Saints outclass fighting Druids
SAINTS kept their 100% record in the League with a workmanlike performance in front of the largest crowd of the season so far at Plas Kynaston.
An uneven surface did not encourage creative football and with Druids clearly up for the game, the card count against the hosts reflected their attempts to disrupt any attempt at fluidity from TNS.
The result was a scrappy game in which a goal in each half from Martyn Naylor and Jamie Wood gave Saints the points.
TNS maintained an admirable workrate against a physical and determined Druids' team who received five yellow cards, including three in a seven minute first half spell.
Saints were ahead after just five minutes, when Martyn Naylor's 25-yard free kick eluded Jamie Wood's head and found the far corner of the net with the keeper unsighted.
A 40-yard free kick from Chris King was tipped over the bar by Stuart McIntosh, who then saved Simon Davies' shot from the resulting corner.
Toner fired wide on the quarter hour, but chances were few and far between at either end. Druids 'scored' from their first real attack, although the referee had already blown for offside, and it was 20 minutes into the game before Saints' keeper Dean Williams was brought into action, saving easily from Aden Shannon.
The Druids striker was lucky not to receive his marching orders soon afterwards, when he reacted to a yellow card by producing a heavy tackle on Chris King.
Naylor proved to be Saints' most telling threat, with several good overlapping runs down the right hand side, although his final ball did not always match the quality of his build-up play.
On the rare occasions Druids did threaten in the final third, Brabin, Aggrey and Taylor were more than up to the task.
TNS got the second goal they were looking for on the hour. John Toner battled well to win the ball by the right hand corner flag and his cross was headed in by Jamie Wood at the far post.
Druids were unable to produce any real attacking threat and Williams' header from Joe Desormeaux's typical jinking run and cross on 66 minutes was their only real chance.
Wood brought a good save from Stuart McIntosh three minutes later and then failed to connect with another Naylor cross.
Manager Ken McKenna hailed his side's performance, saying "This was Druids' cup final.
"They were well organised and battled well, they won't play better than this all season.
"If they played like this every week, they'd be in the top half of the table."