SAINTS BACK IN THE OLD ROUTINE
INSTALLED as favourites for the Welsh Premier title, Saints won their first League appearance of the season - a tough assignment at Cwmbran Town - after arriving late due to Bank Holiday traffic on the way down.
Playing in front of a couple of hundred at Cwmbran was a down to earth experience for TNS after being watched by more than 34,000 in Manchester last week.
Defences were always destined to dominate this fixture - Saints conceded only 10 goals last term and Cwmbran were almost as mean.
In a generally lacklustre affair, goalkeeper Ged Doherty was brought into action after just eight minutes, when Jamie Edwards fired in a 20-yarder after a strong midfield run.
Doherty could only parry the shot, which was eventually cleared by skipper Gary Brabin.
After 16 minutes, Doherty was again called upon and tipped a Rhodri Jones 30-yard free kick over the bar.
There were few other clear cut chances in the first half, which TNS just shaded.
The injured Chris King was replaced during the break and as the second half wore on, Saints began to gain the upper hand.
Aggrey headed over from a corner, Bridgwater shot wide from a Ward free kick and Chris Taylor fired over.
At the other end, an Adam Moore shot was claimed by Doherty under the crossbar.
After 72 minutes, a midfield clash between Jamie Wood and Adam Moore led to a fracas which resulted in both players being shown the yellow card.
The game seemed headed for a draw until, in the 88th minute, Neil Smothers tripped Michael Wilde in the area and - to the astonishment of the home fans - referee Neil Morgan awarded a penalty.
Simon Davies saw his kick brilliantly saved by Ellacott, who turned the ball away, but John Leah chipped across goal from the rebound and Wilde headed in from close range.
It was all too much for Crows' manager Brian Coyne and his physio Tommy Cosh to bear and their vehement protests earned them both their marching orders.
Overall, Saints - who were again missing Tommy Holmes and Steve Evans - just about deserved the points in a closely fought match.