper Lee Kendall from the edge of the box to nestle in the far corner of the net.
And a final meeting with Rhyl was virtually secured eight minutes later when Kendall brought down Scott Ruscoe as he homed in on goal, and the midfielder dusted himself down to slot home the resulting penalty, his second goal in two games.
The Steelmen almost grabbed a crucial away goal a minute later when a free-kick on the right eluded everybody in the box and whistled inches wide of the far post.
But home keeper Paul Harrison was never troubled, with Martin Rose spurning a couple of opportunities and Drew Fahiya heading wide at the back stick.
Neil Thomas also produced a couple of powder-puff shots as the generally disappointing visitors failed to make an impression despite some neat build-up play.
TNS were largely happy to sit on their advantage in an eminently forgettable second-half and, when Craig Williams did get the ball in the net for a third time in the final minute, he was adjudged to be offside.
Alex Darlington made a welcome return from long-term injury as a late substitute and showed he has not lost any of his competitive edge by picking-up the Saints only booking of the night!